Drafting the best player available is a common NFL draft strategy, but what if every player was available? That is the scenario facing one team, the Houston Texans, who have the first overall pick in this year’s installment of the draft.
There is no shortage of talent in the 2014 crop of future NFLers, as guys like Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel highlight the class. Keep looking and you’ll find more extraordinary (although maybe not as flashy) players like Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews.
It’s the classic buyer’s dilemma: too many options to choose from.
Houston really can’t go wrong with the first pick- they could take Clowney and pair him with JJ Watt to make a terrifying duo of elite pass rushers. They could grab hometown boy Manziel to man the helm, electrifying crowds (and selling tickets) in the process. Drafting Watkins would give them arguably the best receiving corps in the league, with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins already established threats.
But what could Houston get in exchange for their pick? Would a pair of top-level guys be worth missing out on an elite prospect?
Think of it this way: if the Texans traded down, to say, the Tennessee Titans at 11 (who need a guy like Clowney or Manziel) they could still grab a top-notch player like Taylor Lewan, Mike Evans or Anthony Barr. Meanwhile, the second-rounder they’d get as a bonus could snag them their future quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo.
To be honest, I’m not sold on any of the quarterbacks in this class, but Garoppolo has the ability to be as good as any of them. I do like Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Bridgewater, but will they make an impact right away? I’m not sure. And I definitely have questions about Clowney.
If the opportunity presents itself, Rick Smith and the Texans’ brass should trade out of the number one spot and save the money they’d be spending on that contract for other uses. Would having Garoppolo, Lewan and a guy like Ra’Shede Hageman or Allen Robinson (first pick in 2nd round) be better than having just Manziel and Hageman/ Robinson and paying more for the duo versus the trio?
You can decide that, but I know what I’d want.
In all likelihood, the Titans probably won’t come calling in the coming weeks, but there is always a chance that a team wants the top pick that Houston possesses. The number one pick has never been traded after the draft order has been established, but we all remember the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers fiasco of 2004 that resulted in the number one overall pick being dealt after only hours with the team.
There is a first time for everything- will this be the year the top pick gets traded?