As the Superbowl hype dies down, NFL fans get focused on the draft and their team’s needs to improve its roster. The team in the news the most is the Houston Texans, a team with plenty of talent but one that vastly underachieved this season winning only two games, hence securing the first overall pick. The only problem with having the first overall pick this year is the decision on whether to go offense or defense. The two seemingly obvious choices to go number one are Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney. Both were stars at the college level, yet both have questions that GM’s and scouts want answered. Ironically, the Texans faced a similar predicament in 2007, on whether to draft the elusive and wildly popular Reggie Bush or stud defensive end Mario Williams. The Texans took Williams and he did have a successful stint with the team, setting the franchise record for sacks and forced fumbles before he signed the most lucrative contract for a defensive player in NFL history with the Buffalo Bills. Bush, on the other hand has bounced around the NFL, from New Orleans to Miami to Detroit and has never really reached his potential as an elite running back. Having the number one pick can be a double edged sword as you get the number one player on your wish list, but making a mistake with the number one pick can set back your franchise.
Why the Texans should pick Manziel:
Johnny Football would immediately bring excitement to the city of Houston and its deep football roots. He is “box office” and can perform at a very high level. Manziel fits the mold of the new generation of QBs that can extend plays with their feet, a deadly weapon for those who know when to slide and avoid injury. He can also throw, racking up 4,117 yards last season, good for 9th in the country. He also held the 3rd highest passer rating at 172.9 only below Bryce Petty and heisman winner Jameis Winston. In the AFC South with the emergence of Andrew Luck and with the Jaguars presumingly drafting a quarterback whether it be Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles, the Texans need someone who can put points on the board. Johnny is also a Texas kid born and raised, so the pressure of playing under the most football-centric state shouldn’t faze him. There have been some questions about Manziel’s height as he measured below six feet tall, but he does have big hands to grip the ball in inclement conditions, a good sign for NFL quarterback prospects. Some also question Johnny’s dedication to football due to his antics last summer when he partied with various celebrities such as Drake and LeBron James. Although his partying may seem immature, Johnny’s play on the field spoke for itself. As a fierce competitor, I believe he will realize the difference in preparation required for the NFL game compared to the college game and will spend more time in the film room, readying himself for NFL defenses. The Texans clearly need to take Manziel if they want to resurface as a playoff team. Look at the teams who made the playoffs this year, Denver, New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Cincinnati and San Diego in the AFC and Seattle, Carolina, Philadelphia, Green Bay, San Francisco and New Orleans in the NFC. All have one common denominator, an average to elite quarterback. Even if Johnny if average in his rookie year, I believe the Texans could make the playoffs with the talent surrounding him.
Why the Texans should pick Clowney:
Jadeveon Clowney has been deemed the next great defensive end, drawing comparisons to legends like Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor. If the Texans take the so-called “next great defensive end” could you imagine him on one end of the line of scrimmage and JJ Watt on the other? That would be the most feared defensive line in the NFL without a doubt. Clowney is fast and is an athletic freak of nature at 6’6 250 pounds with long arms, he has the ideal frame to beat tackles off the edge. Drafting Clowney would provide the Texans with two defensive stoppers who could come after Andrew Luck twice a year. Although pressure on the quarterback doesn’t necessarily equate to wins, it can definitely alter game plans. Another reason why the Texans should take Clowney is the safety of the pick. If Clowney would to fail and be a bust, it would be hard to see anyone criticizing the Texans for taking the supposedly next “Bruce Smith or Lawrence Taylor”. If Clowney reaches this potential, he would be one of the all time greats, a sure-fire hall of famer with impeccable credentials. Clowney is the safer bet but does he have the potential that Johnny does?
If I had to send in the draft card, I would choose Manziel. As the saying goes “scared money doesn’t make money” and I believe the Texans need to take the risk, however big it may be. Defensive ends, however talented they may be, don’t win championships, quarterbacks do. This is not to say that Johnny will win a Superbowl or even be an elite quarterback, but he would provide the Texans with the best chance to win a title.