On Friday I wrote a post about why I thought the Falcons would trade up to two to make a deal with the Rams so that they could select Jadeveon Clowney. I had Atlanta sending five picks to St. Louis, including two firsts, a second, a third, and a fourth spread over two years. I realize that's a high price to pay, and one that would drive some Falcons fans from the window to the wall, but we've seen crazier draft day deals.
A lot crazier.
In order for this deal to come to fruition however, a lot of other things still have to happen. I still think it's the most obvious move but there's another move that could make even more sense if it happened. Why should Atlanta wait to trade up to two and hope that Clowney is still available if they could just move up to one instead and guarantee it?
Almost 15 years ago that's exactly what they did for Michael Vick.
It's a new regime now (because of Michael Vick) but a player of similar caliber rests atop almost every draft board. Despite Clowney's lackluster junior season, any notion that he won't be the first or second player drafted seems like a smokescreen to me. Any "red flags" that you hear about are making some teams salivate over the possibility that maybe it won't be impossible to get him. Show me a player that had red flags going into the draft and I'll show you five Hall of Famers that had similar "risks." Show me a player that was going to be the perfect NFL player, and I'll show you Brian Bosworth.
However, I don't know if Clowney is the right fit for the Houston Texans. Not with their present situation. I think that if the Texans stay at one, they're taking a quarterback and it's probably Blake Bortles. Here is why.
I'm not a scout by any means, so I can't give you any opinion as to why Bortles is a better prospect than Bridgewater is a better prospect than Manziel. From my fan perspective, Bortles would by my third choice probably. Maybe fourth. But from what I can see, all the evidence is pointing towards a quarterback going first overall:
- The Texans are too good of a team overall to be starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, or a second round rookie at quarterback next season. I realize that players like Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, and Andy Dalton have given teams hope that they can almost immediately jump into starting a QB that's not a first round pick, but that's still not your highest probability move. Fitzpatrick and Keenum make good backups and nothing more.
- Head coach Bill O'Brien is taking over his first NFL team and his only NFL experience prior to this was with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011, when he coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers.
- General Manager Rick Smith took over the team following a 2-14 season and opted to make the shocking move by selecting Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. He's only drafted two quarterbacks in eight years: T.J. Yates and Alex Brink. Houston has won two playoff games in franchise history, both over the Bengals.
It's time to take a chance on a quarterback.
- Texans QB coach George Godsey is a former quarterback that played for George O'Leary at Georgia Tech and then worked as an assistant on his staff at Central Florida. It's a loose connection to Bortles, but interesting nonetheless.
If a team like Atlanta or Oakland happen to want Clowney bad enough, then Houston should be shopping their pick around and see what hits. If the Falcons really are willing to make that offer to St. Louis as mentioned before, then of course they should call the Texans first and do the same offer. Why get up to two when you can just get up to one instead? In the case of Houston, if they moved down to six they could almost certainly still draft a quarterback.
At worst, they'd wind up with Manziel, Bridgewater, or Kahlil Mack. How interesting would it be though if it was Derek Carr?
People are viewing Clowney as "an athlete so gifted it doesn't matter if you have a position for him or not" and I think that's a mistake. Clowney is a defensive end from what I've been told, and asking him to switch to outside linebacker or a DE in a 3-4 seems like a bad idea. (Yeah, the Falcons run a 3-4) Perhaps the most interesting fit would be as a LEO for Gus Bradley in Jacksonville but that would be the furthest I'd ask him to stretch himself from what he's been dominant at in college. Asking him to change now would take...motivation.
I hear that's one of Clowney's "red flags."