2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Blake Bortles goes No. 1 overall to Texans in Todd McShay's latest mock draft
The Texans have some intriguing options with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. If I had to place probabilities on the four likeliest players to go first, I'd go with this group (in no particular order): UCF QB Blake Bortles, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn OT Greg Robinson.
I had Clowney going to Houston in my previous mock draft, and I still think he's the best player in this class and a good shot to go No. 1. But can the Texans really afford to pass on their top-rated quarterback? And if they do select a QB, what impact does that have on the rest of the draft board and the picks each team makes?
Let's take a look, with our third mock draft for 2014, projecting all 32 first-round picks.
Analysis: This is just as hard a decision for this mock draft as it was for my first back in December. I still have Clowney as the No. 1 player and Bridgewater as the No. 1 QB on my board, but I consider Bortles to be the likeliest choice. He has the prototypical size and mental makeup that Houston is looking for, and my guess is that his weaknesses -- consistency and ball placement -- are things that Texans coach Bill O'Brien thinks he can fix. (The fact that O'Brien coached previously under UCF coach George O'Leary adds a layer of familiarity, provided O'Leary endorses Bortles.) I'm sure some Texans fans will be asking about Johnny Manziel, but I don't think he really fits what O'Brien and this new regime are looking for.
Analysis: If Clowney doesn't go No. 1 to the Texans, the Rams will be ecstatic for two reasons: One, it would drive up the trade value for the No. 2 pick (at No. 6, the Falcons are one potential trade partner); and two, if the Rams don't get a trade offer that makes sense, they'll have the opportunity to take the best player in this draft and transform a good, young defense into an exceptional one. Yes, I know that the Rams already have a very good defensive line (and O-line was an issue last season), but in today's NFL, when you're defending the pass as much as teams are, being able to rotate your D-linemen or move a guy like Robert Quinn inside to rush the quarterback on passing downs would be a huge asset. Second down is the new third down. Greg Robinson is the pick if Clowney goes first.