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Will they or won’t they?
For the first time in years, there is absolute uncertainty about which player the Houston Texans will draft with the No. 1 selection. The XN Mock Draft 1.0 projected the team the nab South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, but longtime NFL beat writer John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is confident otherwise.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the team’s latest move to trade Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders for a late-round pick, then sign veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, are indicators it will draft a quarterback in the first round. McClain believes Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel are all candidates to get drafted first overall, and although unlikely, would not rule out the possibility of trading down two or three spots to get the one they covet.
Last week ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge made a splash when he said Johnny Football had “bust” written all over him. Now he’s addressing another prospect: Michael Sam.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” Hoge said he prefers Sam to Clowney because he believes the latter is overrated due to his athleticism. Sam is projected to be a late-round pick and could potentially go undrafted, while Clowney remains in contention to be the top selection.
“You got one guy who is a dynamic athlete,” Hoge said. “His athletic skills are crazy, but as a football player, they’re very average. Then you look at Michael Sam, his athletic skill sets are not eye-popping or awesome, but his football skill set is good. It’s sound. You would take a player like him and say, you know what, he has a chance to make my team, and I know this. One thing coaches like is somebody I can trust. He’s going to play hard for me. He’s going to be where he needs to be. Now, is he going to dominate people like Clowney could, but we hardly see on a consistent basis? That’s what you’d have to decide.”
One quarterback that won’t go in the first round is Georgia’s Aaron Murray, but apparently the former SEC standout is drawing plenty of interest.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a dozen teams are eyeing Murray. The quarterback has been unable to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did undergo interviews with teams and is expected to throw during the Georgia Pro Day. He will be featured on ESPN’s Jon Gruden Camp in April as well.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Texans, and Raiders have shown the most interest in Murray, per the report.
Murray has been connected to Cincinnati for a bit, largely because the team has a history of selecting Georgia players and due to Murray’s relationship with Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green. The signing of free-agent quarterback Jason Campbell may have an impact, though.
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