For a while now, the debate surrounding the Houston Texans has been whether the team will select quarterback Blake Bortles or defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in May’s NFL Draft. Now, the team reportedly is mulling another option.
According to Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report, the Texans are “trying hard” to deal the first pick. The team spent most of the NFL owner’s meetings in Orlando attempting to move out of the top slot in order to acquire extra selections, according to the report, and may have found a potential trade partner in the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills, who drafted E.J. Manuel in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, are reportedly contemplating moving up in order to nab another quarterback or possibly Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson. Of course, drafting Clowney or Buffalo’s Khalil Mack remain options as well.
“Word from the NFL meetings is the Texans are trying hard to deal the first pick in the draft. They want to move down and acquire extra selections,” Pompei wrote. “Sources say they might have a trade partner in the Bills, who appear interested in moving up. It is unclear who the Bills would want in a trade-up scenario. Some believe they would move up for a quarterback. They also could make good use of an offensive tackle such as Greg Robinson. And it would be something to see them pair Mario Williams with either Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack.”
The potential swap has major ramifications for both teams.
By sliding down and taking the Bills’ No. 9 pick, the Texans would seemingly be content waiting to draft their quarterback in the second or third round. With the first pick, the team could go after a number of different prospects, ranging anywhere from an offensive lineman (Jake Matthews) or pass-rusher (Anthony Barr) or wide receiver (Sammy Watkins).
Then, Bill O’Brien can find his future quarterback in Round 2 — perhaps in the form of a Derek Carr or Zach Mettenberger, who according to ESPN quarterback guru Ron Jaworski, is the second-best player available at the position. With whatever the team can acquire from the Bills in exchange for the top pick, in addition to the late-round pick acquired from Oakland Raiders for Matt Schaub, the Texans could have enough ammunition to move up in the draft when need be.
As for the Bills, it seems a bit questionable the team is willing to give up on Manuel, the 16th overall selection just a year ago. Manuel finished off an injury riddled rookie campaign with 1,972 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 10 games played.
But who could the Bills be eyeing with the No. 1 pick?
If it’s a quarterback, Bortles, Johnny Manziel, and Teddy Bridgewater are all candidates as the top three prospects. The team would have to move into the No. 1 or 2 slot in order to get their guy, with the quarterback-needy Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, and Raiders picking third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Or perhaps the Bills want to sure up their offensive line with Robinson, arguably the top left tackle in the class. The St. Louis Rams are oft-connected to Robinson in the No. 2 spot, but they, too, are reportedly openly shopping their pick. If the team wanted Robinson, it may not have to trade for the No. 1 pick.
It may be more likely the Bills want to grab Clowney or Mack. If Clowney isn’t picked first, it’s unlikely he’ll get past the Jaguars picking third. The Bills may want to complement Williams with Clowney, considered the top edge rusher in the class. Mack, too, is an option. The Buffalo product can line up at both defensive end or a standup linebacker, and is considered by some to be a more well-rounded player than Clowney.