RTC: Mock draft edition

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
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Reading the coverage of the Houston Texans...

Mock draft season has begun.

Some might argue mock draft season never ends.

But yesterday Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of 2014, Insider sending Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Houston Texans. So, we'll begin an exercise we'll repeat once again next month and in March and April: examining various mock drafts.

Today we'll take a look at those from CBSSports.com, FOXSports.com, NFL.com and CSNHouston.com.

CBSSports.com presented side-by-side mocks from Rob Rang and Dane Brugler. Rang mocks Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Texans first overall and Brugler awards them Blake Bortles from UCF. They're two very different choices. Bridgewater was the player most talked about as worthy of the top pick during the season and Bortles is a relatively new addition to that conversation. Both Brugler and Rang sent South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney second to the Rams. I can't help but wonder, in the case of Bortles, if people assume Texans coach Bill O'Brien will want him because of his size and the George O'Leary connection. UCF coach George O'Leary hired O'Brien as a graduate assistant in 1995. There's so much more that goes into quarterback evaluation.

Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com acknowledges that it's impossible to come up with an accurate mock draft right now. He's doing one because he thinks they're fun. I applaud that justification. Another point on which Schrager and I think similarly: he is suspicious of a fast-rising quarterback at this time of year. He notes that Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was that guy this time last year. Schrager thinks Bridgewater is the answer for the Texans' quarterback woes.

What I found most interesting about the mock draft offered by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com is that it did not have a quarterback being selected in the top three. Perhaps swayed by Texans owner Bob McNair's effusive praise earlier this week, Jeremiah sent Clowney to the Texans first overall, Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins second to the Rams and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr third to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And finally, a look at a local mock draft. Jason Passehl of CSNHouston.com chooses Clowney for the Texans. He notes McNair's comments on Clowney in his explanation. He also says a new head coach needs a sure thing with his first pick, and Clowney would be that.

Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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