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Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Countdown to the Draft: 2 days

By Tania Ganguli

We at NFL Nation celebrated the home stretch of the lead-up to the NFL draft with a mock version, with 32 reporters taking the place of 32 general managers.

As I continue my countdown to the draft, just two days to go now, I'll look back on what was a fun process.

We started this countdown with 15 days to go. Each day I examined a number that correlated to the number of days remaining. At 15 we looked at the 15 times the Texans' offense turned over the ball during the 2013 season. At 14, the team record number of catches in a game, set by Andre Johnson. And so on.

And now ...

2. The number of trades I made in our first-round NFL Nation mock draft.

If you checked out our live mock draft, I traded the first overall pick to the Buffalo Bills. In exchange for the first pick, out Bills writer Mike Rodak gave me the ninth and 41st picks this year, his first- and second-round picks next year and his third-round pick in 2016.

I began the process by putting out feelers to see who was even a little bit interested. I spoke with every team in the top 10 except for Tampa Bay. No rhyme or reason to that, it just slipped my mind. Lions writer Mike Rothstein wanted to include Nick Fairley in a trade, but I couldn't see him being a fit in Houston. Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minnesota and Oakland weren't interested. Jacksonville asked for a chance to match my best offer.

Buffalo's was the first fictional general manager I tried, and ultimately the one that worked.

To start, he offered me just this year's second-round pick and next year's second-round pick. Total lowball.

I knew he wanted Clowney, and I knew I wanted at least one future first-round pick, so I asked for two future first-round picks in addition to those two second-round picks. I stressed that I had interest from another team who also wanted Clowney and the only way to get him would be to get the first pick.

It was too steep a price and would set back the franchise too much, he told me, but came back with an offer that matched up great on the trade value charts. I let him know another team asked for the chance to match (which was true, Mike DiRocco's Jaguars had), but he stood firm with his offer. As I expected, DiRocco wasn't interested in parting with that much, given the Jaguars' needs.

Dropping all the way down to nine made me a little bit nervous.

My plan was to pick up Bortles there, because I think Texans coach Bill O'Brien likes him and wants to develop him. I worried about the Vikings taking Bortles just because he was there, or someone else who wanted him jumping ahead of me. I swapped a fifth and sixth rounder for the Vikings' eighth pick. The Texans are heavy at the bottom of this draft.

In retrospect, I could probably have waited until the ninth pick, or even traded down again and still taken Bortles. But that was the quarterback I wanted, and there was a limit to the risk I'd take.

I'll be surprised if anyone offers the Texans that much in the real thing ... which is only two days away. Hooray!