In twelve days, the Texans will have to do something with the first pick. To help fill those twelve days, let’s summarize their options.
First, they can use the pick and keep the player selected. If that happens, the prevailing thought (as articulated by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle) is that the Texans will take defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Second, they can trade the pick before the draft, moving down to a lower position in the top 10. If Clowney ends up being the first pick, the Texans would take Manziel if he’s still on the board. If Manziel is gone, McClain believes the choice would be linebacker Khalil Mack or quarterback Blake Bortles.
Of course, if they drop farther than No. 4, there’s a chance all four would be gone. The Texans would need to hope that a tackle or two get drafted early, like Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. A 2013-style run, with Robinson, Matthews, and Taylor Lewan all gone in the top five, would be the best outcome for the Texans.
Third, the Texans could take Clowney and then trade him to a team that takes the player the Texans directs them to take, with a trade being done promptly thereafter. The risk in that case would be the other team not getting a player the Texans want, and then the Texans would have to keep Clowney.
Most of the speculation for trade talk has centered on the Falcons, who hold the sixth overall pick and who have made no secret of their flirtation with Clowney. On Friday, they got the closest thing to a workout from Clowney, with a biomechanical assessment on a force plate.
The real question is whether the Texans would take Clowney if they can’t trade the pick. A decision to use the pick and take Manziel would then create a potential trade down by the Rams, who could be inclined to ship the pick to the Falcons for Clowney.
Fourth, the Texans could pass the pick. Obviously, that will never happen. Not long ago, however, when rookie contracts at the top of the draft were spiraling out of control, there was actually speculation that a team’s best move would be to voluntarily move down.