Posted February 04, 2014

Report: Texans eyeing Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel with No. 1 pick in NFL draft

AFC South, Houston Texans, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien is not sold on Johnny Manziel's 'work ethic' and 'intangibles.'

New Texans coach Bill O’Brien is reportedly not sold on Johnny Manziel’s ‘work ethic’ or ‘intangibles.’ (Tyler Kaufman/Icon SMI)

Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them,” which is definitive proof that Ernest Hemingway never filled out an NFL Mock Draft.

The clock striking zeroes at Super Bowl XLVIII launched us unofficially into draft season. And with that virtual flip of the NFL calendar comes the usual boatload of information — some correct, some of the smokescreen variety — that only increases as the draft inches nearer.

A potentially key entry into the annual guessing game came Tuesday from Russ Lande of Sports on Earth (and the current scouting director for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes): “According to trusted sources,” Lande wrote, “the Texans are initially leaning towards taking either Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel with the top pick. Although Manziel would obviously be the choice of owner Bob McNair, [Bill] O’Brien is not sold that Manziel possesses the work ethic and intangibles necessary to be the face of a franchise.”

This is not the first we’ve heard of a Bortles-to-Houston connection — CBSSports.com draft analyst Dane Brugler has been banging that drum for awhile now. O’Brien’s arrival as the Texans’ new head coach only pushed that possibility further along.

That’s noted NFL mind Lance Zierlein — son of former Steelers O-line coach Larry Zierlein — weighing in there. O’Brien served as an assistant and later offensive coordinator under George O’Leary at Georgia Tech. And Bortles spent the past three seasons thriving under O’Leary’s guidance at Central Florida, so O’Brien certainly will call and ask for an insider’s opinion at some point.

Rather surprisingly, Lande barely mentions the name of Teddy Bridgewater. In fact, he suggests that if the Texans are not sold on Bortles, they may “trade down with a team that has Manziel fever or prefers Teddy Bridgewater or Clowney”.

Lande made waves in the draft community almost exactly one year ago when, as the National Football Post’s lead scout, he placed Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib No. 1 overall on the site’s Big Board. Florida State’s Bjoern Werner was No. 2, followed by Star Lotulelei, Luke Joeckel and Chance Warmack. Nassib wound up being selected No. 110 overall by the New York Giants.

Those rankings are hardly here nor there when it comes to the possible revelation about the Texans’ 2014 draft plans, but they do underscore how all over the board things can be this time of year.

What does seem more apparent by the day is that the Texans will try to address their QB issues in Round 1 — an opinion hammered home by longtime Texans beat writer John McClain last week:

Bridgewater was the No. 1 pick in Audibles’ last mock, posted on Jan. 9; he’s also been firmly planted at No. 2 overall on the Big Board here, behind only Clowney and 11 and 13 spots ahead, respectively, of Manziel and Bortles.

23 comments
Texboy14
Texboy14

Think about it, Texans holds the 1st overall pick in the draft. That means that they can pick ANYONE that enters the draft. Blake Bortles would be an AMAZING pick in the draft. WE NEED BORTLES!!!!!!!!!

sportsGuy12
sportsGuy12

pay no attention to Zierlein, that man is a goofball

joe6647
joe6647

Texans are just trying to bait a team thats in love with Johnny Manziel to trade up to #1

CousinVinny75
CousinVinny75

First they said Blaine Gabbert was better than Cam Newton


Now they are saying Blake Bortles is better than Bridgewater?


Bridgewater will make them look even more foolish.    He's basically a taller Russell Wilson.


And Manziel is Pat White with more hype

x72
x72

Trade the pick, let some other loser team draft Johnny Zitface

tahawus
tahawus

Not a good year to have the top pick if Manziel is the cream of the QB crop.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

"I’m still amazed to read and hear so many nationally predicting the Texans won’t take a QB with their first-round pick"

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yeah, just like we're amazed the experts said the SB would be so close and Peyton would be so awesome

j7apple
j7apple

Smokescreen...Teddy goes to Texans...

ChadCollins
ChadCollins

The media will make Maziel the greatest qb of all time.  Robert Griffin will fall to 2nd greatest of all time after the draft

dizzz
dizzz

Don't envy the coach that doesn't pick Manziel in Texas; and if he doesn't, the other guy better perform, fast   

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

This whole pre-draft topic is about as stimulating and on a par with, spit-balling on what one would do with lottery winnings. It's fantasy. And boring.

Kopernicus1967
Kopernicus1967

@joe6647  I think the organizational ignorance of the Browns will give them the sucker they are looking for...



quefabe
quefabe

@CousinVinny75  


Manziel is a perennial  rehab resident in waiting.


If he walked on stilts he'd be the next Ryan Leaf

giwaa001
giwaa001

@CousinVinny75  I'm wondering if the Texans organization will ever draft a black QB... I believe that Bridgewater is the real deal.

JasonBain
JasonBain

@j7apple they pick first, who are they actually trying to smokescreen. stupid comment.

LawrenceArabia
LawrenceArabia

@dizzz  Since head coaches now have only a 2-3 year window to turn a team around (as opposed to the old 5 years), they might as well go all out with THEIR choices. Imagine going with the owner's choices and THEN get canned if these don't work out!! Might as well get canned with your own!

AF Whigs
AF Whigs

@Kopernicus1967:  Oh god, please, no!  Although I do fully expect the Browns to bumble their way to some kind of nonsense deal with their first rounders.

j7apple
j7apple

@JasonBain @j7apple  If you knew about agents and contracts (which apparently you don't)  many a draft pick comes down to whether a team can negotiate a better contract between candidates, before they pick.


Agents know value goes down as the pick goes down.


Brush up on the draft negotiations before calling one stupid.