Posted April 18, 2014

Houston Texans Mock Draft Tracker

Houston Texans, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Houston Texans 2014 NFL Mock Draft Tracker: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (David E. Klutho/SI)

What will the Houston Texans do in the 2014 NFL draft? Keep track of all the predictions made in our mock drafts leading up to Round 1 on May 8.

April 17, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 7.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 1: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

We said: The Texans have held the No. 1 overall pick twice in their history. They used the first, as an expansion club, on David Carr; the second, four years later, on Mario Williams. Obviously, riding defense there worked out better for them.

That’s not to say that Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles would be a total bust as the No. 1 pick, or that Clowney is a sure bet — there really are no guarantees when it comes to the draft. Coaching staffs and GMs hang their tenures on top-10 QBs, though, so to draft one a team has to be totally sold, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Even if the Texans have a hankering for Bortles, they don’t seem to have reached that level quite yet.

In Clowney, they may be drafting the league’s next great defensive superstar. Pairing him with J.J. Watt off the edge would turn the Texans into a borderline unblockable pass-rushing machine. This is the safest, smartest pick in this spot.

Round 1, pick 20 (via Arizona): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

We said: Why, hello there. By all accounts at the moment, the Texans are wavering between Clowney and Bortles at No. 1 overall. So, how could they pass up the opportunity to add both, even at the expense of their second- and third-round picks (plus a random sixth-round selection)? Both Oakland and Jacksonville left the top 10 without adding a franchise QB, so Arizona might be able to hold a bit of a bidding war here. Without anyone jumping off the page for their own pick, the Cardinals can slide back a few spots and pick up another top-65 selection in a deep draft.

Houston, meanwhile, hands away its selections atop Rounds 2 and 3 to add a second Round 1 pick. Rarely do teams have the opportunity to secure the two players they want most in the draft. Houston accomplishes the feat within the top 20, landing a potential superstar on defense and now a QB that Bill O’Brien might able to mold into a long-time starter.

April 10, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 1: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

We said: I’ll keep this simple: Everything I’ve heard from new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien so far this offseason seems to point to taking a quarterback, but somewhere other than the draft’s first pick. When O’Brien says he doesn’t see a lot of separation among the draft’s top-rated six or seven quarterbacks, and goes on about how “very, very difficult” it is for a rookie quarterback to play right away, it pushes me further and further into the Clowney at No. 1 camp. If O’Brien doesn’t see a truly special talent at quarterback, odds are he and his Texans will lean toward the pass-rushing savant from South Carolina, and go shopping for a passer in the second round, or possibly by trading back into the first. If I’m reading it wrong, and Houston has every intention to take a QB at No. 1, UCF’s Blake Bortles is still my best guess. I’m not convinced O’Brien longs to climb aboard the Johnny Football Express.

April 1, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 1: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: There’s an automatic assumption that new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will shy away from Manziel because he has a prominent affiliation with quarterbacks who stand in the pocket and use more traditional kinds of motion to deal with pressure (hello, Tom Brady), but something O’Brien said at the owners’ meetings caught my ear.

“You certainly can’t box him into a certain way of playing,” O’Brien said of Manziel. “He’s been successful since he was 4-5 years old playing the way he plays. You can’t force a guy to be something he isn’t. But we have a system adaptable to many different types of quarterbacks.”

And that’s the key to success. The NFL does require that quarterbacks throw from the pocket and in structure, but those who believe that Manziel can’t succeed at the next level because his play is full of randomness and nothing else should hold off. Manziel does make plays from the pocket, and while he will need serious coaching to be consistent against NFL defenses, the clear mechanical improvements he showed at his pro day showed two things: He’s receptive to the right kind of coaching, and he understands that development is needed. Manziel is tremendously and functionally mobile, he gets the ball out very quickly, and he’s able to make plays under pressure with his arm that few other quarterbacks can make. Why wouldn’t O’Brien take a risk on the variables when the upside is so tantalizing? He could make Johnny Football into a franchise-defining individual. It’s not a certainty, but it’s a possibility.

March 25, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 6.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 1: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

We said: The Texans’ addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick drew little attention, but Fitzpatrick could be a key piece if Bortles is indeed the pick here. There is ample doubt that Bortles will be ready for a starting gig out the gate — remember, the key word with him is “potential.” Fitzpatrick (and Case Keenum, in theory) will provide a safety net.

March 18, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 1: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

We said: I wasn’t exactly feeling the love for Johnny Football coming from new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien at the scouting combine, so after giving Houston the former Texas A&M quarterback in my first mock, I’m changing direction in favor of the Central Florida passer with the kind of size and pocket passing skills the NFL still swoons over. The Texans have plenty of time to talk themselves into making Jadeveon Clowney their prize, and then target a quarterback like Eastern Illinois’s Jimmy Garappolo at No. 33. But for now, I’m sticking with the belief that Houston’s need to find its next franchise quarterback will trump all other considerations.

March 5, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 1: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

We said: As far as I’m concerned, Clowney’s alleged effort issues aren’t the key to his reduced sack rate in 2013. He uses his ridiculous speed to penetrate through gaps to the backfield far more than he’s given credit for, and it’s his relatively rudimentary technique that gets in the way. Often, Clowney will look to shoot gaps like a running back would, he doesn’t use hand moves at an NFL level, and he gets negated from the side when he’s going after the quarterback. But he also makes a large amount of splash plays in the backfield given the number of blockers he faces, and I see a fairly consistent level of effort — not a lot of “loafs” here. It’s interesting how narratives go forward when the tape shows something else, but I’m thinking that the Texans, and new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, won’t be fooled. They’ll recognize Clowney as a unique talent and select him as such.

Feb. 26, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 1: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

We said: You’ll see Blake Bortles in this No. 1 spot across plenty of post-combine mocks. A lot of the signs right now, in late February, point toward new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien nabbing the tall Central Florida QB as his franchise guy. And that may end up being the pick in the long run.

Bridgewater is still here because he’s the best quarterback in this draft and the one most ready to step into an NFL lineup. The Texans have the pieces in place to embark on a Chiefs-like bounceback next season — remember, this was a playoff team in both 2011 and ’12. Bortles may be very good in the long run; same with Johnny Manziel. Bridgewater has a shot to be terrific out of the gate.

Round 2, pick 33: Stephon Tuitt, DE/DT, Notre Dame

We said: Tuitt’s a value pick here — he should be a Round 1 guy, but a shaky 2013 coupled with an untimely foot injury could drive him down.

Feb. 19, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 1: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M.

We said: This much is certainly true in mid-February: We don’t know yet whether new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is sold on Manziel’s improvisational approach to quarterbacking, with its live-on-the-edge style of playmaking. But we also don’t know for certain that O’Brien has to have a traditional pocket passer to run his offense and that he wouldn’t come to appreciate Manziel’s ability to keep plays alive with his legs, forcing teams to defend him from sideline to sideline. I would think that the dual-threat success of Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton in recent years has done nothing but help endorse Manziel’s unconventional game. Perhaps, as the scouting season wears on, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, UCF quarterback Blake Bortles or South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will emerge as talents too great to pass up, or Manziel’s maturity issues will scare away owner Bob McNair and a Houston organization that isn’t known for risk-taking. But the homestate hero Manziel has that “it” factor, and the Texans have tried the more mechanical-type quarterback (Matt Schaub) without Super Bowl success. For now, Manziel and the Texans are a marriage too intriguing to ignore.

Feb. 6, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 1: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.

We said: The Houston Texans clearly need a franchise quarterback as they start a rebuild under new head coach Bill O’Brien. And though there are several intriguing quarterbacks in this draft class, none possess Bridgewater’s combination of mobility, ability to throw on the run, capability to make every throw, and command of the game that will pay dividends at the next level. Size is a concern, but take a look at Tom Brady and Drew Brees — NFL training programs can make quarterbacks better, faster and stronger, and Bridgewater has everything else needed to succeed.

Jan. 9, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 1: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.

We said: The pre-draft process can feel rather interminable, so most prominent prospects trek through ebbs and flows in their hype. Right now, Bridgewater’s in a bit of a lull. Blame it on Louisville playing an early bowl game or focus falling on Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. Whatever the reason, Bridgewater has slipped out of the spotlight a bit.

So, here’s your reminder: This is the best quarterback in the 2014 class. Bridgewater has shown time and again what he is capable of on the field, and The MMQB’s Greg Bedard recently highlighted what a sharp football mind he has: “You’d be hard-pressed to find many, if any, college quarterbacks that are asked to do [as much as Bridgewater is],” Bedard wrote, “especially at 21 years old and in a completely full-field read progression system.”

There’s no use picking through the remaining prospects to figure out who should go No. 1 when the answer is staring us in the face.

Dec. 5, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.1 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 1: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

We said: Expect the Texans to finish out their evaluation of Case Keenum in Weeks 14-17, but this franchise needs a new start under center. In Bridgewater, they would add the best quarterback in this year’s class to a talented offense already stockpiled with players like Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and Ben Tate.

Sept. 24, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Chris Burke) 

Round 1, pick 29: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
We said: Hard to ignore the momentum Gordon has generated over the first four weeks of the season, in rushing for 624 yards and seven TDs with an 11.8 yards-per-carry average. With Ben Tate likely to leave next offseason for a No. 1 gig elsewhere, the Texans will be in the market for another Arian Foster sidekick.

April 30, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 29: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
We said: Something tells me Jones, who had 95 tackles last season, will ultimately be picked higher than this. He can get into the backfield, diagnose plays and track down running backs. Jones could develop into the total package.


I was hoping for Johnny to the Texans, but then AJ McCarron came on the clock, and I started leaning toward AJ. Bortles would great, Bridgewater would be fine, Khali Mack or Clowney will just be the worst 1st overall pick in history! And now as I think of it, Johnny might be a bust. And he's just might not be a good fit for the Texans.

Listen up, Houston Texans, more importantly, Bob McNair, the smartest idea to draft right now is probably AJ McCarron. He might not sound as great as drafting Bortles, Bridgewater, or Manziel, it's just that AJ McCarron is a decent fit for the Texans right now...