What the Houston Texans will do with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft almost certainly comes down to taking Jadeveon Clowney or a quarterback. Veteran Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain believes it will be the latter.
McClain was more emphatic about his point Friday.
I'm still amazed to read and hear so many nationally predicting the Texans won't take a QB with their first-round pick. It'll be a QB!â John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 31, 2014
That assessment flies in the face of the first wave of mock drafts, as NFL Media analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks each have the Texans taking the South Carolina defensive end. Pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt to create one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the league would seem to make more sense than trying to parse the top three quarterback prospects.
Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville is the most polished pocket passer, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M the most exciting player, and Blake Bortles of UCF the most physically gifted of the three. None, however, appears to be in the same can't miss category as Andrew Luck was in 2012.
The Texans certainly need an upgrade under center, as their passing game with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum ranked 22nd in completion percentage, 24th in yards per attempt, 25th in touchdown passes, and third in interceptions this season.
But the track record of new head coach Bill O'Brien in developing walk-on Matt McGloin at Penn State and coaxing an 11-win season out of the New England Patriots with Matt Cassel would indicate that a top-tier quarterback might not be necessary for him to succeed.
Instead, a stopgap acquisition through free agency -- Josh McCown jumps to mind -- and drafting a developmental quarterback such as Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo to go with Clowney might make more sense to O'Brien.
If the Texans do decide to take a quarterback with the top pick, it might not be clear who gets the nod until just before the draft begins on May 8.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.