If you are going to commit to a quarterback as the No. 1 overall draft pick, he needs to be special, as in Peyton Manning, Cam Newton or Andrew Luck special. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah doesn't believe Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville has those qualities that should prompt the Houston Texans to take him first in the 2014 NFL Draft.
"The thing with Bridgewater is he is solid in all areas, but he doesn't have that wow characteristic. He doesn't have off-the-charts size. He doesn't have a humungous arm. He's not a great athlete. He's good, he is proficient in all these different areas," Jeremiah said on "Super Bowl Live" on Thursday.
That matches the assessment of an unnamed NFC scout who said Bridgewater is not a "franchise savior."
The question for NFL executives, coaches and scouts regarding Bridgewater, as Jeremiah framed it, is: "What's so special where I am going to invest a high pick?"
That is compounded by the presence of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has the talent to be a transcendent player at the next level.
"I think it is a pretty intense debate because quarterback is the most important position on the team. You have to take care of that, but how often does a talent like that (Clowney) come around? It is going to be a debate between the quarterback they would take at No. 1 versus the quarterback they would take at the top of the second round. If they feel like that gap is not very wide and you're comfortable with that quarterback in Round 2, I don't know how you pass on Clowney with the first overall pick," Jeremiah said.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle believes the Texans will side with the quarterback, but Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Matt "Money" Smith each have Clowney being paired with J.J. Watt to form a feared defensive front in the first set of mock drafts.
The Texans have been through all this once before, choosing defensive lineman Mario Williams over running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Vince Young in the 2006 draft. Williams emerged as an All-Pro player, but Bush won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints while Williams never played in a playoff game as a Texan, proving you can make the right decision and still not get the desired result.
Unless the Texans are convinced Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, or Blake Bortles of UCF represents a true franchise quarterback, Clowney would seem to be the safer pick for the new regime of head coach Bill O'Brien, even as that move will always be second-guessed if it does not work out.
Whether O'Brien and the Texans' brain trust agree with Jeremiah's assessment of Bridgewater or any of the other top quarterbacks will decide whether to make that commitment that comes with the first pick.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.