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Buffalo's Khalil Mack among seven in play to be first pick in draft

Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack's excellent workout at his pro day kept him in play to potentially be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

If Mack indeed does go No. 1 overall, he would be the second consecutive Mid-American Conference player to be chosen first. Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher went No. 1 to Kansas City in the 2013 draft. No conference has had back-to-back No. 1 picks since the SEC in 1998-99, with Peyton Manning going first in '98 and Tim Couch in '99.

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt says there are seven players conceivably in play to be the top pick: Mack; quarterbacks Blake Bortles of UCF, Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M; offensive tackle Greg Robinson of Auburn; wide receiver Sammy Watkins of Clemson; and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina.

Watkins and Robinson seem to be the longest shots among those seven to go No. 1, especially if Houston keeps the pick. The Texans need a quarterback, but pairing another high-caliber pass rusher such as Clowney or Mack with current Houston star J.J. Watt would cause angst among every offensive coordinator the Texans will face in 2014. NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has said he would take Mack No. 1.

If quarterback is the Texans' choice, Bortles and Bridgewater would seem to best fit new coach Bill O'Brien's offensive scheme. He prefers a drop-back passer, and using Manziel in that type of offense would seem a poor fit.

No defensive player has gone first overall since 2006, when Houston selected North Carolina State's Mario Williams.

Fisher was the second offensive tackle in six years to go first -- Michigan's Jake Long went No. 1 to the Dolphins in 2008. Quarterbacks went first in every draft from 2009-12. The most recent wide receiver to go No. 1 overall was USC's Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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