One of the best things about the NFL draft is the domino effect that goes on each round as teams grab an unexpected player or make a sudden trade. All the chaos has to start somewhere, however, and this year that red button falls into the hands of the Houston Texans and the No. 1 overall pick.
NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly is somebody very familiar with the pressure at the top from his days as an executive with the Redskins and Texans. He even made the bold (at the time) decision to draft Mario Williams first in 2006. This year he sees a familiar theme building at the top, but there just so happens to be a player even more talented than the one he selected years ago.
"What you want to do is when you wake up the next morning, feel good that you took the best player in the draft," Casserly said on "Path to the Draft." "The best talent in the draft is Jadeveon Clowney. Guy makes rare plays against the run, rare plays against the pass. Maybe the most talented defensive end I've ever scouted."
"There's a lot of questions to answer, but he's a rare talent at his position."
With decades of experience in scouting and the NFL, Casserly calling Clowney the best defensive end he's ever laid eyes on is no small thing. Considered the best player coming out of high school and later racked up accolades in the SEC, most tend to agree that the South Carolina star has shown he could play at a high level in the NFL.
"What about his work habits? What about his practice habits? What about his medical? Those are all legitimate questions," Casserly said. "There are a lot of plays where he doesn't come off blocks as well as I would like and he has to develop a counter move on the pass rush. This is not a no-brainer.
"The other one? He's going to a 3-4 defense. Can he stand up?"
Those are certainly questions Houston will have to figure out over the next few weeks as they evaluate Clowney. It won't just be them doing their homework either as teams immediately behind the Texans have to be ready to pull the trigger on the defensive end if he isn't the guy at No. 1.
So what happens if Bill O'Brien opts for a quarterback instead of defensive help?
NFL Media Analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Rams' pick at No. 13 will have a big impact on what they do at No. 2 if Clowney is still on the board.
"You've got Greg Robinson and Mike Evans, that's one scenario," said Jeremiah. "Or let's say they go Sammy Watkins first and then they have to hold their breath that Taylor Lewan is still there. So these are the two different matchups you want. Do you want Taylor Lewan and Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans and Greg Robinson?"