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Jadeveon Clowney gaining steam as Texans' No. 1 pick

Concurrent with a report that quarterback-needy teams are strongly considering passing on a signal-caller in the first round, South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney is picking up steam as the presumed Houston Texans pick at the top of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Houston Chronicle's John McClain projects Clowney to the Texans at No. 1 overall in his latest mock draft.

McClain's prediction is noteworthy for several reasons, not least of which is that he has been as plugged-in as any beat writer in the country.

Up to this point, he had steadfastly maintained that the Texans would draft a franchise quarterback in the first round.

McClain's change of heart comes less than two weeks after Clowney wowed onlookers with a phenomenal pro day workout. Perhaps that performance sealed the Texans' belief that the Gamecocks star can excel in the hybrid outside linebacker-defensive end role that former Patriots star Willie McGinest mastered in Romeo Crennel's defensive scheme.

There's a theory making the rounds in draftnik circles that Clowney is shutting down private workouts because he's already been told that he will be the No. 1 pick.

NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis and Bucky Brooks all have Clowney going to Houston in their most recent mock drafts.

If the Texans subscribe to the notion that quarterbacks are slipping, they would in turn be gaining confidence that they can pick up their future field general with the first pick in the second round.

They can't afford to pass on a difference-maker of Clowney's talent level. As Portland has learned the hard way, missing out on a transcendent athlete can alter a city's destiny.

In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys discuss "Draft Day," then break down who got better (and who got worse) in the AFC East.

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