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Jadeveon Clowney must go No. 1 to Houston Texans in NFL draft

I live for a great sports debate. I love sports drama. I yearn for intelligent sports discussion. But when it comes to what the Houston Texans should do with the No. 1 overall pick, there's no discussion.

Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in the 2014 NFL Draft. That's it. Story over.

Texans owner Bob McNair should call Commissioner Roger Goodell right now and tell him the pick is in. It would really save everyone a lot of time and hot air. General manager Rick Smith should tell teams not to bother calling with trade proposals. In fact, just cut the phone lines. The only debate new head coach Bill O'Brien should be having is over the cut of his eventual Super Bowl ring.

It's a rather simple deal: The prospect with the most talent is Clowney. He's a freak. He's a one-of-a-kind athletic specimen. Quarterbacks quake in his presence.

And no, this isn't a slobberfest over Clowney's pro day on Wednesday. This is a reaction to, well, everything.

It's a reaction to watching Clowney play college football. It's a reaction to realizing how he fits in the NFL. It's a reaction to many conversations with former players and decision makers about this extraordinary prospect. It's flat-out common sense.

You can go gaga over the NFL Scouting Combine and the pro day if you want. That's fine. It's the cherry on top of a delicious body of work and intelligent projection.

Or, as one NFL general manager said to me, "He's what you dream of. He's freakish. Do you want to be the guy who passes on him?"

No. No, you don't.

I've gushed about the perfect choice of O'Brien as the new head coach in Houston. He did a great job at Penn State while facing unprecedented adversity. And O'Brien obviously has NFL chops, as evidenced by his fantastic tenure with the New England Patriots. In Houston, he has put together a great coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Clowney would thrive under Romeo. And spare me the narrative on Clowney's unclear fit in Romeo's scheme. Romeo is a maestro. He's from the Belichick school; he adapts to his talent.

So Romeo favors the 3-4 defense and Clowney plays 4-3 defensive end? To quote Syracuse basketball legend Derrick Coleman, "Whoop-de-damn-do." I can't listen to it anymore. Clowney, a man whose athleticism knows no bounds, showed he could drop back in coverage during his pro day. And it needs to be stressed: Romeo will work with (and plan around) Clowney!

Daydream, Texans fans. Fantasize about Clowney working alongside J.J. Watt, rushing the quarterback, terrorizing Andrew Luck. What a combination! What a life!

Oh, you wonder what Houston is going to do at quarterback? I'm glad you asked.

Let's start with this basic premise: The Texans must do anything but take a QB with the No. 1 overall pick. Yes, quarterback is the most important position on the field. But -- say it with me, so it sticks over the next five weeks -- THERE IS NO FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK IN THIS DRAFT!

Opposing league executives have told me they believe Blake Bortles is the quarterback O'Brien likes in this draft. But you simply cannot justify calling him the best player in this draft. It's unfathomable. It's unconscionable. If there's a draft board that has Bortles ranked ahead of Clowney, someone somewhere should be fired. Bortles could be a viable starter somewhere -- in 2015. He has talent, but he's a project.

I wrote on Tuesday that it wouldn't shock me to see Teddy Bridgewater completely fall out of the first round.

I like Johnny Manziel. I think he's the best quarterback in the draft. But there are questions about his height and focus.

As I've mentioned before, Phil Simms was spot-on when he said on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports," that Geno Smith is better than any quarterback in this year's draft. In a related story, Smith was a second-round pick last year.

Jones: Chronicling Clowney's climb

Jadeveon Clowney has enjoyed a meteoric rise -- but he also has his share of critics. Kimberly Jones digs into his story. **More ...**

Funny, because one of the AFC's top talent evaluators texted me to say this: "I don't think there's a first-round quarterback in this draft. I wish I could get Clowney. Houston is so fortunate. Bottoming out last year was the best thing that happened. They have talent. And now O'Brien. Wait until they get Clowney. Franchise changer."

When you overdraft a quarterback, you get fired and the team winds up picking near the top again. (See: the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.)

The Texans should pick a quarterback they like -- to learn from Ryan Fitzpatrick -- but later in the draft.

But what about Clowney's numbers dipping last season? I'm really glad you asked.

First of all, there's a reason the guy who played next to Clowney at South Carolina, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, saw his sack total jump from 3.5 in 2012 to 9.5 in 2013: Opposing offenses clearly committed substantial resources to containing No. 7.

Second, Clowney told Jim Rome on Showtime that he probably would've stayed at South Carolina for his senior season if college athletes were paid. Fact of the matter is, Clowney probably wanted to come out after his stellar sophomore year, but he couldn't do it with the rules in place.

If you want to question him, fine. If you want to say he was protecting his investment (in the form of that freakish body), we can discuss it.

But, as one lead scout from one of the NFL's best teams said to me, "That's just a distracting topic. It takes away from the obvious point. The guy is a sack artist. He wrecks offenses."




The only question for Bill O'Brien is what tie to wear when Jadeveon Clowney ultimately fuels a celebratory visit to the White House.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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