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Texans contemplate passing on Jadeveon Clowney with top pick

Would the Texans really pass on the consensus top player available in the 2014 NFL Draft, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, if they don't trade the first overall pick?

As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport advises, don't rule it out.

Rapoport said Sunday on NFL Network's "Total Access" that, after talking to sources familiar with Texans general manager Rick Smith's thinking, he no longer believes it's a certainty that Houston will pick Clowney if it keeps the No. 1 overall selection.

Rapoport said the name to watch if the Texans don't take Clowney is that of former Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who might be viewed by Houston as a more natural defensive fit than Clowney.

Now, it's still possible the Texans won't be picking first -- they've made it clear that trading down is something they're entertaining. Owner Bob McNair and Smith are at least on the same page on that front. However, it doesn't appear that the owner and general manager are in lockstep when it comes to ranking Clowney and Mack. McNair said Friday that Clowney is "obviously the best player in the draft," but Rapoport's report indicates Smith might feel that the answer to who's No. 1 isn't so obvious.

Or maybe the Texans are muddying the waters as much as they possibly can as they put on a full-court press to find out what the highest bid would be for pick No. 1.

Rapoport said Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is another name to consider at No. 1 -- although he's not considered a perfect fit for head coach Bill O'Brien's offense -- and also mentioned that the Texans' talks with teams that might be interested in acquiring the No. 1 overall pick have yet to get serious.

If the Texans have it their way, that will change in the next day or two.

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