Every year, we count down the days until the NFL Draft by letting you make the picks in our Fan Mock Draft. Every day until the opening bell of the draft on May 8, you'll get to vote and decide one selection per day, until we arrive at the Eagles' selection at No. 22 overall. Today, we start at the top with the Houston Texans …
After shepherding the Penn State football program for the last two seasons, Bill O'Brien returned to the NFL this offseason when he was named the head coach of the Houston Texans. For sure, the carrot of the No. 1 overall pick in what is considered a very deep draft was an enticement for O'Brien. Because this is a new regime, however, few people have much of a sense of what direction the franchise will take with the first overall pick.
With Matt Schaub gone, O'Brien is left with three quarterbacks on his roster: Case Keenum, T.J. Yates and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was signed as a free agent this offseason. If the Texans find themselves enamored of one of this year's draft-eligible quarterbacks, surely they would have reason to add a long-term solution at the position. But there is little consensus as to which of this year's quarterbacks stands at the top of the class.
Johnny Manziel offers the most in terms of playmaking and improvisational ability. Blake Bortles is considered by some to be the best of the traditional pocket-passing quarterbacks, whileTeddy Bridgewater, long thought to be the likely No. 1 overall pick, has reportedly dropped on draft boards a bit. Or could the Texans go completely off the board and repeat history by taking a Carr No. 1 overall again?
Quarterbacks aside, the "best talent" in the draft certainly appears to be South Carolina pass rusher Jadaveon Clowney. At 6-foot-6, 266 pounds, Clowney has been a dominant force in college football over the last three seasons, notching 24.0 sacks over that time. The possibility of the Texans pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt surely has quarterbacks in the AFC South trembling a bit. Among pass rushers, Buffalo's Khalil Mack could also intrigue the Texans as a first-pick shock.
Though the Texans already have one of the league's better left tackles in Duane Brown, there's always improvement to be made when it comes to protecting the quarterback. If that's the area O'Brien and the Texans choose to address, they'll have their pick of Auburn's Greg Robinson (6-5, 332) and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews (6-5, 308). Robinson is considered the player with the more physical upside, while Matthews is a more advanced prospect who is expected to be able to handle starting from day one.
Finally, though the Texans used a first-round pick on a wide receiver last season with the explosive DeAndre Hopkins and they already have one of the league's best at the position in Andre Johnson, is there any chance they could be intrigued by the possibility of creating a triple threat of receivers with Clemson's Sammy Watkins? It doesn't seem likely, but with 22 days until we find out what the Texans do with the first overall pick, all the options are on the board. You get to make the call …