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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Looking into this year’s NFL draft: a rundown of the possible top prospects

The Houston Texans posted the worst NFL record 2–14 in 2013. There is much speculation about who will be chosen first in the upcoming draft.

Standing at 6 foot 5 inches and weighing in at 266 pounds, Jadeveon Clowney has been the favorite for American football sportscaster and NFL media analyst Charley Casserly.

Casserly, a former NFL general manager, went to four Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins. He also drafted Mario Williams instead of the highly scouted Reggie Bush in 2002 for the expansion Houston Texans.

On the NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft” Casserly said, “the best talent in the draft is Jadeveon Clowney.”

“(He) makes rare plays against the run, rare plays against the pass,” added Casserly. “Maybe the most talented defensive end I’ve ever scouted.”

Senior O’Shawn Bryant said that Clowney is the smartest first pick overall.

“He is beast,” said Bryant. “Imagine him and J.J. Watt together.”

If the Texans draft Clowney, their defense would gain credibility with two dominant pass rushers that could attack the quarterback on every snap.

Clowney tallied 162 tackles his senior year of high school. Over 29 of those tackles were sacks, forced 11 fumbles and he recovered six fumbles.

Rare for a defensive player, he scored five defensive touchdowns, while leading his Stallions to a 13–2 record. listed him as the number one college football prospect in the nation.

After a fabulous sophomore year, critics thought his junior season was subpar at best after suffering a rib injury.

Granted, NFL franchises are not worried about his injury or his high school statistics. They are looking at his college development and combine workouts.

After a recent transaction, it looks as though Houston may strengthen their offense instead of their defense.

On March 21, Houston traded Matt Schaub, who started at quarterback, to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth round pick.

Historically, quarterbacks have proven to be the prime focus for the number one pick. In the last 16 years, 12 quarterbacks were drafted as the first overall.

In the middle of January, Mel Kiper announced Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as the first pick in earlier mock drafts, according to ESPN.

Arguably the most entertaining college football player, Manziel sits high atop draft boards. He used an unconventional approach with his uncanny scrambling ability to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Yet, the top quarterback prospect is Teddy Bridgewater of the University of Louisville.

According to Bleacher Report, Bridgewater will be the first quarterback off the board, followed by Blake Bortles, a prospect from the University of Central Florida.

There is no denying Bridgewater’s talent, but will he really be the first quarterback taken overall?

Chris Barnette ’08, assistant football coach and offensive coordinator, said that Bridgewater fits the standards of the best quarterback in the draft.

“Teddy has a good head on his shoulders,” said Barnette. “But, the quarterback that will put people in the stands is Manziel because he is an exciting player to watch.”

With the exception of this year, the Texans normally do not lack attendance.

The Texans should choose a quarterback that will have longevity down the road, and Manziel does not quite fit this mold.

For instance, take a look at Robert Griffin, the Washington Redskins’ quarterback. He moves well out of the pocket, yet still managed to tear his ACL while scrambling during his rookie season.

University of Central Florida quarterback, Blake Bortles possesses first overall potential due to his 6 foot 5 inches and 232 pound frame — practically a replica of Andrew Luck.

One issue is that he has years to go before contributing as an elite performer like Luck.

As of now, the first pick in the draft is up in the air. It could easily be Clowney, Manziel, Bridgewater or Bortles out of the picture.

The Radio City Music Hall in New York will host the draft on May 8.

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