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Texans owner calls Clowney 'best in the draft'

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 04 2014 01:44:51 PM MDT
Updated On: May 05 2014 08:30:43 AM MDT
Jadeveon Clowney, Jeff Driskell, 2012

Steve Nesius/Reuters

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair called South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney "obviously the best player" as his team with the No. 1 overall pick prepares for this week's 2014 NFL Draft.

McNair's comments follow what general manager Rick Smith said last week that he knows exactly what he intends to do with the top pick when Houston is officially on the clock Thursday to open the draft in New York.

"Really at this point we don't know and we really won't know until right up at the time we have to make a decision because people are talking to us about the possibility of trading down and it's a question of what people offer, whether their offer is such that it's worthwhile to trade down," McNair told Fox 26 in Houston on Friday.

"You take a guy like Jadeveon Clowney. He's obviously the best player in the draft, but he's a defensive end. He's not a quarterback. If he's a quarterback and the best player it's easy, but that's not the case. So can that defensive player have a greater impact on the success of your team than one of these quarterbacks? It's not a sure thing that he is.

"You got three quarterbacks and all of them have some holes in their resume. A quarterback that goes out and performs for you and is a franchise quarterback is more valuable than a player playing another position, but there's a lot more risk there. It's a more difficult position to play and there are lot more failures."

Just in case a tremor of a trade offer comes along, Smith said he will keep the identity of the player the Texans covet to himself for the time being.

"I absolutely know who I want," Smith said.

Sports Xchange contributor John McClain reported last week that Houston was down to two possibilities at No. 1: Clowney and state-grown quarterback Johnny Manziel.

There is also the option of selling the pick to the highest bidder. Even if the Texans draft a player, Smith could do so with the intent to unload that prospect to the highest bidder. Jacksonville, which drafts third overall, Cleveland (fourth), Oakland (fifth) and Atlanta (sixth) are all thought to hold some level of interest in Clowney or Manziel.

The Texans hosted Clowney and Manziel on the same date -- April 21 -- at team headquarters.

Houston holds 11 total picks and McClain said the top pick would come at the steepest of prices -- a first-, second-, and fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft and a first-rounder next year.