Posted on August 31, 2019, by Travis Pulver
A lot of responsibility comes with having the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The team with it is practically guaranteed to get someone that can contribute right away. However, you don’t just want a contributor; you want the best player in college football with the No. 1 pick. You want a guy that can become a cornerstone for your franchise.
But the Houston Texans may need to take a different approach should they have the No. 1 pick again in the foreseeable future. They are either going to pick the wrong guy, fail to take care of him, or fail to hold on to him.
Taking David Carr with the first pick was not a bad idea, but they failed to give him an adequate offensive line, and he was pummeled throughout his time in Houston. They surprised fans when they took Mario Williams in 2006. He turned out to be a really good player, but then they didn’t want to pay him what he was worth (injury concerns) and let him walk.
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It appears (according to several media reports) that they are sending their latest No. 1 pick, Jadeveon Clowney, to the Seattle Seahawks via trade. In return, they will get a third-round pick next year, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo and LB Jacob Martin.
For a former No. 1 pick who has played well when not dealing with injuries, they get a third-round pick, a guy the Seahawks were probably going to cut, and a guy who will play special teams and provide the defense with a little depth.
Clowney had been holding out in hopes of signing a long-term deal. But when the franchise tag deadline came and went without an offer he liked, he continued to holdout. However, he had said he was going to sign the franchise tag and report after the third preseason game. But when media reports began talking about how the Texans were shopping him around, he decided to stay away.
In dire need of help on the offensive line, the Texans tried to acquire Laremy Tunsil from the Miami Dolphins but were denied.
The Texans have been a defensive-driven team in recent years. When they selected Clowney, fans had visions of a fierce front seven dominating the league featuring Clowney, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus, but injuries to all three at various times made it hard to get them on the field together.
So—what happened with his contract talks? From what head coach Bill O’Brien said prior to the trade, it sounds like Clowney thought his value was more significant than the Texans did (via ESPN):
“It’s a matter of a difference of opinion in value relative to the contract. So that’s really where it’s at. It has nothing to do with want. … And again, until he signs the tender, we really don’t have a whole lot to talk about.”
He’s signing his tender now—but so he can get out of town and join his new team.
The Texans defense should be just fine without him. But if Watt or Mercilus miss time due to injuries again, the unit may suffer.