The option of a trade also enters into the debate. The Texans could try to entice the Atlanta Falcons to move up from No. 6. Clowney could be a beast rushing the quarterback in the Georgia Dome, gaining an extra half step with the crowd noise. Even if they trade back to No. 6, the Texans might still be able to get Manziel or Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. If the three top quarterbacks go before the sixth pick, the Texans would have enough draft choices to trade up in the bottom of the second round to take somebody from the second tier of quarterbacks, such as AJ McCarron, Jimmy Garoppolo or Derek Carr.
3. The Clowney question: Clowney lived up to his reputation at the combine. He posted a 4.53 40 time along with exceptional numbers for explosion. Clowney also left questions in the minds of coaches and general managers by doing only the drills he wanted to do. For a player whose intensity and dedication are questioned because of his last year at South Carolina, Clowney may scare away some teams. But those teams might be overthinking. For pure talent, Clowney might be somewhere between Julius Peppers and Mario Williams, but pass-rushers as talented as him come along at the top of the draft maybe once in every five to 10 years.
Clowney also is the first of a group of underclassmen who might be saving themselves for the pros. Last year, he watched expected first-round running back and teammate Marcus Lattimore blow out his knee and drop out of the first round. The rules require a player to stay in college for at least three years (which could include a redshirt season). The new collective bargaining agreement doesn't reward great players until their fifth NFL season. Others might be as cautious as Clowney in the future. This is why I'm thinking he might end up being the first pick in the draft whether it's by Houston or another team.
4. The lack of depth will raise the stock of the top QBs: From watching the quarterbacks who threw Sunday, I came away with the thought that only six of them merited high consideration. This isn't a knock on Zach Mettenberger of LSU or Aaron Murray of Georgia, but both are coming off ACL injuries. Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech and Tajh Boyd of Clemson need a lot of work to be ready for playing time in the NFL based on the way they threw over the weekend. Thus, if you need a quarterback in the draft, you've got to get him in the first two rounds.
The top six -- not in any order -- are Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles, McCarron, Garoppolo and Carr. Even though he didn't work out, Bridgewater appears to have the edge on Manziel and Bortles. Bortles needs coaching for his footwork, and that might keep him from being a Week 1 starter. The feel coming out of Indianapolis is that Manziel could go to Cleveland at No. 4, with Bridgewater going to Houston or at No. 3 to Jacksonville and Bortles being a great fallback for the next team that wants a first-round quarterback.
5. This receiver class will hurt free agents at the position: With Hakeem Nicks being a slight question mark coming off two years in which he struggled with injuries, there are no great receivers in free agency. Last year it was easy to see Mike Wallace was going to get the most money. He was a No. 1 receiver with speed. Most of the free-agent receivers this year fit more into the slot.