Texans coach Bill O'Brien open to Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney
Bill O'Brien and the Houston Texans are keeping "all options open" for the No. 1 overall pick. That includes Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who were defended by O'Brien on Tuesday.
Head coach Bill O'Brien will attend Johnny Manziel's pro day workout Thursday, but the Houston Texans expect to be no closer to determining what to do with the No. 1 overall pick in the May 8 draft.
"All options are open. What is it the end of March? We still have a lot of time. You go back and do re-checks," O'Brien said Tuesday morning. "What fun would it be if you already knew who you were going to pick?"
The Texans and O'Brien, whose background is offense and specifically the quarterback position, are closely evaluating as many as a dozen prospects. O'Brien made it clear the franchise is breaking down players through its own lens, not with the idea that a so-called Big Three exists at that position. Manziel, UCF's Blake Bortles and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater are the top three quarterbacks in NFLDraftScout.com's rankings, but Houston worked out Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) and will invite several others to the team facility next month.
"I can see the strengths and weaknesses with every one of these guys," O'Brien said. "I don't see where there's one or two or three guys that are light years ahead of the rest of these guys. (Alabama's AJ) McCarron and (LSU's Zach) Mettenberger and Johnny played in the SEC. They won a lot of games. They might have done something right."
Texans owner and South Carolina alumnus Bob McNair said in January that Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be under consideration with the top pick. Clowney, a rare athlete for his size at 6-5, 265, could play right outside linebacker in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense with the Texans. That would be an epic strain for offensive linemen already contending with defensive end J.J. Watt on the left side. O'Brien said there is no concern over Clowney's work ethic, which has been dogged by media and slighted by college coach Steve Spurrier.
"You try to find me a guy who plays 90 plays life-on-the-line every game," O'Brien said. "When the game is on the line, he plays hard. He's an explosive player. He's a productive player. He's an instinctive player. I think it's been blown out of proportion. At the same time, we have to get to know him and keep getting to know him."
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said Monday that he believes Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater are all likely going to need to sit as rookies before they are truly ready to play. That isn't the norm in today's NFL, where second-year quarterback Russell Wilson won the Super Bowl in February in his 35th career start.
Like Wilson, a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, size is kicked around as a knock on Manziel, who is 5-11, 200. He won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman in 2012 with a reckless abandon that prompts concern from some scouts. O'Brien said Manziel's success is not fleeting.
"If you watch the Ole Miss game, he might have hurt his ankle early on and he came back. And he threw from the pocket in that game. If you watch him, he's going to be able to do a lot of different things. So, yeah, I think he's sustainable."
Manziel might take shots with his aggressive playing style and O'Brien seemed to be taking one regarding his Thursday sideshow in College Station.
Will the Texans be able to work him out this week?
"I don't think so. He's got his Johnny Day," O'Brien said.
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