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Report: Texans might like Khalil Mack more than Jadeveon Clowney

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro Days | Top free agents

More than two weeks remain until the 2014 NFL Draft and there's still no clear idea of what the Texans might do with the No. 1 overall pick. They might take a quarterback unless they think South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's talent trumps the risk of grabbing a QB.

But Clowney might not even be their top defensive option: TheMMQB's Peter King reports that Rick Smith, the Texans GM, might prefer Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack over Clowney.

"One FORS (Friend of Rick Smith) told me the Texans general manager likes Khalil Mack over Clowney, and we still don't know which quarterback Houston would choose if it chooses one first overall," King writes Monday.

It's not that outrageous an idea, really. Clowney is a once-in-a-generation talent on the defensive side of the ball (really, a once-in-a-generation athlete is more accurate). But he's not a 100 percent guarantee as a superstar. He's close, but no one is a lock. And Mack could rival him as a defensive player at the next level.

In terms of getting after the passer and becoming as an all-around linebacking force, Mack projects very well to the NFL. And Mack -- at least versus Clowney -- might be a better fit for the Texans.

Then there's this: CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco reported Monday morning about "rumblings around the league" of the Texans wanting to trade out of the top spot.

"There are rumblings around the league now that the Houston Texans, with the first pick, are looking to move out of that spot," Prisco writes. "So who wants to go up? How about the Atlanta Falcons or Buffalo Bills with an eye on Clowney?"

Pete also notes the Texans could then try and grab someone like Mack with a later pick.

This might explain why there hasn't been as much heat featuring a quarterback to Houston. If everyone thinks they're going quarterback, then it's the Rams at No. 2 with the leverage to trade their selection for Clowney.

Smith needs the world thinking that either Clowney -- or Mack -- won't make it out of the top spot. That's the current perception so he's doing an alright job.

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