Your Houston Texans have had the “honor” of picking first in the NFL Draft three times in their history. Yesterday, Elliot Harrison of NFL.com ranked the top fifty first overall picks in the NFL Draft. To say you might be surprised by Harrison’s analysis, particularly when it comes to David Carr, Mario Williams, and Jadeveon Clowney, would be a gross understatement.
Peyton Manning was the clear number one on the list. No surprise there. In fact, no active players were ranked in the Top 10. The first active player listed was Eli Manning at #12. Matthew Stafford ranked #15, which is surprising because Brock Osweiler has more playoff wins than Stafford, but to each their own.
Mario Williams is the first Texan listed at #24, which is exactly where I believe he should be. Despite dropping off in the last couple of seasons, Super Mario has had an incredible career. He lived up to his first overall pick designation. He was definitely not a bust, especially when compared with the other popular options at the time (Reggie Bush and Vince Young).
Despite Harrison getting Mario right, he blew it elsewhere. David Carr, an unequivocal bust, is the second Texan on this list at #36, ahead of Jadeveon Clowney, who came in at #39. Clowney being ranked so low is stunning; given Clowney’s excellent 2016 campaign, it looks like recency bias certainly didn’t play a part in Harrison’s thought process. Here is what he wrote about Clowney:
If last season was any indication of Jadeveon Clowney's potential, then he should climb rather quickly up this list. He's at No. 39 mostly because of a career filled with as much injury as promise. That said, Clowney made my All-Under 25 Team due to the huge step forward he took when J.J. Watt was no longer available to the team, as well as the flexibility he allows Romeo Crennel to move him around.
The puzzling part about this is that Clowney did flash promise over his first three years. Carr never flashed the same type of promise at any point of his career. Of course, Carr does work for the NFL Network, so he probably gets more credit than he deserves.
It also bears noting that all of the last five first-overall picks are listed in the second half on this list. Andrew Luck is ranked at #26, one behind Alex Smith. Smith’s teammate Eric Fisher is at #42, despite also showing some progress last season. Jameis Winston is at #35, one ahead of Carr. Jared Goff is ranked dead last, probably because he’s Jared Goff.
The young guys, especially Clowney, didn't get a lot of love on this list. Does Clowney still have something to prove? Do you believe he has lived up to that consensus #1 draft profile from three years ago?