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Texans locked, loaded with top pick

The SportsXchange

Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith knows exactly what he intends to do with the No. 1 overall pick when the team is officially on the clock next Thursday to open the 2014 NFL Draft in New York.

Just in case a tremor of a trade offer comes down the pike, Smith will keep the identity of the player the Texans covet to himself for the time being.

"I absolutely know who I want," Smith said.

Sports Xchange contributor John McClain reported Wednesday that Houston was down to two possibilities at No. 1: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and state-grown quarterback Johnny Manziel.

There is also the option of selling the pick to the highest bidder. Even if the Texans draft a player, Smith could do so with the intent to unload that prospect to the highest bidder. Jacksonville, which drafts third overall, Cleveland (fourth), Oakland (fifth) and Atlanta (sixth) are all thought to hold some level of interest in Clowney or Manziel.

"Where the game is played is if there's an opportunity to move and, in this case, obviously to move back if somebody else wants to come up to that first pick," Smith said. "Then you weigh what the opportunities are versus who the individual is that you want to take and what that value is relative to the value that somebody might be offering you."

The Texans hosted Clowney and Manziel on the same date -- April 21 -- at team headquarters.

Houston holds 11 total picks and McClain said the top pick would come at the steepest of prices -- a first-, second-, and fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft and a first-rounder next year.

One known need for the Texans is quarterback. If Houston passes on Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater at No. 1, O'Brien could push to trade back into the first round to get a future franchise quarterback. Houston also picks 33rd overall.

Drafting a quarterback in the first round comes with a higher salary slot but also the advantage of a fifth-year team option.

In the second round, players receive four-year deals with no option but annual salaries are less than $1 million.
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