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Jadeveon Clowney expects to be top pick of NFL Draft; Can Cowboys resist Johnny Manziel?

Posted May 8, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff.

Jadeveon Clowney, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Johnny Manziel

At least one person seems to believe he has the answer to the No. 1 burning question of the 2014 NFL Draft.

And that question, which has caused more guesswork among analysts than before any draft in recent memory, is: who will the Houston Texans select at No. 1?

Jadeveon Clowney … or, so says Jadeveon Clowney.

“I don’t think they’re going to pass (on me),” the South Carolina defensive end was quoted as saying in the Houston Chronicle.

It has been speculated in multiple places that the Texans would, instead, go with University at Buffalo linebacker Kahlil Mack. It also has been speculated that the Texans would trade the pick to a team that might decide to choose someone other than Clowney, like, say, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Questions about Clowney’s work ethic and the significant slump he experienced in 2013 after being such a dominant player in 2012 are possible reasons the Texans would pass on him. And if that were to happen, Clowney vowed to make the Texans regret it through his performance – especially whenever he would have the chance to face the Texans.

“If I have to (go) No. 2, I’m going to be upset,” he said. “I’m going to have to do something about it.”

One of the things Clowney could do is live up to the favorable comparisons that some observers have made between him and former New York Giants great Lawrence Taylor. Last month, Carl Banks, one of Taylor’s former teammates, took exception to any suggestion that Clowney and Taylor be mentioned in the same sentence.

But Clowney can see himself performing to that incredibly lofty level within the confine of NFL rules that are much stricter about what defenders are allowed to do than when Taylor played.

“I think I can do what (Taylor) did – run around a lot of guys, make a lot of plays, even though you can’t hit like they were hitting back then,” Clowney was quoted as saying on NJ.com. “I watched him do some hits and he was trying to kill people, take their heads off. You can’t hit like that no more, so you have to do it the right way.”

NFL NETWORK ANALYST: JERRY JONES WON’T BE ABLE TO PASS UP JOHNNY MANZIEL

Jerry Jones is on record as saying that he has no plans to draft Johnny Manziel.

The Dallas Cowboys’ owner and general manager has voiced support for his current quarterback, Tony Romo, who is 34 and recovering from back surgery.

The Cowboys also have the 16th overall pick of the draft, which could be too low to grab Manziel if the projections of multiple analysts that he will be taken in the top five are true. Nevertheless, there is always the chance the former Aggies star could fall that far.

If he does, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is convinced the Cowboys will grab him.

“It’s Jerry’s world,” Mayock said on NFL Network. “Can Jerry Jones, and that whole Barnum & Bailey thing, pass this up? I don’t believe so. I don’t think Jerry can help himself. That simple.”

Mayock said that, even if the Cowboys choose Manziel, Romo would remain their starting quarterback. But he would expect Johnny Football to see his share of action as a rookie.

“I think there’d be a ‘Manziel Package’ from Day One,” Mayock said. “There’d be some of the zone-read stuff.”

TEXANS REPORTEDLY PUT A VERY STEEP PRICE ON TOP OVERALL PICK

If a team is interested in acquiring the top overall pick of the draft from the Houston Texans, it can figure on paying a price established in 2012. And it won’t be any more of a bargain today than it was then.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are using a standard set by the St. Louis Rams two years ago when they swapped first-round picks with the Washington Redskins and received a second-round selection and two future first-rounders in exchange for the No. 2 overall choice that the Redskins used for quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The Chronicle reports that the Texans want a swap first-round picks, a first- and second-round pick in this year’s draft, plus a first-round choice in 2015.

If that’s accurate, it would mean the only clubs capable of making such a deal are the Rams and the Cleveland Browns, because they’re the only ones with multiple first-round selections this year. Given that the Rams pick second and the Browns pick fourth, it would seem unlikely that either team would want to give up so much for so short a climb.

ROGER GOODELL SAYS STAGING NFL DRAFT IN MAY IS ‘BENEFICIAL’

Although the NFL blamed a scheduling conflict with Radio City Music Hall for moving the draft from its usual late-April spot to early May, the circumstance, as many observers believed, provided the league with an opportunity to see whether it was better off with the later date.

Despite what many around the NFL have characterized as negative feedback from clubs, media, and fans, the draft might very well stay in May.

“The later time period is actually beneficial in some ways,” Commissioner Roger Goodell told the New York Post.  “It’s obviously an anxious time for the players, the teams and the fans. They want to get moving. But there have been some real pluses, and we’ll have to evaluate that.

“A number of our coaches have praised it, too, because it gave them a chance to spend time with their current players and make some determinations about what’s the right place to go in the draft. So there’s some real value to it.”

>>This Road to the Draft feature is driven by Liberty Ford.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.

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