This is my first 2014 Mock Draft, which should be followed by about 5 others in the near future. I wanted to make sure I submitted this mock for review by the time the NFL Combine began. I understand not everybody will like this approach, but I thought it was an awesome direction to take with O’Brien at the helm of the team, for his first year. Round 1) Jadaveon Clowney (DE) South Carolina- I am taking Clowney with the #1 pick based on how high his ceiling is, mixed with the ability to pair him on the same field as JJ Watt. I don’t appreciate how out of shape he entered the 2013 football season, furthermore I don’t approve of him ‘taking plays off’. I believe he should have sold himself during this last football season. Clowney has the athleticism that coaches and scouts rave about, and potentially could be a 10+ sack artist alongside JJ Watt. I decided to take Clowney over one of the top quarterbacks , because I think he helps us win the division soon and regularly. The best way to beat Andrew Luck is to stop Andrew Luck. Having Clowney creates a pass rush and versatility we lacked last season. Clowney could either work on his skills at 3-4 OLB or as the DE across from Watt. Potentially even playing NT on passing downs. I hope Houston takes the same approach they did when the brass chose Mario Williams over VY and Reggie Bush. Round 2) Kyle Van Noy (OLB) BYU- I have seen Van Noy mocked as early as 10 and late as 40. Im hoping he falls to the Texans with their second round pick. This pick allows Clowney to begin working as the DE across from Watt, and potentially giving Brooks Reed the switch to ILB where he can continue to stop the run without being exposed on passing downs. Van Noy has a track record of producing sacks, and still being able to set an edge against the run. Van Noy is extremely athletic, showing the ability to rotate his hips and cover in space. I’m hoping his combine stats prove my analysis correct. Round 3) Zac Mettenburger (QB) LSU – Mettenberger may not be an immediate franchise QB fans are clamoring for , but he has the tools to be a successful QB in the league. He needs to reign in his cannon of an arm and secure the characteristic of accuracy. Mettenberger has shown growth over that last two seasons by improving his decision making and said accuracy; Mettenberger did so with the tutelage of Cam Cameron. If he can improve with Cameron, I am excited to see what I can do with Bill O’Brien as the general. The only LSU game I saw in entirety was the early 2013 game vs Georgia. I haven’t reviewed that game since, but I was left liking what I saw from Mettenberger. Mettenberger physically matches O’Brien quarterbacks of the past. (stereotype). Round 4) Juwaun James (ROT) Tennessee – I battled taking Van Noy in the second round versus Jack Mewhort (ROT – Ohio State). I ultimately chose Van Noy because I believe there is a bigger drop off in talent between Van Noy and the OLB we could select in later rounds, and Mewhort and James. James is a typical right tackle on the offensive line. James is a large man at 6’6” and 315 lbs. At that size he still has a good slide step without losing power. He has good bend, and plays to the whistle. His weakness is against speed rushers, which I saw in the game versus Missouri. He will put his head down against the blitz, as he tries to lower his huge body to make the block. That move allows the swim move and speed to beat him. Working against speed rushers is something he can work on at the NFL level, and he is an immediate upgrade over Derek Newton. I don’t know how Brennan Williams looks after his surgery; I planned on addressing the offensive line in this mock draft. Round 5) Kenny Laddler (FS) Vanderbilt – Ladler was one of the top free safeties in the NCAA this year. He was second in tackles for his position in the SEC, while still counting for 5 interceptions. Laddler offers Houston an upgrade at FS, by giving us the ability to cover ‘over the top’ but not losing his ability to tackle. So many safeties gain popularity by being able to tackle in the box, but they lose the ability to cover in space. Ladler is our free safety of the future, and makes Daniel Manning expendable. Round 6) Ryan Carethers – (DT) Arkansas State – Carethers was ‘All Sun Belt’ first team as a DT. Carethers tallied 87 tackls as a 330lb interior defensive lineman. Carethers can take on double teams and stonewall the interior of an O-line , allowing our LB’s to make plays. I am curious to see what his bench press will look like, as well as the drills to show his explosion, at the combine. After the combine, he might not be available with this pick. Round 7) Justin Britt – (ROT) Missouri – Britt is a solid option in the 7th round as a backup OT. He has the ability to take over for Ryan Harris with the swing tackle position. He isn’t the strongest offensive tackle in the draft, but a year of an NFL weight room and training program will help. He is one year removed from an ACL tear, but played the entire 2013 season as the starting left tackle for Mizz. He did extremely well against the SEC defenses he faced, and will be an asset on the Texans line. Drafting Britt gives us the option to move Newton inside to backup the guard position for Brooks/Quessenberry. I have a feeling the Texans will get one compensation pick in the 7th round. With this pick I would hope Houston pulls the trigger on Isaiah Crowell from Alabama Southern. Crowell, a Georgia transfer, has a checkered history with a dropped gun charge on his criminal record. Crowell is an explosive runner who has shown the ability to pass block and be a receiver out of the backfield. Crowell fits the mold of O’Brien running backs.