The organization may not have run the defensive end through any drills, but the meeting in South Carolina has done an excellent job of drumming up rumors that the Houston Texans are considering a trade out of the No. 1 overall pick so that another team can have a shot at Clowney. The Falcons, who select No. 6 overall this year, have been reported as the most likely partner, and the meeting seemingly corroborates that notion.
However, nothing has ever been certain as it pertains to NFL Draft rumors, and the extra three weeks of prep time are driving us all mad. How likely are the Texans to work out a trade? Tough to say, but the Falcons wouldn't be working out Clowney if they didn't think they could trade up. One would be hard-pressed to find a mock draft that has him falling out of the top five picks in the draft.
NFL Mock Draft
If talks are ongoing between the Texans and the Falcons, the biggest obstacle will be proper compensation for Houston. What's fair is, again, unclear. Blockbuster trades at the top of the draft order aren't uncommon, but they normally involve teams trading up for franchise quarterbacks. Further complicating matters, perhaps, is the rookie pay scale, which has curbed spending on top-flight prospects under the new collective bargaining agreement, and could prompt the Texans to demand more from their trade partner, who won't taking on a great hit to the salary cap by moving up. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the No. 1 overall pick will cost $4.03 million per season compared to $2.97 million for the No. 6 pick.
Per Werder, the Texan's asking price could look something like this:
If that's the case, the Texans are asking a lot relative to past seasons. Here's what the last 10 years of teams trading within the top-five has looked like:
Oakland traded No. 3 overall pick to Miami (DE Dion Jordan) for No. 12 and No. 42
St. Louis traded No. 2 overall pick to Washington (QB Robert Griffin III) for No. 6 and No. 39, and first-rounders in 2013 and 2014
Minnesota traded No. 3 overall pick to Cleveland (RB Trent Richardson) for No. 4, No. 118, No. 139 and No. 211
Chicago trades No. 4 overall pick to Jets (DT Dewayne Robertson) for No. 13, No. 22 and No. 116
The Dolphins' trade up to the No. 3 overall spot last season set a relevant precedent. They jumped up nine spots from No. 12, and only had to give up a second-round pick for a player who plays a similar position as Clowney. Jordan isn't considered a once-in-a-generation talent, however, and the Raiders had their hearts set on D.J. Hayden, a player they were confident would be available at No. 12.
It seems unlikely that Clowney would demand the same fortune as RG3, though the proposal that Werder is reporting falls just one first-round pick short. Then again, Clowney's camp is apparently satisfied with the attention he has received, enough to hold him out of workouts.
Where there's smoke ...