The Houston Texans apparently know who they would like to take with the No. 1 overall pick, but that's assuming they keep it. The organization has rumored to be looking to trade down for some time, with the Atlanta Falcons being the most-rumored trade partner. However, the Buffalo Bills may also be readying a run at the No. 1 pick in hopes of acquiring of Jadeveon Clowney, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
The Atlanta Falcons remain a team to watch after meeting with Clowney twice in the last two weeks. A potential sleeper in the mix? The Buffalo Bills, who, according to Rapoport, may attempt to move up from No. 9.
Easier said than done, of course. The clear understanding is that any team that wants to get to No. 1 will have to pay dearly for it.
The Bills would have to move up from the No. 9 overall pick, meaning they would have to offer something much heftier than the dowry that the Texans reportedly requested from the Falcons. Clowney may be a once-in-a-generation talent, however, and he'd look good opposite Mario Williams.
Kony Ealy, defensive tackle
Kony Ealy is projected by some to be a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, though others (like retired NFL defensive end Stephen White) are less enthralled by his prospects. Rapoport pointed out a potential reason for the disparity in evaluations about the Missouri product:
One factor that may get #Mizzou DL Kony Ealy drafted higher than people think: I hear some teams want to put 15 lbs on him and make him a DT— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 2, 2014
Ealy checked in at the NFL Combine at 6'4, 273 pounds, so an extra 15 would put him around the 300-pound mark, perfect for a 3-4 defensive end or a three-technique defensive tackle. According to Rapoport, Ealy's potential on the interior defensive line could draw the eyes of the New York Giants (No. 12), St. Louis Rams (No. 2, 13), Chicago Bears (No. 14) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 16).
Schefter: Don't rule out Khalil Mack at No. 1
Speaking on SportsCenter on Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter threw out a curveball, saying, "I do not believe Khalil Mack can be dismissed from the conversation at the No. 1 pick." The Texans reportedly know who they would like to take, and rumors have thus far centered on Clowney and quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Mack is a consensus top-five pick, so it's not a stretch to believe he could go No. 1 overall. White described him as one of the more polished players in the draft:
Mack is very athletic, almost like a basketball player on the field, the way he changes speeds, stops and starts, and the way he changes direction. You won't see much, if any wasted motion, whether he is dropping into a zone, playing the run or rushing the passer. Even his power rushes look damn near effortless, as much as running over a guy can look effortless.
Mack may not have the stratospheric ceiling of Clowney, but then again the Texans already have an all-world defensive end in J.J. Watt. Mack may be a better fit for Romeo Crennel's defense as an outside linebacker, and the team wouldn't have to worry about overlapping talents.
Rams serious about Manziel at No. 2
The Rams made a recent visit to college station to work out the Manziel, along with offensive tackle Jake Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the team may be most interested in the quarterback.
Chris Mortensen on #Rams flirtations with Manziel: "I believe their interest is serious. There are ppl who believe they could take him @ 2."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 2, 2014
On Thursday, reports indicated that the Rams would not hesitate to put Sam Bradford on the trading block if they were to draft a quarterback. Manziel may be their pick of a talented litter, presuming the Texans don't snatch him up first. If that happens, Matthews or Evans (see below) would be nice consolation prizes. There's no question that Manziel would have the most immediate and drastic impact on what was a stagnant offense in 2013, however.
Dominique Easley drawing interest from Pats at end of 1st round
Dominique Easley was considered a likely top-10 draft pick at one point during his Florida career, but serious injuries to both knees -- most recently, a torn ACL this past September -- sapped him of a lot of his draft hype. However, that doesn't mean he'll be falling past Day 1.
According to the NESN report, the New England Patriots are very interested in snatching up the defensive tackle at No. 29 overall, but that's assuming he falls that far. The Bears and the Cowboys own mid-round picks and are in need of interior help. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks pick after the Pats but could look to trade up to acquire one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in this year's class.
Easley is riding high off a strong pro day last month.
Rams working out Mike Evans
The Rams have more work to do than most to prepare for Day 1 of the NFL Draft, owning the No. 2 and No. 13 overall picks. It's almost a certainty at this point that they'll be targeting a wide receiver with one of their two picks, and the team seems to have a lot of interest in Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans, setting up a visit with him Friday.
Evans seems to be the consensus best receiver available after Sammy Watkins. He'd make a big difference on a team in desperate need of pass catchers. Unfortunately for the Rams, he is projected to fall smack in the middle of their first two picks. Evans is mocked to go No. 7 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in SB Nation's latest mock draft, which means that the Rams would have to reach for him at No. 2 or trade up from No. 13 to acquire him.