With the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select ...
That's essentially the sentence we asked several NFL Hall of Famers to complete during last weekend's Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest in Cleveland, and the answers came fast and furious. Johnny Manziel? Jadeveon Clowney? Several Hall of Famers made compelling cases for each and even threw in a couple of wild-card picks.
While some voiced strong opinions regarding their preferences, others weren't so sure because to them, none of the players in the 2014 draft class really stood out as can't-miss prospects. Some of the choices came with an obvious bias, which was the case when Bruce Matthews was asked who he'd take No. 1.
"Jake Matthews, Texas A&M," Bruce Matthews said of his son. "He's ready to roll."
Predictably, Manziel and Clowney received the majority of the votes from the Hall of Famers, but players such as Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles and Clemson's Sammy Watkins weren't left out of the conversation.
Former New York Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson would deal the choice.
"I would trade that No. 1 pick and I would get the five meanest, nastiest SOBs that I could find to play on the offensive line," he said.
Former Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famer Chris Doleman would take neither Manziel nor Clowney with the first pick, but if he had to, he would take Clowney and trade him.
"Manziel's situation is that his offseason antics, where he goes back to the 'I'm young' card, 'I'm just trying' card. That's not what this league is built on," Doleman said. "Unless you're going to change your whole offense where you're going to have this loose cannon of a quarterback running around trying to make plays, then he's not really much good to you.
"What he doesn't understand, Manziel, is there are defensive linemen who are just as fast -- if not faster -- than he is. And he's not a big guy. They're going to come and knock your head off. They've got kids to feed. It's not like it's just fun for them. These guys are coming after you. ... Once you leave the pocket, you're free game. You don't have the protection of the tackles anymore. That's where the GMs have to sit back and say, it can literally be one play and he's done. They're going to be bringing it. I know if I was out there on the field with him, I'm going to be bringing it."
And Doleman has problems with Clowney's work ethic.
Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson likes Manziel's confidence. Or does he?
"From what I understand, he says he's supposed to go up there first, overall," Dawson said. "It shows he's got an ego, which is good. You have to think you're good if you're coming into professional football. He's a wonderful player, a very exciting player who can do a lot of things very, very well. His attitude, maybe he ought to quiet down a little bit, and have success at professional football before you tell everybody what you're going to do. Talk is cheap. It takes money to buy whiskey; that's what my old teammates used to tell me. Go out and do it, but you don't talk about it. Just go do it."