We learned earlier today that the Texans would be hosting Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack sometime next week. However, that visit appears to be more than due diligence on Houston’s part. According to Brent Sobleski of USA Today, Mack is a “legitimate candidate” for the Texans’ No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Given that the quarterbacks who might make sense with the No. 1 pick each come with some red flags, and given the concerns surrounding Jadeveon Clowney‘s work ethic and lack of production in 2013, the fates might be aligning for Mack to hear his name called first when the draft opens on May 8.
Mack performed at an elite level at the combine, finishing among the top five linebackers in four of the six drills in which he participated, and he would also fit seamlessly into Houston’s 3-4 scheme. And although he played at a relatively small football program, there was nothing small about his production. Mack recorded 75 tackles for loss during his career in Buffalo, along with 28.5 sacks and 16 forced fumbles.
Although the Texans would be taking something of a PR risk should they opt for Mack with the first pick–much as they did when they chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in 2006–his track record, the position he plays, and the level at which he plays it have forced him into the conversation along with the likes of Clowney, Johnny Manziel, and Blake Bortles.