Blake Bortles

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles (5) runs past Connecticut defensive end Tim Willman, left, for a 16-yard gain during the first half of an Oct. 26 game in Orlando, Fla. With a record 102 underclassmen declaring for this NFL draft, the depth of talent is obvious. Quarterbacks are no exception, with a trio of potential top-10 picks available and another half-dozen or so prospects projected as viable mid-round options.

John Raoux | AP

Remember how you felt once you landed that first job out of college? 

Well, that’s going to happen to 32 future NFL players when the first round of the NFL draft begins Thursday in New York.

But for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, their future should not include either Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney.

The Texas teams would be wise to go another direction with their first-round draft picks and here are, in my opinion as a life-long doomed Cowboys fan and indifferent Texans viewer, the best opening-round options for both teams.

Texans: Blake Bortles, quarterback, Central Florida

The Texans have the No. 1 overall pick and they could do one of two things: trade down or keep it.

Either way, Houston can’t miss out on the chance to select Blake Bortles.

Franchise quarterbacks don’t come around often, and while the Texans were wasting their time with David Carr and Matt Schaub, Aaron Rogers was passed on and Houston traded a pick to Baltimore that the Ravens eventually used to get Joe Flacco.

Bortles threw for more than 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns with only 16 interceptions in 27 starts.

He helped Central Florida beat Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl while earning MVP honors.

At 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, Bortles has the size to brush off an initial pass rush and is athletic enough to extend plays. He also possesses a huge arm, but is surprisingly accurate on short and intermediate throws.

Though he has struggled in cold-weather games, I haven’t seen a lot of blizzards in Houston.

If there are, Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof and he will play his AFC South road games in warm-weather cities or indoors.

Bortles will also have one of the best wide receivers in the league in Andre Johnson and an established running back in Arian Foster.

Manziel is the crowd favorite and has made plenty of highlight plays, but unlike another vertically-challenged passer in Drew Brees, Manziel’s first tendency is to run.

That plays right into NFL defensive coordinators. Plus mobile quarterbacks tend to get injured more often, think Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III.

Clowney could have come back with a vengeance in 2013, helped South Carolina contend for the Southeastern Conference title and put to rest any doubt that he is the top college prospect.

Instead he took plays off and didn’t strain himself.

On one hand, I understand not wanting to injure himself and leave money on the table, but football is the best team game ever devised by mankind.

Do you really want a player with that selfish tendency on the team? And how is he going to act once he gets millions of dollars?

The ideal situation for the Texans involves them finding a willing trade partner, go a few spots down and get another first to go along with a later round pick. That way you get Bortles a little cheaper and get some more talent around him.

Cowboys: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, free safety, Alabama

The Cowboys have been stuck at 8-8 for years now and one of the reasons for the mediocrity in 2013 was the defensive backfield. Opponents throw for more than 4,500 yards against the Cowboys.

I’ve seen nails put up more resistance against a hammer than the Cowboys defense put up last season.

Dallas’ defense was a laughingstock, so they’ll need to bring in Clinton-Dix with the 16th pick.

Clinton-Dix was a part of two national championship teams at Alabama and led the team with five interceptions in 2012.

At 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, he has a combination of size, speed and ball skills and is used to covering NFL athletes in the SEC, like Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, and faced future pro quarterbacks like Manziel.

Though there is some talk about Manziel being drafted by the Cowboys, I doubt he’ll be available at 16 and this pick makes more sense.

That said, I have an easier time understanding quantum physics than Jerry Jones, so being a Cowboys fan has been interesting most of my adult life.

Just not competitive.

Contact Albert Alvarado at

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