2014 NFL Draft: Odds for Top Candidates to Be No. 1 Pick

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2014 NFL Draft: Odds for Top Candidates to Be No. 1 Pick
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

Being the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL draft is a distinguished honor that carries a gargantuan amount of weight and expectations. And with the 2014 iteration commencing on Thursday night, it's time to review the candidates and odds for the No. 1 overall pick.

There have been numerous hits and misses throughout the years on the draft's top pick. For every Peyton Manning (1998) that authors a Hall of Fame career, there's a JaMarcus Russell that crashes out of the league (2007). Just because a player is selected first overall doesn't guarantee a successful NFL career, and in some cases (Russell especially), it doesn't even assure a mediocre one.

As such, it's vital that the team selecting out of the top slot is absolutely certain that the prospect it chooses will help win games and eventually claim a Super Bowl title.

Currently, there are five primary candidates that could potentially be selected first overall by the Houston Texans, and in this column, we'll examine them all. They were chosen based on their standing in my roundup of expert mock drafts, as all five players appeared throughout the top five selections.

Despite being mentioned several times in that piece at the top of the draft, Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins didn't make the cut here, as he hasn't been mentioned as the No. 1 overall pick in any prominent mock draft. Conversely, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles has, so he merited inclusion here.

I'll tell you why each player is an option for the No. 1 overall pick by examining their on-field talent, potential off-field foibles and what the experts are thinking and saying. I've also assigned odds for each player ending up as the top selection, based on the expert mock draft projections and recent news trickling down the NFL grapevine. 

There's one heavy favorite (hint: he's pictured above), but every prospect listed has a chance to hear his name called first.

Ahead is a review of the candidates and a listing of their odds to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

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