The 2014 NFL draft is mere hours from starting off, making this the ideal time to catch up on the latest buzz surrounding the highly anticipated event.
Because there are so many great prospects available, there is no shortage of teams looking to maneuver up and down the big board to maximize value from this loaded crop of talent.
With that said, let's take a look at some of the hottest rumors concerning Thursday's first round.
Texans Asking King's Ransom for No. 1
The Houston Texans hold the coveted No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, but they may be willing to deal it for the right price. Unfortunately for hopeful trading partners, it appears the club is looking for a massive haul in return for the right to select Jadeveon Clowney or another elite prospect.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has the latest on what the Texans are reportedly asking from inquiring parties:
Swapping first-round selections and throwing in second- and third-round picks in 2014 seems to be a high enough cost, but adding a 2015 first-rounder to sweeten the pot may just be the deal breaker for most suitors.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports 1 confirmed the high asking price but personally heard that the club wanted three No. 1 selections as well as two second-round picks. He pointed out this was what the St. Louis Rams received for Robert Griffin III in 2012 but doubted that any rival squad would be that desperate to move up in 2014 (h/t Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk):
"The Houston Texans said, 'If you want our pick, it's three number ones and a two,'" Glazer said. "When RG3 was traded, that's what they got. . . . But, no. No one's giving up three number ones and a two."
It doesn't seem likely that anyone will emerge to pay this exorbitant cost, especially with no clear-cut franchise quarterback available for the taking. Expect the Texans to hold tight at No. 1 unless they come down significantly on their asking price.
Plenty of Teams Looking to Move Around
While the Texans might struggle to find a taker for the top pick, there should be plenty of draft-day trades on the horizon.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Texans, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons are amongst the clubs being rumored to want to either gain or improve their position in the first round.
Schefter noted that these teams would likely have to deal with the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots in order to accomplish that goal, as these franchises are reportedly hoping to drop back a few spots to acquire additional selections:
Another organization that might be looking to move down is the Dallas Cowboys. The team will have a number of options at its disposal when it picks in the middle of the first round at No. 16, but it may find the best choice is to slide down, get a player it desires in the late 20s and add a pick or two for the trouble.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports has one scenario that involves the Browns swapping their No. 26 pick with Big D to accomplish this:
There are plenty of other possibilities in play, and it would be surprising if there weren't at least a handful of trades involving first-round picks on Thursday night.
Raiders May Grab Evans over Watkins
The Oakland Raiders are always one of the most interesting teams to watch in the draft, as they have made a number of head-scratching decisions over the years.
With the No. 5 overall selection in the back pocket and a number of great players to choose from out of this incredible class, it appears difficult for even a dysfunctional franchise like Oakland to mess this draft up.
However, the Raiders may make a splash by selecting wideout Mike Evans out of Texas A&M over Sammy Watkins of Clemson.
ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio first reported this, noting "one league source who is as connected on matters of the draft as anyone explained it to PFT, the Raiders are believed to prefer Evans to Watkins. The question becomes whether both are still on the board at No. 5, and whether the Raiders choose to pick a receiver."
Florio went on to point out that Watkins might be off the board as early as No. 3, and the Raiders may end up selecting Khalil Mack of Buffalo if they choose to go with a defender.
Regardless, if both receivers are on the board and the franchise wants to go in this direction, it appears that Evans is its man. The Aggies star has immense upside, proven production and incredible size for his position, making him a real asset for the rebuilding club.
However, the Raiders didn't have much success with the last receiver they used a top-round pick on. They infamously reached for Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland in 2009, an athletic stud who never panned out in Northern California.
Evans would be a candidate to break the mold and become Oakland's top receiver from day one, giving Matt Schaub an elite weapon to ignite a stagnant passing game in the Black Hole. Whether he winds up being better than Watkins remains to be seen, but it will be fun to watch the pair battle for the title of top rookie wideout in 2014.
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