That, of course, is easier said than done. Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway told me prior to the Super Bowl that only now, heading into the 2014 draft, does he feel that the Broncos are in good enough shape roster-wise to draft the best player available. It took three years to get there.
If Houston general manager Rick Smith and first-year head coach Bill O'Brien draft for need, they could reach and take one of the quarterbacks -- none of whom should be drafted that high, another general manager told me.
If Smith and O'Brien take the best player available, that would be Clowney.
Through their research, their visits with Clowney, his pro day and a likely private workout at their facility, the Texans will have to try to quantify Clowney's heart. Did his production drop last season because he was trying to preserve himself for his pro career? Was he at all bitter because he wanted to declare for the 2013 NFL draft but couldn't? Was there something else at work between him and Spurrier?
Houston could be a terrific fit for Clowney and vice versa. Clowney would be paired opposite J.J. Watt, who lives his life with the singular purpose to be the best football player he can be. Watt closely monitors what he puts in his body, how he works out and when he goes out. His drive on a team that also includes another hard worker, linebacker Brian Cushing, is contagious.
Watt could be the perfect mentor, teammate and friend for Clowney, who could then flourish on a defense where Watt would draw most of the attention and double-teams.
That decision is Houston's to make, but it would be an easier decision if the Texans had access to the one bit of data that doesn't exist: an exact measure of Clowney's heart.