Draft-room debates for top-5 picks

University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack has steadily moved up the draft board. Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the 2014 NFL draft, ESPN Insider had four of its contributors weigh in with their different perspectives on the player each team with a top-five pick should take with its selection. Matt Williamson provided a scouting perspective, Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz an analytics perspective, Louis Riddick drew on his experience as a former director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik considered the recommendations of all three before handing down picks for each team.

1. Houston Texans

Matt Williamson's recommendation: Jadeveon Clowney
The main reason to take Clowney with this pick is because he is a unique talent with the upside to turn into an all-time great player. With Clowney and J.J. Watt, the Texans could have an elite defense as soon as 2014, with two players that every offense they face must plan for. Think of it this way: Who would the division rival Indianapolis Colts rather Houston draft, Clowney or Blake Bortles? Of course the answer to that question is Bortles. The Texans shouldn't overthink this one, and instead just take the best player in this draft.

Aaron Schatz's recommendation: Teddy Bridgewater, Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney
Projecting guys from college to the pros is still one of the most difficult things in football; even for positions for which we've developed projections, those formulas are imperfect. Scouting still plays the biggest role here. Where analytics come in is to determine not whom to pick, but rather how to best use picks to get the most value compared to the other 31 teams.