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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don't envy Texans' draft situation

By Dan Graziano

ESPN.com

The NFL draft is exactly one month away and, man, are the Houston Texans in a lousy spot.

Sure, they have the No. 1 pick, which means they can take absolutely anyone they want to take. Figure out who the best player is, take him and never look back. No other team has that advantage this year. Everyone else's pick depends, at least to some extent, on what other teams do before them.

But while that sounds like the catbird's seat, for the Texans it is not. Because the Texans' biggest need, by far, is quarterback, and there's no obvious answer sitting there for them at No. 1.

Andrew Luck is not walking through that door. Neither is Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman or, heck, even Cam Newton. This is not a draft with a clear No. 1-pick quarterback, and because of that the worst thing to be is a team that needs one.

So pity Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and even Buffalo, which took a quarterback in the first round last year and still isn't sure it has one. These are the teams in the top 10 that still need quarterbacks. These are the teams whose entire draft process will be consumed by the killer quarterback questions:

When do we take one?

Which one do we take?

What if we're wrong?

The quarterback class of 2014 is a collection of questions. Do you think you can turn a raw Blake Bortles into something special? Do you think Teddy Bridgewater is good enough to start right away? Can you get a Derek Carr or a Jimmy Garoppolo late in the first round or early in the second and expect to hit the lottery? And my goodness, what on earth do you make of Johnny Manziel?

Teams that need quarterbacks have to answer these questions as best they can, then hold their noses and make the pick. The terrifying part is that third question, because if you take one of these guys and you're wrong, everybody is pretty much going to get fired.

Yes, life without a franchise quarterback in the NFL is a waking nightmare. If you don't have one, all you can think about is how to get one. Nothing else you do seems to matter until this particular hole is filled. When you do have a quarterback, everything else seems better. All of your other problems feel solvable. The best team to be in this year's top 10 is Atlanta, which has its franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan and can literally, without any complications, take the best player available to them regardless of position.

Those other teams listed above? They can't. They'll say they can, but they're lying. Every decision they make in this draft from the first round through the seventh will be laced with some degree of uncertainty. Because when you don't have your quarterback, everything you do feels awkward.

If you don't believe quarterback is all that matters in the modern NFL, you're not paying attention. The teams that have them make the playoffs. The teams that don't have them pick in the top 10, every year. The Texans are picking first, in large part, because Matt Schaub imploded and they didn't have anyone behind him. Jacksonville is picking third because the team messed up three years ago when it reached and took Blaine Gabbert. Cleveland is picking fourth because it couldn't get the trade done for Robert Griffin III two years ago. St. Louis is picking second because Washington could and Griffin had a rotten year in 2013.

The Rams, by the way, are sitting pretty, because whatever you think of Sam Bradford, the Rams are invested in him as their guy for at least one more year and therefore don't count quarterback among their 2014 concerns. They might take a flier on a quarterback at some point in the draft, just as a hedge against Bradford busting, but they can pick anyone they want to pick at No. 2. They can trade the pick if they want to trade it, collect another 2012-style haul, keep building around Bradford in the hopes that it will help him deliver on his potential.

The Texans, though? You wouldn't want to be the Texans. They know how important quarterback is. They hired Bill O'Brien to be their coach because of his reputation as some sort of quarterback MacGyver. Give him a rubber band and a paper clip and a kid who started two years at an FCS school, and O'Brien will make him a star. With no perfect solution in sight, Houston is counting on O'Brien to fix the problem with an imperfect solution. If he does it, he's going to coach in the NFL for a long time. If he doesn't, he'll join the long list of men who failed because they couldn't find a quarterback.

We don't know what the Texans are going to do with that first pick on May 8, but whatever they do is going to leave them with a sick feeling in their collective stomach. At the end of this draft, as at the beginning, they are still going to be wondering whether they have the answer to their most important question.

If they take Bridgewater or Manziel or Bortles at No. 1, they're going to be haunted by the ghosts of Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell and, yeah, especially David Carr -- No. 1 picks who weren't good enough to go No. 1 but did anyway because, doggone it, those teams needed quarterbacks. Unless and until their guy shows he deserved to be that pick, they're going to live in some degree of fear that he didn't.

But even if they resist, the Texans are going to be miserable. Even if they decide none of the quarterbacks in this year's draft is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, which is likely the case, they're going to have to hold their noses. Even if they take Jadeveon Clowney, universally regarded as a superstar pass-rusher in the making, and even if they and their fan base believe Clowney is the second coming of Lawrence Taylor, they won't be able to enjoy it. Because after a few weeks, the excitement of it all will die down, and the Houston Texans and their fan base will go to training camp with the sickest feeling any NFL team can have:

Not knowing who their quarterback is.

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I get the article but honestly if I'm Houston I'm taking either Clowney or Mack, and either trading back into the first or staying put in the second to get metterberger or jimmy G. Maybe even Mccarron is on my radar if I were them.

That defense is just so good already with Watt, Cushing, Reed and Mercilus , I just see a Clowney or Mack completing them. If I'm their GM I'm playing to their strengths which I'd a stout defense, adding to it ,and then playing to bill O'Brien's strength which is QB development

They could also grab an Aaron Murray in mid rounds. He's a smart enough kid to work winder O'Brien

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I understand why the Texans would be concerned but all that tells is me that they should double up.

Draft one of Manziel/Bortles/Bridgewater #1 and then double up with Fales or Savage in the middle rounds.

The new CBA makes moving on when you've seen enough very doable. You're not getting anywhere with Ryan Fitzpatrick...

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I've been saying it all along you can't win with out a QB plane and simple.

Brady/Rivers/Dalton/Luck/Smith/Manning/Rodgers/Brees/Wilson/Newton/Keapernick/Files

All guys you can consider franchise QB(guys you can win with) rarely if ever does a team with no QB make the playoffs let alone actually win any games.

The only exception Is the ravens and they had I believe a 2000 yard rusher that year alone with maybe the greatest defense of all time. But hea those type of teams are around all the time right.

I find it so funny when people try to bash Ryan when he's a top 5 QB and if he isn't its only a matter of time. Heck after Manning/Brady/Brees who are all at the end of there careers only Rodgers can really say he's better Luck may be a better talent but right now he's just to careless with the ball.

I really feel bad for teams like the Raiders jags and Browns its been so long sense they've had a QB worth having. And hopefully the Texans remember just how bad they were before Schaub show up they were nearly like the Brooks lead Saints. Well there also team that don't quite know what to do in start over or keep there guy and I think Romo And the cowboys are the perfect example.

It would be quite tempting to take Manziel I think he has that moxie It takes to win those big games and can easily do what Wilson did for the seahawks. Bridgewater would probably be the pick though as hes so polished and has plenty of talent to be a top QB.

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Us and Houston are actually lucky to be picking this high. They're a good football team just had a bad year. They will be right back at the top in that weak division

There not a good football team

Manly because teams now can stop the Run and force them into passing downs were they then make it dam near impossible for a backup level qb to make the throw needed to win.

They add a QB who can play then there a good team if not then they'll be the same team. Maybe not 1st overall pick bad but inside the top ten and maybe top 5.

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I understand why the Texans would be concerned but all that tells is me that they should double up.

Draft one of Manziel/Bortles/Bridgewater #1 and then double up with Fales or Savage in the middle rounds.

The new CBA makes moving on when you've seen enough very doable. You're not getting anywhere with Ryan Fitzpatrick...

No I'd take bridgewater now doesn't have luck talent but can be one of the best if he develops

Then take the kid from VT who has a ton of talent but needs to be coached up manly more accurate with his throws.

Edited by THE ICEMAN
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don't envy Texans' draft situation

By Dan Graziano

ESPN.com

The NFL draft is exactly one month away and, man, are the Houston Texans in a lousy spot.

Sure, they have the No. 1 pick, which means they can take absolutely anyone they want to take. Figure out who the best player is, take him and never look back. No other team has that advantage this year. Everyone else's pick depends, at least to some extent, on what other teams do before them.

But while that sounds like the catbird's seat, for the Texans it is not. Because the Texans' biggest need, by far, is quarterback, and there's no obvious answer sitting there for them at No. 1.

Andrew Luck is not walking through that door. Neither is Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman or, heck, even Cam Newton. This is not a draft with a clear No. 1-pick quarterback, and because of that the worst thing to be is a team that needs one.

So pity Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and even Buffalo, which took a quarterback in the first round last year and still isn't sure it has one. These are the teams in the top 10 that still need quarterbacks. These are the teams whose entire draft process will be consumed by the killer quarterback questions:

When do we take one?

Which one do we take?

What if we're wrong?

The quarterback class of 2014 is a collection of questions. Do you think you can turn a raw Blake Bortles into something special? Do you think Teddy Bridgewater is good enough to start right away? Can you get a Derek Carr or a Jimmy Garoppolo late in the first round or early in the second and expect to hit the lottery? And my goodness, what on earth do you make of Johnny Manziel?

Teams that need quarterbacks have to answer these questions as best they can, then hold their noses and make the pick. The terrifying part is that third question, because if you take one of these guys and you're wrong, everybody is pretty much going to get fired.

Yes, life without a franchise quarterback in the NFL is a waking nightmare. If you don't have one, all you can think about is how to get one. Nothing else you do seems to matter until this particular hole is filled. When you do have a quarterback, everything else seems better. All of your other problems feel solvable. The best team to be in this year's top 10 is Atlanta, which has its franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan and can literally, without any complications, take the best player available to them regardless of position.

Those other teams listed above? They can't. They'll say they can, but they're lying. Every decision they make in this draft from the first round through the seventh will be laced with some degree of uncertainty. Because when you don't have your quarterback, everything you do feels awkward.

If you don't believe quarterback is all that matters in the modern NFL, you're not paying attention. The teams that have them make the playoffs. The teams that don't have them pick in the top 10, every year. The Texans are picking first, in large part, because Matt Schaub imploded and they didn't have anyone behind him. Jacksonville is picking third because the team messed up three years ago when it reached and took Blaine Gabbert. Cleveland is picking fourth because it couldn't get the trade done for Robert Griffin III two years ago. St. Louis is picking second because Washington could and Griffin had a rotten year in 2013.

The Rams, by the way, are sitting pretty, because whatever you think of Sam Bradford, the Rams are invested in him as their guy for at least one more year and therefore don't count quarterback among their 2014 concerns. They might take a flier on a quarterback at some point in the draft, just as a hedge against Bradford busting, but they can pick anyone they want to pick at No. 2. They can trade the pick if they want to trade it, collect another 2012-style haul, keep building around Bradford in the hopes that it will help him deliver on his potential.

The Texans, though? You wouldn't want to be the Texans. They know how important quarterback is. They hired Bill O'Brien to be their coach because of his reputation as some sort of quarterback MacGyver. Give him a rubber band and a paper clip and a kid who started two years at an FCS school, and O'Brien will make him a star. With no perfect solution in sight, Houston is counting on O'Brien to fix the problem with an imperfect solution. If he does it, he's going to coach in the NFL for a long time. If he doesn't, he'll join the long list of men who failed because they couldn't find a quarterback.

We don't know what the Texans are going to do with that first pick on May 8, but whatever they do is going to leave them with a sick feeling in their collective stomach. At the end of this draft, as at the beginning, they are still going to be wondering whether they have the answer to their most important question.

If they take Bridgewater or Manziel or Bortles at No. 1, they're going to be haunted by the ghosts of Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell and, yeah, especially David Carr -- No. 1 picks who weren't good enough to go No. 1 but did anyway because, doggone it, those teams needed quarterbacks. Unless and until their guy shows he deserved to be that pick, they're going to live in some degree of fear that he didn't.

But even if they resist, the Texans are going to be miserable. Even if they decide none of the quarterbacks in this year's draft is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, which is likely the case, they're going to have to hold their noses. Even if they take Jadeveon Clowney, universally regarded as a superstar pass-rusher in the making, and even if they and their fan base believe Clowney is the second coming of Lawrence Taylor, they won't be able to enjoy it. Because after a few weeks, the excitement of it all will die down, and the Houston Texans and their fan base will go to training camp with the sickest feeling any NFL team can have:

Not knowing who their quarterback is.

Silly article. Least if they drafted Clowney they would rest assure they have 2 great DEs. So what if whatever QBs they have is uncertain. You have them battle it out for the starting job. None of this years top QBs are that much better than a mid rounder. It would be uncertainty at QB no matter what. Least if the get Clowney they would have certainty with 1 position, and if they draft a QB in the lower rounds and he fails, the texans can fall back onto Fitzpatrick who is servicable, and they won't waste a 1# pick on a failed QB.

I know this fanbase wants Clowney to go to the Falcons; I do to. But lets not pretend that the Texans are forced to pick a QB with the first pick just so Clowney can fall in the draft. If the Falcons had no QB and were in the same position, the best option would be either take Clowney or trade down.

It would be totally insane to take a QB, in this draft, that high.

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The Texans draft Bortles because:

1. He is the classic pocket QB with just enough mobility to extend plays.

2. They don't already have a bonafide starting QB.

3. They don't expect to draft in the top ten for the foreseeable future.

4. O'Brien is in the honeymoon of his job. He has time to develop a young QB.

The Texans don't draft a QB in the first round because:

1. Clowney is an extreme talent.

2. O'Brien is a QB guru and believes that he can turn one of the roster's QB's into a starter.

3. There is little difference between the top QB's and the rest of the field.

Take your pick.

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What's with the no difference between the top 3 QBs and the rest of the field???

B. Bortles - perfect height for the QB. Strong arm and decent season numbers. Outstanding Combine and seems very coachable. 65% comp

J. Manziel - youngest Heisman in history. Great numbers last two years. Confident, proven performer in a power conference. Wants to be the best. 67% comp.

T. Bridgewater - best completion percentage and TD-Int ratio of any college QB. Can run and but prefers to throw. Compares to Russell Wilson. Was talked about as #1 pick before bad pro day. 70% comp

Besides maybe Jimmy Garappolo, who else compares to these guys?

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What's with the no difference between the top 3 QBs and the rest of the field???

B. Bortles - perfect height for the QB. Strong arm and decent season numbers. Outstanding Combine and seems very coachable. 65% comp

J. Manziel - youngest Heisman in history. Great numbers last two years. Confident, proven performer in a power conference. Wants to be the best. 67% comp.

T. Bridgewater - best completion percentage and TD-Int ratio of any college QB. Can run and but prefers to throw. Compares to Russell Wilson. Was talked about as #1 pick before bad pro day. 70% comp

Besides maybe Jimmy Garappolo, who else compares to these guys?

Zach Metterberger might be the best of the bunch when all is said and done. I like garappolo a lot too. If I were Houston I'd target a trade up or use second on Either Zach M. Or Jimmy G. And draft khalil Mack or Clowney. Mack could be Crennel's Willie McGinnest

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Fitzpatrick is serviceable??? are you kidding me

Houston is taking a QB

Man that guy just doesn't want us to trade away our 2nd for what he believe is another JA98. And refuses to see the possibility of them passing on Clowney. Because DE is a great need for them and they can afford to pick best player available(sarcasm). I'm not that biased. I wouldn't be mad if we picked up Watkins at 6 and have three beast receivers. No QB isn't the best this year. but we don't know that and a franchise QB is what a team makes him.

Edited by ATLsuperfan247
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The Texans draft Bortles because:

1. He is the classic pocket QB with just enough mobility to extend plays.

2. They don't already have a bonafide starting QB.

3. They don't expect to draft in the top ten for the foreseeable future.

4. O'Brien is in the honeymoon of his job. He has time to develop a young QB.

The Texans don't draft a QB in the first round because:

1. Clowney is an extreme talent.

2. O'Brien is a QB guru and believes that he can turn one of the roster's QB's into a starter.

3. There is little difference between the top QB's and the rest of the field.

Take your pick.

And to add for why the Texans won't draft a QB in the first round

4. Seattle further showed how having an elite defense can stop even the best QB's

5. Houston can always trade back into the first round to get a QB without sacrificing the entire draft since they have such an early 2nd round pick.

If it were me, i'm taking Clowney without hesitation and trading back into the first to take a QB or getting a 2nd round guy, but I believe they will take Bortles.

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