The Super Bowl is over and done with and that only means one thing. Since none of the official big cuts will be made until March, every football head is talking one thing… the NFL Draft.
Mock Version I. Mock Version II. Mock Version II.B. It will change on a day by day basis over the next few weeks, and it’s not because there is some new astounding insight. It’s because there is nothing else to write about.
That being said, what is the future of the Houston Texans?
Brian Hoyer made one thing clear. This team isn’t going anywhere without a quarterback. As a Houston Texans fan, it has been a painful two years. Eight quarterbacks have taken snaps over the past two seasons and aside from Ryan Fitzpatrick, none have even been good.
That’s why it seems entirely too obvious that the Texans will have to go quarterback in the first round of the draft. Bill O’Brien is the right coach. J.J. Watt is a beast that anchors a defense that has great building blocks in guys like Kevin Johnson alongside veterans like Brian Cushing and Johnathan Joseph. DeAndre Hopkins is arguably the best wide receiver in the game, so all that the Texans seem to need to make that next step is a good quarterback to get him the ball.
You know what? I’m not opposed. Ezekiel Elliott is the best running back in the draft. I love Arian Foster, he is one of my favorite players to ever suit up, but he is broken. The right — and widely unpopular — move would be for the Texans to move on from Foster and release him this offseason. Alfred Blue is a nice piece to hold on to, but he is not the next No. 23. There are no guarantees Elliot is, but this will be the first real play making running back the Texans have taken a gamble on, as opposed to a bunch of guys that they hoped would lessen the load of Foster.
But then of course there is this:
“They want to draft (a quarterback) in the first round. They’re tired of using retreads,” John McClain told Tim McManus of Philadelphia Magazine. “They played five this year, started four. Last year they played four and started three. So they need a quarterback, and they want one that they can develop.”
Nobody knows the Texans like McClain, so it seems likely that the Texans are thinking quarterback in the first round. Originally it was believed that Carson Wentz would be there. Now, many, like Kiper, think he may go top five. Jared Goff won’t last until 22. Paxton Lynch? Not likely.
That means the Texans would be looking at Connor Cook or Christian Hackenberg.
I like both actually, but are they first round picks? Maybe this is the year the Texans do what they should have done in 2014 and get aggressive. The Jadeveon Clowney pick was not the mistake of the 2014 draft, trading into the end of the first round and not getting a quarterback, like Derek Carr, was.
Maybe this time around the Texans grab Elliot in the first round and trade up to lock in either Hackenberg or Cook.
The bigger question is what would the Texans approach be? Would throwing Cook or Hackenberg to the wolves as rookie quarterbacks be beneficial for this ever-improving Texans team? Both seem to have some flaws in their game, flaws that with time the great quarterback developer that OB is could turn into strengths. Would there be anything to learn spending a year on the bench watching Hoyer?
Just a week ago I had the diabolical idea, that should the Texans be able to pull off the above scenario — get Elliot and Cook or Hackenberg on draft day — they should do the unthinkable. They should ask their biggest rival quite possibly in franchise history, to ride off into the sunset, to get off his Bronco and go out a Texan.
If Peyton Manning wanted to play one more year would it be lunacy to bring him in on a one-year deal? A week ago, I loved the idea. I felt like The Sheriff really had one more year in him (not so much on a talent level, but on a competitive Brett Favre level). He would have been a great mentor to whichever franchise QB they brought in through the draft.
Now, however, I feel like there are too many off the field distractions which may take Peyton over the edge and make him retire, as he should.
Where does Tom Savage fit into the equation? Does he have any life left in the Texans organization, or are they going to simply chalk him up as an ill-advised, “well, we need a quarterback” pick? He showed some progress before a year-end injury and to be honest, if they hadn’t put him on the season ending IR, I feel like he would have had a chance on the NFL level to show if he had the stuff OB envisioned.
He may be on the unfair end of the current quarterback regime wipeout, but no one said the NFL was fair.
There are sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall in the Texans war room, and the upcoming weeks are certainly one of them. I think McClain is right and these Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler or RGIII type moves wouldn’t move the Texans forward. And that’s where they are right now.
OB came in and changed the culture of this team. Gary Kubiak allowed losing to become too acceptable in my opinion, and that is clearly not the case on OB’s watch. The Texans can’t afford to take a step backwards this season, especially with Andrew Luck coming back in Indy.
So, we simply do what every other football fan does. Read the ever changing Mock Drafts and wait for draft day.