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Mike Meltser’s Rebuttal To John Lopez

By MIKE MELTSER, SportsRadio 610
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(Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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I have no problem with the Houston Texans selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. In fact, I would prefer the team find its franchise quarterback as soon as possible. Most people who listen to MaD Radio know I have an affinity for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.

The MMQB’s Greg Bedard wrote a fairly glowing review of Bridgewater’s NFL potential. Rivers McCown laid out a compelling argument to select Bridgewater with the first pick in the draft.

However, John Lopez’s idea that desiring Jadeveon Clowney eliminates all future complaints about quarterback is ludicrous.

Let’s examine John’s argument.

Has everyone forgotten that in a dozen years of futile attempts at becoming a relevant Super Bowl contender there was one reason and one reason alone the quest failed every time.

Quarterback. Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback.

One reason alone? How about another reason: when was the last time the Texans had an above average head coach? Ever? In a league where the likes of Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, etc are the ones who win Super Bowls, we’re going to act like Dom Capers and Gary Kubiak were completely up to the task? The quarterback point is an overly simplified view of the struggles of the franchise.

Of course Clowney might become a great player — the operative word being might. Clowney Truthers also seem to forget that his own coach, Steve Spurrier, gave his effort and attitude a back-handed compliment, saying Clowney’s work ethic was, “OK.”

Can we be honest here? The debate of Clowney versus quarterback has NOTHING to do with Jadeveon Clowney himself. Almost everyone covering the NFL Draft has said, over and over, that Clowney is the top player on the draft board. Heck, Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com), who is on Texans All Access every week and likes both Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, has said the Texans should take Clowney at one.

My point is not to suggest that Clowney is some sort of lock to become a star, just to establish that the consensus has him as the best player (in an extremely talented draft) on the board.

The Texans are on the brink of being able to choose a quarterback — any quarterback they choose. The canvass would be wide open; the possibilities under the tutelage of a new offensive-minded coach perhaps endless. The potential would be immeasurable.

But you want the guy who fits all the so-called, NFL measurables? If you do, don’t ever complain about losing or quarterbacking again. You lose that right, just like you’ve lost your mind if you think anything but a quarterback should be taken No. 1.

The debate of Clowney vs QB has everything to do with this question: is Bill O’Brien sold on a franchise quarterback at number one overall? That’s it. And if he is, then he absolutely should select that player at 1. If he is not, there’s little justification to demand the Texans take a player (who they have serious doubts about) so high in the draft.

To put it tangibly: since the Kansas City Chiefs had a big need at QB in last May’s draft, should they have definitively selected EJ Manuel or Geno Smith with the first pick in the draft?

On the air, Lopez pointed out that almost every draft has a franchise quarterback. Thus, O’Brien and GM Rick Smith are called upon to find him.

I understand the premise, but the deductive logic implies that the NFL Draft is an exact science. If every draft has a franchise quarterback, and the Texans need a quarterback, then the Texans must find him and take him at one.

One key attribute of smart people is that they’re smart in what they don’t know. It’s extremely difficult to figure out the upside of a quarterback, or how he will develop. It’s also very possible to look at QB prospects and just not know, even if you get paid $6M a year to coach the Texans. If O’Brien looks at the film and question marks around Bridgewater (size, glove, Pro Day), Manziel (size, system, propensity to run), Bortles (lower body mechanics, consistency, years of production), and genuinely doesn’t know, why should I force him to pick one and throw a dart?

The only way you are comfortable with selecting a QB in the above hypothetical is if you are organizationally committed to losing out on possible blue chip players at other positions.

When the Jets traded up to the 6th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, here are the stars they passed up on: LB Brian Cushing, WR Michael Crabtree, LB Brian Orakpo, C Alex Mack, WR Percy Harvin, and LB Clay Matthews. I actually have no problem with the Jets missing out on those players. Why? Because they had the conviction that Sanchez was going to be a star QB. They believed in him. That’s the kind of mistake that you have to make in the NFL, even if it cost GM Mike Tannenbaum his job.

However, what if they took Sanchez without believing in him? Traded up just because they felt like they’d take a random stab at a franchise QB? Then that’s a poor way to run your organization.

I really like Teddy Bridgewater, and I’m a fan of Johnny Manziel’s game. But if Bill O’Brien doesn’t truly believe in them, the Texans shouldn’t select them just because of the position they play.

Mike Meltser can be heard on MaD Radio from 10am-2pm

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