Houston (CBS Houston) – The anxiety can be felt around the City as we get closer to May 8th, the date of the NFL Draft. The NFL marketing machine never stops as media and fans help to turn it daily.
The machine won’t stop anytime soon as Houstonians anxiously await the extremely valuable first pick of the hometown Houston Texans; a player who could help turn a Championship-less team into a contender. So, until that time, media and fans ponder, guess, reason by deduction, and search for any clues that might lend some idea of how the Texans will exercise the first overall pick.
If you think this experience is stressful for you, just take a moment and place yourself in the positions of General Manager Rick Smith and new Texans Head Coach, Bill O’Brien. The multitude of player workouts, interviews, countless videos, a massive amount of phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, information overload, and a rabid fan base starving for what they consider a bona fide star; all of this and more regarding potential first pick candidates. The future of the franchise rests fully on their decision. Just as important, the future of their jobs rides on their choice.
THE RIGHT CHOICE
Over the past several months, we’ve seen and heard talking heads, mock drafts, blogs, etc., submitting predictions about the direction the Texans should take. Read this post which should put you in an NFL General Manager frame of mind.
The Texans will have so many scenarios from which to decide on Draft Night. Options will have already been decided knowing Rick Smith who has received his share of criticism, but who is very well-organized and experienced at this point in his career. There’s little doubt that he and the Texans are aware that once the bullets start flying, there will be little-to-no room for error or second-guessing. They’ve got to make the right decision.
Scenarios for the first overall selection include finding a trade partner in order to secure more picks. However, that could be a ‘head-basher’. The Texans owned the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and sought a trade partner. However, according to former Texans General Manager Charlie Casserly who joined the Triple Threat on Sportsradio 610 last Monday, trading for the number one overall pick might not be as easy as we think.
Casserly said the Texans never received an offer which leads to the same possibility on May 8th. However, it’s difficult to be certain what teams will do or the offers they will make. If teams get desperate early in the game, anything can happen.
It’s been well-documented that the Texans want a franchise quarterback. Whether or not that franchise quarterback is in this draft is yet to be determined. However, all signs regarding that question say ‘no’. Can a quarterback in the draft become a franchise quarterback? Of Course! But, the question is whether or not the Texans are willing to roll the dice and draft a quarterback from Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, or Teddy Bridgewater with the first pick.
It’s not easy! Bortles is prototypical with size and arm strength and seems to be an O’Brien type guy. Teddy Bridgewater had a great college career. But his pro day put teams on alert. Honestly speaking, Manziel is off the charts athletically and has the backbone of a dinosaur.
But, let’s face it; six-foot quarterbacks in the NFL are still somewhat of an anomaly and taking one with the first pick overall in the NFL Draft is taking a HUGE chance when there’s a Jadeveon Clowney with off-the-chart type talents just sitting there.
A LOOK AT HISTORY
Johnny Manziel is special and there may never be another like him. But, while he has shown special gifts, there a few others who have shown the same or similar gifts throughout the history of the league.
Great six-foot and under quarterbacks who come to mind are former Minnesota Vikings QB, Fran Tarkenton, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, former Bears, Patriots, Bills, and Chargers QB Doug Flutie. Add to that list Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, former Washington Redskin Sonny Jurgensen, Kansas City Chief great, Len Dawson, and former Redskin legend Joe Theismann before his career-ending encounter with Lawrence Taylor. Pat Haden, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams is on that list with current Jets quarterback, Michael Vick.
Eddie LeBaron, formerly of the Washington Redskins and the very first quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 1960, was 5-feet-7 inches tall. He was named to four Pro Bowls while with the Redskins and actually started ahead of the great Don Meredith in 1960 and ’61 when left unprotected and taken by the Cowboys in 1960.
The question then becomes in what rounds were these six-foot and under quarterbacks drafted. Tarkenton was drafted in the third round, while Brees was drafted in the second. Fluite was taken in the 11th round, Wilson in the third, and Jurgensen in the 4th. Dawson was selected with the 5th pick of the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1957 NFL Draft. Theismann was selected in the 4th round, Haden in the 7th, and LeBaron, 10th round. The only quarterback of this bunch selected with the first overall pick is Micheal Vick who was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001.
So history tells us there is precedent for selecting a six-foot-or-under quarterback with the first overall pick. The Texans decision will be based solely on need, circumstance, and whether or not they see Manziel as the face of the franchise for the next 10 to 15 years.
Only the history buffs are more concerned with whether or not the Texans will draft a six-foot-or-under quarterback 13 years later and there are plenty of us around.