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Pauly G’s 2014 NFL Draft Day One Recap

By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610
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(Credit: Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610)

(Credit: Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – This year marked my third Texans draft while in Houston. And my second straight year watching everything unfold at NRG Stadium. Since I’ve gotten familiar with the process, why not give YOU a taste of the process with a video tour?

 

First stop: the fabled “Draft War Room” where the rest of the media and I had a five minute photo op to capture the room in all its glory.

The war room is like a trip to Disney World. Mildly disappointing. Throw out the fun, and add in long lines plus instructions on what NOT to do (DO NOT BE PREGNANT was replaced by DO NOT TOUCH THE COVERED UP DRAFT BOARDS) and BAM…you were there. Naturally, I somehow found a way to TRIP over the blackboards, drawing the ire of the Texans PR and death glares from the entire war room.

Can you blame them? We were being a pain in the tookus – so much so that they’d covered their draft boards over with cloth. And who would enjoy being in a fishbowl on a day where decisions affect your future employment…along with everyone else who works in that building? Easy answer: no one.

Next? A hop, skip and a jump to the SportsRadio 610/Texans Radio live broadcast of the draft.

I’m going to take a deep breath for a moment to spare you from a rant about how much I can’t stand walking through crowds. I won’t say anything at all about how people should always walk to the right of other people. Or that standing in the middle of a walkway hypnotized by your phone creates eight body pile ups. Or that most children should be on leashes until they learn moving randomly around like a squirrel gets you squashed.

Oh, whoops.

Now that I’m done whining, I’ve got to say this: the horde of DEEP STEEL blue and BATTLE red fans going bonkers over the first pick in the draft – especially after last season – was a sight to behold. You’ve all earned mad props in book, yo.

Once the Texans took JaDaveon Clowney with the first overall pick, their was a surprisingly uniform reaction from the crowd: Approval. A bit shocking, especially with all the Johnny Man-Zealots in town.

My opinion? Clowney was the way to go. Yeah, a quarterback would be nice. But you don’t want to force it, especially when a guy routinely being called a “once-in-a-generation-defensive-nightmare” is there for the taking.

But when you lose fourteen games in a row, round one is FAR from over. You still have thirty-one more chances to sit yourself back down at the table. At least…if you’re willing to make a deal.

Obviously the Texans weren’t going to jump back into early round one. That would cost a whole lot of draft resources that they can’t afford to throw away – especially with the lack of depth on their roster. Still, as the draft wore along, only one quarterback had been selected in the first round. And it wasn’t Johnny Manziel.

After a 2013 campaign that saw Matt Schaub sputter and Case Keenum crash, EVERYONE would be happy to see the Texans bring a new arm aboard. Other than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Manziel’s fall – first out of the top ten…and then past pick twenty – made everyone verrrry hopeful. Those dreams were dashed when Cleveland traded up for Philadelphia’s pick at 22 and drafted Johnny Football.

Manziel was now gone, but Teddy Bridgewater – a guy I consider this year’s best QB prospect and who I once clamored for the Texans to take first overall – was sliding (as predicted) towards the second round. And after Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Arizona (contenders who could use upgrades under center) all passed on Teddy, it truly seemed the Texans would have the opportunity to take him with the first pick of round two tonight. All they needed was to wait a few more picks. Or – as Brien and I had discussed during our show this past week – move back into the first round.

Unfortunately, that possibility was never realized. Seattle – a team looking to avoid giving a rookie first round money – traded the 32nd pick of the first round to Minnesota, who swooped up Bridgewater. Whether or not Bill O’Brien, Rick Smith and company ever had legitimate interest in taking Teddy at the top of the second remains to be seen. Still, many Texans fans felt their team had fallen asleep at the wheel – simply because they weren’t willing to jump back into the first round. That the Vikings took Bridgewater just one pick ahead of Houston added insult to the injury.

I’m disappointed myself. Landing the consensus number one pick (Clowney) AND the guy once considered the best QB in college (Bridgewater) would have been a major haul.

But not trading up WAS the right move. No matter how quarterback desperate we all are.

Think about it. The Texans are a filet mignon with some crap-tastic side dishes. That tiny steak (J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Duane Brown, Arian Foster) tastes great. The rest of the meal? BURNT. And we go home every Sunday unsatisfied.

With 10 more picks in the draft, the Texans have a chance to upgrade and experiment with those sides. Some might work out. Others may taste like turpentine. And in trading just one pick (At the very least pick 33 and pick 101) to get back in the first would cost you a precious pick. This team has too many holes to risk that – especially when O’Brien has said he believes most of these quarterbacks are equal in talent.

So what happens today? Here’s my guess. The Texans will either draft Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix to kick things off. After that? There are so many holes to fill…who can really know. All you can do is sit back, and TRY to relax.

Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – weeknights 7-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.

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