A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil. A month later you get into a wreck on 288. One small thing that sets off a chain reaction of events causing a larger scale event seemingly unrelated. The butterfly effect.
Every team can go back in history and look at one draft pick that could have changed the course of that team. But some draft picks are tied together so closely that it not only sends one team up or down, but has ripple effects across the entire NFL.
The Houston Texans largest draft butterfly effect begins with the 2013 season. Week 4 to be exact. With less than 3 minutes left in the game, the Texans were leading 20-13 over the Seahawks. Then….it happened. And “Schaub” would forever become a verb in Houston when any QB threw a pick-6. This one play led to the season quickly spiraling out of control as the Texans would lose their next 12 games and finish the season 2-14. But you already know that. You lived that.
We also then lived the offseason as we prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft. With the Texans clearly needing a QB but no sure fire QB at the top of the board, the Texans locked in on Jadeveon Clowney. Some ups and some downs since then. But overall, the right pick and the pick that needed to be made #1 overall in 2014.
But then, once again…it happened.
“With the first pick, of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans select Xavier Su’a-Filo.” Why did the Texans, a team that didn’t have a QB and would be bringing back a solid offensive line of Duane Brown, Brandon Brooks, Chris Myers, Ben Jones and Derek Newton need their “guard of the future” with such a highly coveted pick? If somebody would have stood on a table and said “It doesn’t matter what his last name is, we need our QB of the future.”, things could have played out differently for the entire NFL.
As many believed, with the 33rd pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the Houston Texans should have selected Derek Carr. This is the draft pick that really set the next 10 years of the NFL path in motion. Before getting into the butterfly effect for the other teams. Let’s just finish what the Texans did in 2014.
With the first pick in the 3rd round the Texans took C.J. Fiedorowicz. We’ll leave that one in there.
But then the Texans decided to trade the first overall pick in the 4th round (101 overall) and first overall pick in the 5th round (141 overall) to move back into the 3rd round. And with the 83rd overall pick, the Houston Texans selected Louis Nix. Insert head slap emoji.
If the Texans still really needed to draft a guard knowing they were going to move on from Chris Myers, Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones, they could have done that with the same trade. And drafted Trai Turner. The 2x Pro-Bowl guard that the Panthers drafted a mere 9 picks after Louis Nix. Or don’t make that trade at all and draft Devonta Freeman with pick 101. The Falcons drafted him with pick 103. Le Sigh.
Moving down to Round 4, pick 135. The Houston Texans don’t select Tom Savage. They don’t need to. They already have their QB of the future. Instead, the Patriots would draft him here and would have fooled the entire league again and traded him to somebody for a 1st or 2nd round pick already.
Now brace yourself, cause here is the big picture on what drafting Xavier Su’a-Filo with the 33rd overall pick, did to the league.
This, of course, changes what the Raiders do. So with pick 36 in the 2014 draft the Oakland Raiders still want their QB of the future. The Raiders select Jimmy Garoppolo, QB Eastern Illinois. With this move, are the Raiders considered Super Bowl contenders? Would they be moving to Las Vegas? Probably. Garoppolo sounds like a 1920’s mobster name. He would have fit well in Vegas.
We’ve already discussed the Patriots and how they’d cheat and somehow end up getting their QB of the future in one of these past drafts. Moving on!
Looking at 2015 we the football loving fans of America are not noticing the butterfly effect yet. Small things, but nothing we’d notice as many times, the butterfly effect isn’t felt until years later. The Rams move to LA and finish last to draft Jared Goff. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos still beat the Panthers to win the Super Bowl. All is normal.
Then the 2016 offseason happens and we see the real dust start to fly. Because the Texans are riding with Derek Carr they have no reason to sign Brock Osweiler in the offseason.
Brock works it out with the Denver Broncos and never leaves. After all, when he resigned with them after leaving Houston and Cleveland and said “It’s probably a top-five, if not top-three, day of my life. Today’s been incredible.”. If going back to Denver is a top three day of Brock’s life. Then clearly staying with Denver would have to be the number one day in his life.
Now that the Broncos have resigned Brock, they do not need to draft Paxton Lynch at the end of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
But you know who does, the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s not forget that Jerry Jones wanted Paxton Lynch in this draft. Because the Broncos don’t take him thanks to Brock being “the guy”, the Cowboys draft Lynch instead and of course pass on their 4th round QB of Dak Prescott. Fast forward to 2017, Paxton Lynch is still on the bench behind…Tony Romo. Tony comes back after his 2016 injury because Paxton can’t get it done. So Tony is back on the field this year. And Phil Simms is still in the broadcast booth.
Final team affected by this, the Cleveland Browns. Because the Texans don’t have to send Brock packing to the Browns, Cleveland does not have the extra 2nd round picks next year. And because the Texans don’t have to trade up to select Deshaun Watson in 2017, Cleveland does not have two 1st round picks next year. Maybe the Browns would have finally do the smart thing and draft Deshaun Watson with pick 12 of the 2017 draft. Man did he dodge a bullet there!
So a quick recap:
Raiders have Garopollo. Broncos are stuck with Brock. Cowboys have Paxton Lynch. The Browns have ruin Deshaun Watson’s career. The Texans have their QB for the next 10 years. The Texans have all their draft picks for 2018. And Dak Prescott? Well, the Buffalo Bills took Cardale Jones 4 picks after the Cowboys that year. Maybe they take the shot and the Patriots have actual competition in the AFC East.
I understand that all this is courtesy of Captain Hindsight. And you might be saying “well who would have predicted all of this?”. Highly paid head coaches, GM’s and NFL Owners that are supposed to do just that. That is their job. To be able to predict these things. Or sometimes, just let the butterfly flap its wings and get lucky. Because now, even though it may have taken longer than Texans fans would have liked, the future is bright for the Houston Texans at the QB position.
So, with Deshaun Watson in-house for the Texans, should we thank or condemn Schaub for that Pick 6?