By Bryan Stauffer
In 2013 they were No. 11 in total offense and No. 7 in total defense. They were loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. So how did the Houston Texans end up with the league’s worst record and the first pick in the upcoming draft?
Injuries to key offensive and defensive players like running back Arian Foster and middle linebacker Brian Chushing certainly played a part, but the bottom line is:
a. They were just never able to get into a rhythm on either side of the ball. They had the third best passing defense, but also possessed a bottom-10 defense against the run. On offense, throwing 22 interceptions will never help you win games, especially when a handful of them are returned for touchdowns.
b. Players haven’t lived up to expectations or their big-money contracts. Over the years, their front office has made a few gambles regarding high-salary contracts that have put the team in a tough place financially (i.e. Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans, Matt Schaub, Johnathan Joseph).
So, with an apparent need for a game-changing quarterback or a chance to pair South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney with sack-master J.J. Watt, what will be their pick come May 8?
With their talented receiving core and a middle-of-the-road rushing attack, the Texans could be one consistent quarterback away from being the team they were in 2012.
On the other hand, the chance to pair arguably one of the most appealing pass rushing and freakishly athletic prospects to date with the NFL’s best interior defensive lineman doesn’t come around that often.
It’s hard to pass on a guy like Clowney, but Houston has a glaring need at quarterback and I don’t see them moving forward with Schaub ” if he returns ” or quarterback Case Keenum for one more year; however, if they haven’t absolutely fallen in love with one of the top quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel, then Clowney would be the safe pick.
If they do select a quarterback, do they go with the guy who has the most mature pocket presence of the bunch, Bridgewater, the quarterback with prototypical size and the biggest boom/bust potential, Bortles, or the instinctive, mobile and innovative, proven-winner from their home state, Manziel?
Barring some extreme roster additions during the upcoming free agency period, Houston’s No. 1 pick could have a huge impact on which Houston Texans team shows up this year.
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