What I am about to suggest will sound insane to you. But in the next few minutes I will convince you of this:
The Texans' 2014 draft could be the best draft ever.
Not the best of 2014, not the best Texans draft ever, but the best draft by any team ever in the history of the NFL.
When I say 'could', realize I am not reporting from the future - I mean I will convince you it is a possibility. After reading this, you will say, 'Yes, it is legitimately possible that this draft will be the best ever in the history of the NFL.'
The statistician in me first begins with defining 'best'. What I do not mean is the haul with the most HOFers, or even the greatest players, because that 'best' doesn't establish an even playing field for every GM in every year. That 'best' doesn't grade drafting per se. It would create an unfair bias for GMs picking with the earliest picks or for years like 1983 or other talent-rich years.
A fairer way to define 'best' would be to evaluate the quality of each pick in terms of available talent. Here's how: many years after a draft, all players would be ranked. The best possible draft would be one in which a team selected the highest ranked player available at each and every pick. The quality of a haul would diminish for every higher ranked player left on the board after each pick - a scoring system could easily delineate the best team, and comparisons could be made across years. But... the problem with this method is how painfully inexact the ranking of players would be, with tremendously wide variance for hundreds of players each year.
There are several other reasonable ways to define 'best', but I'm not here to argue for one method over another. My job is just to convince you this year's Texans draft may be viewed as the best ever, and that I've use one of the acceptable measuring tools.
If a team were to grab the best player at his position in a draft, that would be good. How many best players at their position in one year's haul would it take to be considered 'great': 2, 3, 4? How about 'excellent': 5, 6? How about 'the best draft ever'? I'll say 7.
This would surely be unprecedented. You and the rest of the world would have to concede that grabbing SEVEN players that were #1 at their respective position would put that haul in consideration for 'best ever'.
Next up is convincing you of the possibility that the Texans just did exactly that.
1. It is possible Jadaveon Clowney will be the best outside linebacker from the 2014 class. He's the favorite as the top ranked prospect for his position.
2. It is possible Xavier Su'a-Filo will be the best offensive guard from the 2014 class. He's the favorite as the top ranked prospect for his position.
3. It is possible Louis Nix will be the best nose tackle from the 2014 class. He's the favorite as the top ranked prospect for his position.
4. It is possible Jay Prosch will be the best fullback from the 2014 class. He's the favorite as the top ranked prospect for his position.
5. It is possible Chris Boswell will be the best kicker from the 2014 class. He's the favorite as the top ranked prospect for his position.
That's 5. Already legitimate that this haul could be considered 'excellent'.
6. It is possible that C.J. Fiedorowicz will be the best tight end from the 2014 class. He's not the favorite, but any TE picked with the top pick in the 3rd round has to be in the running. He's the best blocker (must not be undervalued), has joined a coach who loves the position, has weak competition from the rest of his class (I'm not a fan of Ebron or the others), and quite simply, the dude is a beast.
7. It is possible that Tom Savage will be the best quarterback from the 2014 class. He's not the favorite, but there are no guarantees for any other QB this year (no Andrew Luck is an understatement). He's got a chance to start, has joined up with a QB guru, and no one has a stronger arm. Let's be realistic, I wouldn't bet on it, but then again, I wouldn't bet against it.
I'm not trying to convince you Alfred Blue will be the best RB from the 2014 class, or Andre Hal the best slot corner, or Max Bullough the best inside linebacker, or Chjris Maikranz the best long snapper. I'm not trying to convince you Clowney will be the best defensive player ever. That would be crazy!
So are we residing in the realm of possibility? Five favorites and two guys in a major position to succeed? Yeah, that's legitimately possible.
To be the best draft in NFL history. Insane.