Until You Find Your QB...
After the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft concluded last night, the mood was mostly one of excitement on the 8th floor of NRG Stadium when the media met with head coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith. There was also a very crisp retort from O'Brien when someone asked about their draft strategy of building their defense until they find their quarterback.
"Until we find our QB?" O'Brien then continued, "I'm happy with our QB situation. To be honest with you, I'm pretty tired of hearing about it."
Obviously he doesn't want to get hounded on the quarterback topic in every presser, but seeing how it is the most important position on any NFL team, he's likely not done being asked about it until Houston actually does find that franchise signal-caller. At present time, the three quarterbacks on the roster bring more questions than answers. Ryan Mallett has two starts for the Texans (1-1), Tom Savage has no starts but played in only one game in which they lost, and he couldn't even figure out how to hand the ball to Arian Foster. I'll reserve comment about Brian Hoyer, who has not taken a single snap for Houston yet, because it is Friday and I want to be in a good mood.
When the only quarterbacks on your roster have collectively played less than three games and contributed to a 1-2 record, I think the head coach and general manager should expect to get asked questions about this critical role until is is clearly solidified.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Thankfully, the majority of the press conference focused on the Texans selection of Kevin Johnson (CB--Wake Forest) at 16th overall. It's a great pick, and I think it is brilliant to ensure that the secondary is stacked with talent to limit damage from offensive powerhouse teams like the Colts, Patriots and Broncos. Shutting down Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning is critical in order for Houston to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
For general manager and executive vice president Rick Smith, the decision to select cornerback Kevin Johnson on Thursday night was an easy one.
He was "by far" his favorite cornerback in the draft.
"When you can look at pictures and see this guy do everything that were going to ask him to do on film, you saw that on tape," Smith said Thursday night. "That’s not taking anything away from (Michigan State cornerback) Trae Waynes, we thought he was a great player as well. But when we’re talking about versatility and we’re talking about a guy who we saw do all the things that were going to ask him to do and we think he can do it in the slot and we think he can do it on the edge. When you put all those factors together and the way that he plays and how instinctive he is, that’s why he was my favorite."
"Where do you want me to begin?" O’Brien said when asked what he liked about Johnson.
The qualities that impressed the Texans head coach was an extensive one, but versatility and instincts also topped his list.
"I felt in the study that I did on him and that we did on him, that’s what stood out to us is that, in college, he could play on the outside, he could play inside, he could play press, he could play off, he had good length, he was competitive, and he was instinctive," O'Brien said. "It was obvious that he studied film and we feel really good about his ability to transfer that ability to our league."
Johnson spent five years at Wake Forest after being ruled academically ineligible to play his sophomore season. It didn't deter the Texans who saw Johnson's ability to learn from that misstep, becoming a three-year starter before graduating, as a positive character trait.
"I like those kind of situations where a guy is a young guy and might not be as mature as he needs to be, but then he turns it around and he did," Smith said. "He goes in and comes back and he starts three years and he graduates. He’s from a great family, so he represents what we like our players to look like. He’s a Houston Texan."
"We feel really good about the corner position, specifically after tonight with the addition of Kevin," O'Brien said. "We have two really good veteran corners in Johnathan and Kareem that he can learn behind. He’ll come in and compete right away. Nothing will be given to any rookie, but he’ll be given the opportunity to come in here and compete and we know he’s going to do that. It’s only April, but as far as April is concerned, we feel good about the secondary."