Two days into the field drills portion of the 2016 NFL combine, we still don’t know much about which prospects the Texans are or are not interested in. What we do know, however, is that Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith have already made it a point to get to know several linemen on both sides of the ball. According to Twitter and Walter Football’s handy visit tracker, the Texans have met with the following players either at the East-West Shrine game, Senior Bowl, or the NFL Combine.
1: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (Senior Bowl)
2: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Combine)
3: Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss (East-West)
4: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Combine)
5: Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State (Combine)
6: John Theus, OT, Georgia (Senior Bowl)
7. William Jackson, CB, Houston (Combine)
The name that obviously stands out the most in that group is Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. While not a surefire first round prospect, there is a decent chance that the gigantic and impressively athletic passer will be available to Houston in the second round if Bill O’Brien feels like spending a couple of years developing him into a pro-style signal caller. O’Brien no doubt used the majority of his meeting with Lynch to determine if the former Tiger had the mental fortitude to quickly adapt to the new concepts he will need to master at the next level. If Lynch demonstrated a high enough football IQ in that whiteboard session to inspire confidence in his future, he could be a very, very rewarding developmental player down the line.
The other notable narrative to come out of this admittedly short prospect list is the focus on offensive tackles. Duane Brown and Derek Newton seem to be a solid tackle pairing, but life after Brown is creeping ever closer as he approaches the ripe age of 31 this coming season. If (and this is a huge "if") no favorable quarterback or running back prospects are on the board at No. 22, taking a left tackle of the future is a legitimate option is Houston cannot find a way to trade down.
What do you think, BRB? Assuming both Paxton Lynch and former O’Brien pupil Christian Hackenberg are on the board, which quarterback would you take in the 2016 NFL Draft?