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2017 NFL Draft: To Trade Or Not To Trade?

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What are the chances the Texans trade their pick?

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
Duane Brown became a Texan thanks to a first round trade back in ‘08.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Thursday’s draft is looming and the Texans are sitting with the 25th pick. However, there is no guarantee that 25th is where the Texans will draft. To stay or not to stay, that is the question for the Texans heading into Round 1. There are pros and cons to each scenario, so let’s play them out.

Trading Up

The last time the Texans traded up in the first round was all the way back in the year 2016. The Texans traded the 22nd pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Redskins for the 21st pick, which they promptly used to select Will Fuller. If they traded up just one spot to grab Fuller, it really shows how much the Texans wanted him. Given that it was so recent, it would not be surprising if the Texans went this route again.

The last time the Texans traded up for a quarterback was back in 2003 when they traded up with Atlanta in the third round to select Dave Ragone. Rick Smith, who took over as general manager in 2006 (after the Ragone trade), has never traded up to take a quarterback. In fact, the Texans have drafted just three quarterbacks in Rick Smith’s entire tenure, and they have never drafted a quarterback before Day 3 during that time.

I’d say the Texans trading up in the 2017 NFL Draft depends on which quarterbacks go early. There is a lot of speculation as to where Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes II will end up. There is a chance that the Texans could have all of the above to choose from when it comes time for them to go on the clock. There’s also a good chance all of those QBs are long gone way by 25.

Trubisky is still reportedly in consideration as the top overall pick for Cleveland, and the Browns also have the 12th overall selection. Watson is rumored to possibly go second overall to the 49ers, and the Jets at six are a total wild card who could take any player on the board. Mahomes has allegedly been flying up teams’ draft boards, and rightfully so. He could go as high as sixth to the Jets or he could fall into the second round pick. There are teams like the Saints at 11 and the Cardinals at 13 that could draft a quarterback to develop behind their established veteran starter.

After the 13th pick, there are no teams that would clearly be interested in taking a quarterback until the Texans go on the clock at 25, so if Houston wants to trade up, they would likely need to move up at least a dozen spots to get the guy they really want. That’s a huge jump, especially in the first round. Depending on what the top baker’s dozen teams do in the draft, the Texans could have options.

If one of those three quarterbacks are available at 25, the Texans should take him, but I think all three will be gone. I think the price to trade up is too hefty for the Texans, which is why trading up in the draft is very unlikely.

Possibility: <5%

Trading Down

This is not something the Texans usually do, but it makes sense in this draft to do it. The Texans only finished last year with six draft selections, one less than the standard seven, and are already down one pick in next year’s draft thanks to the Brock Osweiler salary dump.

Trading down would allow the Texans to get a guy later in the draft that they would like to have at 25, but they can add another pick(s) in their arsenal, which is super valuable. If the quarterbacks worth taking at 25 (Mahomes, Trubisky, Watson) are gone, or if more than one are still available, the Texans should consider trading down in the first or even into the early second.

There is a lot of risk in this strategy, however. If the Texans trade down, another team could trade up and grab the quarterback the team desires. This happened in 2014, when the Texans took Jadeveon Clowney first overall. Teddy Bridgewater looked to be heading to the second round, but when the Vikings grabbed the last pick in the first round from the Seahawks. Bridgewater became a Viking and foiled the Texans’ plans. Had the Vikings never traded into the first round that year, Bridgewater is likely a Texan and the quarterback conundrum the team faces may not exist.

I think if the Texans are truly looking for a quarterback in the first round, trading down is not likely. However, I think Houston’s board is open to other positions, including tackle and safety. If the Texans’ target is someone that will be available later in the draft, they should trade down. For instance, if the Texans’ target is DeShone Kizer, trading down to the early second round makes a ton of sense because he will likely be available there.

While there is a lot of risk in trading down, there is less risk doing that than trading up. Teams that trade down have a higher chance of reward, so there is a better chance the team trades down than up, if the Texans trade at all.

Possibility: 10%

Stay Put at 25

I’d be surprised if the Texans don’t keep the 25th pick on Thursday night. The price to trade up is far too expensive, and it does not make sense to throw a bunch at the wall for a quarterback that is not a surefire solution. This quarterback class does not have any slam dunks in it, nor does it have anyone worth trading up more than ten spots for, which is what the Texans would have to do if they want to get the quarterback they want.

There is a chance that the Texans get lucky and the quarterback they want falls into their lap; they cannot guarantee that and they should not count on any of Mahomes, Trubisky, or Watson being there at 25. Quarterbacks like Kizer, Davis Webb, and Nathan Peterman will be on the board when the Texans pick again at 57 in the second round, and they might be looking to grab a player with less risk/cost with their first round pick.

As Texans fans know, Houston has done very well in the first round in Rick Smith’s tenure. Every first rounder since 2008 is still on the Texans’ roster, and more than half are Pro Bowlers. Of course, none of those guys are quarterbacks. All but two of these picks (Will Fuller and Duane Brown) were made by the Texans in their original draft position.

Because the draft is an inexact science, the player you take in the seventh round could be a better player than the player you take in the first. For instance, six quarterbacks were famously taken before Tom Brady, and Jamarcus Russell was a first overall pick. Look at their careers now.

The Texans are in a fine spot to take a very good football player with the 25th pick, quarterback or not. Because this team has needs other than quarterback, they should open their door to all prospects. Keeping their pick will allow them to have options, which is why I believe the Texans will keep their pick.

Possibility: 85%

Who will they take? That’s anyone’s guess.