I can only assume I speak for the vast majority of Texans fans, bloggers, analysts, etc., when I say Houston’s QB strategy in the upcoming NFL Draft is the same regardless of Tony Romo’s future.
Following that logic, let’s see how some of the BRB staff (and friends) would handle Rick Smith’s 2017 NFL Draft capital:
My two favorite quarterbacks in the class are DeShone Kizer and Pat Mahomes. I think Kizer is more of the known quantity, and I thought he performed fantastic under pressure at ND. I would welcome a trade-up to perhaps the bottom of the top 10, if that's what it took, to go get him. Though man, it's really hard to be trading up without next year's second. Thanks Brock.
Mahomes I think has the potential to be the best quarterback in the draft, but also the potential to be the final straw for O'Brien and Rick Smith if he plummets. Still, better than the system QB reputation he gets and someone potentially available a little later.
I would be happy with Deshaun Watson. I would be a little wary of Trubisky.
I prefer DeShone Kizer myself, though I don't *hate* Mitch Trubisky either. There is a decent shot that Kizer is sitting there at 25, considering the hype that Trubisky and DeShaun Watson have generated all offseason. If Kizer does last until the late first round, I could definitely see Bill O'Brien trying to reunite him with his former teammates Will Fuller and Nick Martin.
Kizer for me too. I just think the offense needs to have a QB who can throw accurately on the more intermediary to deep routes, and what I like the most from Kizer is that he can do it more than (for me) any other player in this draft.
I wouldn't say no to Kaaya or Watson, but Kizer is top of the list.
I'd love to see Deshaun Watson fall to Houston in some Aaron Rodgers/Ben Roethelisberger style draft day tumble. He's a high character guy who knows how to get the most out of the players around him to win and win big. Imagine him getting Hopkins, the Miller Brothers, and Will Fuller playing above the level we've ever seen from any of them. He's the kind of guy that gets other to rise above. That's what Houston needs.
Patrick Mahomes intrigues me as a more realistic player to be available when the Texans pick. The comparisons to Brett Favre excite me as a fan of the game. Should he even end up being 75% of the player Favre was, he'll be 50% better than any QB Houston has ever had.
This is a really tough class of quarterbacks to evaluate. With the Texans picking 25th, there's just no way to know for sure what might happen. First, let's consider the teams above Houston in the draft order who may grab one of the quarterbacks in this draft: Cleveland has pick #1 and #12. I strongly suspect they will take Myles Garret with the first overall pick, and then get a QB with #12 (or move up even higher). Here's the rest of the "quarterback-needy" board:
2. 49ers - They may focus on defensive players as Kyle Shanahan waits for 2018 to get reunited with Kirk Cousins.
3. Bears - Signing Mike Glennon isn't likely the long-term answer, but are any of this draft's quarterbacks good enough to pass on the strong defensive talent available at No. 3? Not really.
4, Jaguars - Clearly Blake Bortles is not "the guy," but are any of these quarterbacks really worth a Top Five pick? Not in my estimation.
5. Jets - This might actually be the highest that we see a quarterback selected in this draft. It would be a reach, but that's what happens with desperation at this position.
This is where it gets interesting for the Texans...
11. Saints - New Orleans is in dire need of building up their defense. While they eventually need to prepare for replacing Drew Brees, I just don't see that happening in this draft. This might actually be an interesting trade spot if Houston wants to move in front of Cleveland. It might take a defensive player from Houston's roster, along with Pick #25 and a conditional pick in 2018 to get it done.
12. Browns - I can see them taking a quarterback here, although they could just as easily grab more defensive talent and use other picks as trade capital to move back into the first round later on. The Jimmy Garoppolo trade with New England may still happen, and that may also be what we see as this pick hits the clock. If I were a betting man, I would suggest that is indeed what happens.
13. Cardinals - This may be the toughest spot for Arizona. They certainly could use a quarterback to develop, but assuming one or two signal callers are already gone at this point, do they grab the third-best one with this pick? I doubt it.
23. Giants - Much like Arizona, New York could use a quarterback to develop. Will they do it with this uncertain draft class? I don't think so, but teams get desperate with respect to quarterback situations, so who knows.
25. Texans - Will Houston sit tight and see what the board looks like at #25? If they really feel strongly about one of these guys, I could see them making the move with the Saints to get their guy before Cleveland picks at #12. However, I'd much rather see Houston grab the best cornerback or safety at #25, and then move back into the first round to grab a quarterback. That would give them the fifth-year option to extend the QB’s development window before facing contract and free agency pressure.
Now let's consider the presumed top-five quarterback talent. DeShone Kizer is likely the top candidate in this class from a pure talent and potential perspective, but he struggled to perform during a season when his team went 4-8. With Deshaun Watson, I love the leadership skills and the will to win as he led his team through battle to victory in the biggest of NCAA games, but his throwing mechanics and slow velocity are very concerning at the next level. Mitchell Trubisky has an NFL arm and respectable traits to succeed at the next level, but translating that spread offense to the NFL is the obvious question mark. Patrick Mahomes is the wildest gunslinger to emerge in many years, with a cannon for an arm and the fearlessness of Elway, Cutler and Favre. Unfortunately, his unpredictability might be a big mismatch for Bill O'Brien's personality and system. Davis Webb has the size, but lacks accuracy; his NFL comparison is Brock Osweiler, so I suspect he isn't even on the Texans' board.
What I would LOVE to see happen is for all of these quarterbacks to fall out of the top ten as teams gobble up the premier defensive talent available in this draft, and for Houston to make a trade with New Orleans to select DeShone Kizer with the 11th overall pick.
What I think will happen is the Jets will grab DeShone Kizer at #5; the Browns will make the trade with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo with #12 (along with some other draft capital); the Giants select Mitchell Trubisky at #23; Houston takes OT Garett Bolles at #25, and then the Texans move back into first round (probably with Atlanta at #31) to select Patrick Mahomes. I would be fine with this outcome as well. Maybe. I don’t know. I just don’t know what to think or trust with respect to the Houston Texans and their approach to the quarterback position.
I think Trubisky is likely the first QB off the board and won’t be there when the Texans go on the clock. Of the remaining alleged first-round prospects, I suppose I’d rank them in order of preference for the Texans as (1) Kizer; (2) Watson; (3) Mahomes.
In theory, I’d be fine with Kizer or Watson at No. 25, though I don’t know that either will be close to the best player available at that point. For all Mahomes’ physical talents, he would be the quarterback I’d be least thrilled with and most concerned about in the first round. I’d feel better about Mahomes-to-Houston in the second round, but I doubt he’ll be there at No. 57. Even then, I don’t think I’d be upset about missing out on Mahomes.
Pretty varied opinions there. My preference is Mahomes, but honestly I’ve done zero draft research so my opinion is 1) worthless and 2) ill-informed.
How do you see it, BRB? I know some of you have done your research. Who ya got?