I’ll never forget the 2014 NFL Draft. I was drowning at the time and I didn’t even know it. As I was bobbing in the water, the Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney, ho hum, number one overall. Then the quarterbacks fell and fell and fell. Houston could get one. Houston could get the quarterback I wanted.
Then they didn’t. The Vikings jumped ahead of Houston at the end of the first round and selected Teddy Bridgewater. The Texans drafted Xavier Su’a-Filo with the first pick of the second round the next night, and the Raiders and Patriots lapped up Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. Houston still needed a quarterback. They left with Tom Savage.
That was four years ago. Those rookie contracts are now over and done with (except Clowney’s fifth-year option). Su’a-Filo became a free agent and Houston opted to sign two different guards in Senio Kelemete and Zach Fulton instead of re-signing XSF.
Today, the Tennessee Titans signed Su’a-Filo to a contract, with terms to be announced within the next few days.
Only Clowney, Jay Prosch, and Andre Hal are left from the Texans’ unforgettable 2014 draft. That class was supposed to make the Texans big and strong up front, That class was lauded by Mel Kiper at the time.
I know Su’a-Filo will be hated by Texans fans forever. Which is fine. When he whiffed, he whiffed bad. The majority only see the whiffs. Offensive line play is a strange and complicated thing. The truth is Su’a-Filo gained the strength he needed to be a good offensive lineman, but he could never get his hands right. He wouldn’t suffocate blocks in pass protection. He’d fall off blocks at the first level. He’d shove at the second level, only to feel very stupid when that linebacker went and made the tackle. That one fatal flaw clipped him from ever reaching his draft pedigree and potential.
In Tennessee, he’ll be a third guard behind Josh Kline and Quinton Spain. They’ll probably use him as a sixth offensive lineman as well. Maybe, just maybe, a different coaching staff can teach him how to punch and grab. If so, he will actually become a good player. It will just happen in a different uniform.