The Three Choices: Bridgewater, Manziel or Clowney – Which Player Should the Houston Texans Select With Their #1 Pick In The 2014 NFL Draft? So ... who is it gonna' be? Which young man is going to hold up that jersey and be the Houston Texans #1 draft pick come May of this year?
- Is it going to be the hot-flash sensation that ripped up the Southeastern Conference the last two years (and the only quarterback who made the vaunted University of Alabama defense look bad … twice)?
- Is it the stud that came upon the national scene with a jarring, helmet-removing hit on a University of Michigan running back in the 2012 Citrus Bowl?
- Is it the steady, Cool-Hand-Luke personality who impressed people starting with the 2012 Sugar Bowl performance against the University of Florida?
Whether it’ll be Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater, each man would fill a huge need of the 2-14 Houston Texans. Here’s what makes their dilemma so pressing:
Quick. Name a Texan defender besides defensive end JJ Watt.
I’ll give you some time.
I’ll give you credit if you said the hard-luck inside middle linebacker, Brian Cushing. My point is this: You would be hard-pressed to name a defender unless you’re a huge supporter of the team. The Houston Texans defense needs all the help they can get. In order for them to get to the elite status as a defense, the Texans need a second pass rusher. Watt should not have to be the #1 pass rushing threat – especially in a 3-4 system they’ve run the last three years under former defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, and will continue to run with new defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel. There’s no question another pass rusher from the end position would be great.Do you trust Schaub?
On offense – here is the key question: Do you trust quarterback Matt Schaub? Will he be the signal caller who was torching the NFL in a flawless four-game stretch of football in 2011 before former Buccaneers defensive lineman (and troublemaker extraordinaire) Albert Haynesworth rolled on his foot to end his season? Or will the man who has started as quarterback for the Texans the last eight consecutive opening day games throw more pick-six interceptions like he did last year? More than likely, it’ll be somewhere in between. Texans supporters have seen that result, as well. Look at 2012, where Schaub looked great in stretches (@ Denver), and looked completely outmatched in others (@ New England). My answer to this question is, “No.”
Before the Texans draft, they must look at the key need positions. They definitely have a hole at QB. It’s not the offensive line – although they could stand to improve the right side a little more (especially with their run blocking). Matt Schaub is on the wrong side of 30, and Case Keenum is exciting to watch. However, the scheme new head coach, Bill O’Brien, would like to run on offense would mirror what the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots execute. He wants to give teams different looks with a strong pocket passer intelligent enough to not make the key mistake on a drive. The way Keenum could be more effective is if the Texans ran a style of offense similar to the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. They would need a bruiser at running back and a patient pass-blocking offense with a rolling pocket. Since I don’t see this happening any time soon, neither man fits the bill.
They certainly have a need at the safety position. With Danieal Manning recovering from a season-ending injury and their prized free agent, Ed Reed, a bust, the need is strong to get someone of quality in the last line of defense. O.J. Swearinger was good in his rookie season, but he was still in the learning process. The team suffered from losing safety Glover Quinn to free agency before the 2013 season – because the unit never recovered from the loss. There’s no one high on the draft board to fill the safety need.
Then, there are the players. Let’s be honest: There are only three player considerations with two of them coming into play for the Texans. I really do believe the Cleveland Browns will make a huge play for Manziel and it’ll involve the Houston Texans in order to do it. The question is, “Who would be the other player the Texans will receive?” The Texans are known for being thrifty. Trading a quarterback straight-up for another would defeat the purpose for the Texans as they could simply draft a signal caller for themselves. However, if they draft someone of lesser value than at the QB position (because draft positioning does equate how much you’re willing to pay a player coming out of college) then I could easily see a Manziel-for-Clowney draft day trade.
My personal feeling is that the Texans will either draft Clowney or get him in a sign-and-trade deal with the Cleveland Browns after drafting Manziel. That’ll highly disappoint a lot of Texans hopeful because of seeing Johnny Football for the last two years in their backyard. However, Manziel is not even the best quarterback in the draft. That honor goes to Teddy Bridgewater – but he is not considered the best player on the draft board. He simply doesn’t wow people with something extraordinary. Take the 2012 NFL Draft: Andrew Luck wowed folks with his size and intelligence. Robert Griffin, III wowed people with his athleticism and arm. Russell Wilson wowed people with his calmness and tenacity. Bridgewater has none of these qualities in abundance. He has decent size. He’s athletic enough – certainly more mobile than Schaub and probably a little more fleet of foot than Keenum. He is prone to making mistakes, but he is not an out-of-control player.
That makes Clowney the slam dunk choice for the Texans. Uh – not so fast!
The #1 rule to doing anything risky is to be unafraid in taking chances. The Texans haven’t trusted a quarterback straight out of college since the franchise began in 2002 (David Carr). Sometimes, a team has to hit the reset button and start from the ground floor. The aforementioned Wilson and Brady were both not drafted in the first round. Then again, the Colts and Redskins mortgaged their future to draft Luck and RGIII respectively. The Texans really haven’t gone out on a limb with a draft choice – especially on offense. The team has only drafted four first round picks on the offensive side of the ball – QB Carr in 2002, WR Andre Johnson in 2003, LT Duane Brown in 2008 and WR DeAndre Hopkins last year. So the Texans have a history of drafting a defensive player in the first round.
This year should be different. The team needs to hit the ‘reset’ button at quarterback. Most of the pieces on offense are there. The Texans can draft a running back to help RB Arian Foster carry the load, gather more depth on the offensive line and draft one more wide receiver and they’ll be set. The NFL Commissioner should say the following words this May to begin the draft:
“With the 1st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texas select …. Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville!”
There really shouldn’t be any other direction the Texans should head – but I have a feeling they will go elsewhere in their draft selection.