The Houston Texans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace last season and now find themselves with the coveted 1st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The general consensus is that they will pick one of the crop of promising QBs available, however with freakish defensive talent available this year will they surprise us and wait until round 2 to pick up a QB. In our opinion this is more plausible than it looks at first glance and they may like they did in the past draft a [player who will make an immediate impact like they did with Mario Williams rather than pick potential.
The reason we think there is a chance they will is that there are a few good QBs flying under the radar at the moment and the following may be available in the latter rounds and certainly late 1st or early second.
Derek Carr. Derek played at Fresno State and is the brother of one time Texan’s QB David Carr who went first overall in 2002. His profile is lower as Fresno play in the Mountain West Conference where he put up impressive numbers, although sadly he did struggle a bit in the Las Vegas bowl last season against USC. However this was a big step up from his usual opposition and with no disrespect to his team mates on then day he will get considerably better protection behind a Pro NFL line. At 6-2 and 213 lbs. he has the size and his 4.69 4o yard dash at the Combine was pretty impressive for a QB. One other advantage he has is his maturity, being married with a son he is less likely to let the sudden fame and money go to his head – something which needs considering. He should be around late in the 1st if they wanted to trade back in or may even fall to the early part of round 2.
Alabama QB A.J. McCarron may also drop to the second round and although he had the luxury of playing under a great coach in Nick Saben and of being surrounded by talent, its hard to knock a player who led his team to two national championships. Also having played in the high profile SEC will have helped prepare him for the pressure of the NFL His combine performance was adequate where his throwing raised a few positive eyebrows, and his 4.94-second 40-yard dash which not up with the leaders is good enough. If the Texans get the right offensive personnel he is god enough to start and win games for them.
Others worthy of later round consideration include Zach Mettenberger out of LSU who at 6’5” and 224 pounds has the size and strength needed by a pocket passer. He has a big throwing arm and plenty of experience of big games having played in then SEC. He has some injury worries, but put behind a veteran QB for a season could prove good value in the 4th or 5th round. He will be well versed having been coached by Cam Cameron last season who is a well respected former NFL offensive coordinator, so he could probably take the starters job if push came to shove.
One final player who we like having seen a bit of him on TV last year is Connor Shaw who was South Carolina ‘s stating QB from 2011 -2013. he would probably best be described as steady rather than spectacular, and at 6ft he is not as tall as the conventional wisdom indicates a QB needs to be. However what is undeniable is that he is one of the Gamecocks most successful QB’s in their history, leading the team to a 27-5 record as a starter in the SEC including going 17-0 at home. Last season he had 24 touchdowns and only one interception and in his final game at the Capital One Bowl he threw 3 touchdowns ran for one and caught one. his throwing stats were 22-25 for 312 yards and he was voted the game’s most valuable player. He ran an impressive 4.66-second 40-yard dash at the combine, (one of the fastest times) and was consistently in the top five in most of the field drills. With QBs like Russell Wilson showing that size is less of an issue if you have speed and consistency Conner Shaw is a player worth taking a punt on if as we expect he falls to the later rounds. The Texans could pick him up cheap and try him out behind a veteran starter and see what pans out.
Given this at this stage we are sticking with our view that the Texans will take Jadeveon Clowney with the No one pick or that they may even trade down a little if someone really wants a QB with the No 1 pick.