by Mario "Game" Granata
With the NFL Draft taking place later then it has in previous years, it gives many teams the time needed to address certain needs in free agency. However many of the teams are acting like it’s the final table of the World Series of Poker with the stories that leak, the rumors that surface, and the ‘card game’ that many of these teams play to throw other organizations off their scent. The Houston Texans are on the clock, but will they put all their chips in on the Jadaveon Clowney hand?
A lot of speculation has been made on where the Houston Texans will go when the 2014 NFL Draft kicks off on May 8th in New York, but what hasn’t been mentioned is that the Texans might not even take a player with the first pick. Taking a look at the coaching tree that Bill O’Brien has descended from, one can see that he spent a half of a decade patrolling the sidelines with the New England Patriots, and more importantly was involved with the draft process with the Patriots organization.
The New England Patriots are not shy about trading out of the first round, if they can acquire more picks, in order to get value for players, not paying top dollar, if those players will fit into a certain system. O’Brien has seen this, and the Texans team that he has inherited wasn’t as bad as the 2-14 record would indicate. They have some valuable pieces already in place on this team, and with the right mix of players should be vying for the AFC South title in 2014 with O’Brien at the helm. Clowney or Manziel is the question, but here are a few reasons why Houston won’t hold onto the #1 overall pick.
They’ve Been Down This Road Before. In 2006, the Texans held the #1 overall pick, and decided to go with Mario Williams, when many people said that they needed a quarterback as well. With names like Matt Leinart, Vince Young, and Jay Cutler being the top quarterback prospects of that draft, the Texans selected Williams and went 6-10, and had a defense ranked 25th in the league. Their defense is solid, and although the addition of Clowney would be a boost, he is not an immediate need.
The Patriot Way. With the addition, especially to the coaching staff, of former New England Patriots, they have a history of trading back in the draft, to fill multiple needs. With other teams clamoring for the #1 overall pick, they Texans can receive multiple picks in a very deep draft to fill needs that they have, both on the back end of the defense and at the quarterback position. If you are the Texans and you are thinking long term, you are going to want to stay away from Manziel. His body type isn’t one that will hold up in the NFL, and once teams figure him out, he doesn’t have the foundation to rely on his experience. They can pick up AJ McCarron or Aaron Murray in the later rounds and still have a very serviceable quarterback.
The Last Two Super Bowls. When taking a look at the Baltimore Ravens of 2012 and the Seattle Seahawks of 2013, they were able to capture the Lombardi Trophy by playing solid defense and having a top tier rushing attack. The Ravens Defense, and Ray Rice served to carry Joe Flacco, and the Seattle Defense and Marshawn Lynch were good enough that Russell Wilson didn’t have to make a lot of plays. Not taking anything away from Flacco and Wilson, but when you have a punishing defense, and a running game, that makes the transition for a new quarterback a lot easier. The Texans defense is very talented and a healthy Arian Foster is a viable threat, especially in a weak AFC South.
Thinking short term, yes, Clowney would be a sexy pick to put next to JJ Watt, but if the Texans want to make it to the next level and stay there for a while, taking a page out of the Patriots draft process would serve to make them a team to beat in the upcoming years. The Patriots traded back many times in the past 15 years, and when they started their run with a young Tom Brady, they had a good running game, and a defense that would help him out until he got the hang of it, which he did. O’Brien, Romeo Crennel, George Godsey and Mike Vrabel they have a coaching staff that knows what it takes to be champions…you have to draft like them.
4/15/2014 06:36:34 pm
The problem with that theory they will trade out of #1 pick is that when the Patriots do it, they typically trade out of later pick. In last 15 years Pats have had two top ten picks, one of their own (#6) and one via trade (#10) and made both picks. The lowest spot they traded out of was #16. Your talking #1 here there is no precedent with Pats in recent memory trading a pick that high. Also with such a deep draft I think most teams will stay where they are because they have shot at similar talent without giving up assets. Only a few teams with picks to spare in draft ( SF & Balt for ex) and they don't need to move that high to help their rosters. I think they have to go QB at the top, recent years are exceptions to rule, QB is still single key position to winning a title, Just my two cents.
You bring up some interesting points, Josh, but lets not forget the lineage that is apparent here. True, the Pats never traded (or had a pick) that high before, but if they did, and they were able to garner some interest for it, in a deep class, why not get rid of it? The draft is more important than ever, and the more players you can draft, the better your team will be, especially with the talent at multiple positions. The only team that would like to get back in the first round, and a team the Texans won't trade with is Indianapolis. Tough to give division rivals picks. If you are the Texans, and you are offered multiple picks in this draft, and a first round pick in 2015, wouldn't you do it?
4/16/2014 06:24:35 am
Just to make a point, Jerry Jones has traded his first round pick in 20 out of 25 drafts...he has gone up, down, down then back up, and that team is soooo cap strapped, the only way they are going to field a team is to mortage future years to acquire a lot of picks and fill the roster with servicable starters at affordable entry level deals...just saying.
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