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Why trading Schaub, signing Fitzpatrick means Texans thinking QB first overall

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

In-the-know Houston Chronicle writer John McClain has a good bead on the Texans' beat, and we agree with his latest assertion: the team's latest moves point to it selecting a quarterback with the first pick in the draft.

There are more than six weeks until that pick will be made, so there is time to figure out which player they'll take. But Friday's trade of Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders and the Texans' subsequent signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick points us toward a logical conclusion that a quarterback will be drafted and counted on to start in Houston. At some point.

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The beauty of Fitzpatrick is that he's smart, accepts the fact that he's a backup at this stage of his career (that's what he signed on with the Titans before Jake Locker got hurt) and that a rookie will take his place. We don't know if that will be Week 1, midseason or in 2015.

The Texans certainly could wait to draft their quarterback. They do have, after all, the 33rd pick in the draft. There might be a player of their liking there. Head coach Bill O'Brien privately worked out Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo at Northwestern's pro day last month (but didn't stick around for his throwing session for the masses, interestingly).

But all indications now are that the Texans won't wait. They'll take a quarterback No. 1. Why? It's the surest bet to get the player they like most at the position. We've assumed for months now that O'Brien, regarded as a QB guru, could try to find his guy lower down.

There's no good reason to risk missing out on a player they like, though. Whether it's UCF's Blake Bortles (the favorite, if you're asking me), Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater or Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, you can bet that O'Brien is at least comfortable with the idea of taking a quarterback first overall.

Note: We're eliminating Fresno State's Derek Carr from the equation here, despite the fact that his stock has seen a steady burn since the Senior Bowl, boosted by a strong pro day this week. Carr to Houston? We just can't see it, for nothing beyond familial reasons. Brother David, taken first overall by the Texans in 2002 – the franchise's first draft – had a rough go there, taking a physical and mental beating. Derek Carr has talked openly about hearing the boos for his brother as a kid and how rough that was when he was 10-12 years old. If Carr truly was head and shoulders above the lot, he'd be the pick. But he's not, and thus O'Brien isn't about to open that historical can of worms.

The Jadeveon Clowney folks might be shrugging with this latest development, but it's starting to make sense. Instead of wedging a not-quite-perfect fit (with a less-than-ideal work ethic, per Steve Spurrier) into a defense, the Texans will address their biggest need first. And that's a quarterback. It makes a lot of sense when you sit back and survey the whole picture.

 

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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