First and foremost, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien told NFL Network (h/t to PFT) at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. that his team plans to draft a quarterback. It makes sense. They traded Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders, and even after the Texans' signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick, it's clear that the team needs some young blood at the position.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we’ll draft a quarterback in the draft,” O’Brien said. “Where we draft that quarterback, I don’t think we know yet. We don’t even know that yet. We’re still in the process of studying all these prospects, in the process of putting a grade on them and place them where they would be in the draft.
"The big thing is it’s such a long process. We’re in the stage now where we go to the pro days and eventually we bring them into our facility for an interview, we call it an on-campus interview in Houston. As we get closer and closer we’ll obviously be able to make a decision.”
“There’s not a lot of separation, and there are more quarterbacks than just three. Obviously, the three guys that everybody talks about, Blake, Teddy and Johnny, those guys are good players. They had great college careers. But there are other guys out there,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also mentioned several other quarterbacks — Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, Pitt’s Tim Savage and Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo.
“To me, you’ve got 10 or 12 guys you’ve got to do a great job of evaluating and make the best pick possible where ever you draft these guys. I see a lot of good quarterbacks,” O’Brien said.
And which one did O'Brien forget to mention? Hmm, you guessed it — Carr.
We're half kidding here, of course. But it is interesting that O'Brien went as deep as Savage — who might slip until the final few rounds of the draft — without mentioning Carr. He has appeared to be the hidden weapon in this draft, which is interesting in that (a) his brother was a former No. 1 overall pick and that (b) Derek Carr was clearly the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl.
Carr is on the rise. He just had a terrific pro day and has been linked with all the QB-needy teams near the top of the draft, and though he was expected to be a late first- or early second-round pick at one point, he almost certainly has vaulted himself higher now. We just don't know if O'Brien's non-comment is a smokescreen or a simple omission.
More likely, Carr isn't on the Texans' radar with the first pick. His brother, David, went from a beacon of light in the franchise's infancy to a semi-broken man who limped out of town — and was ushered by boos, too — amid his own struggles as well as that of some terrible offensive lines after five rough seasons there. Derek often has spoken of hearing those boos when he was watching his brother growing up. It has motivated him, but perhaps not in an I-want-to-go-there-and-prove-those-people-wrong kind of way. Likewise, the Texans might try to avoid that stigma altogether unless it's clear to them that Carr is far and away the best quarterback available, and then it might be unavoidable.
Do you see, NFL, what you have done to us by pushing the draft back? We have resorted to mincing the words that head coaches do not say? We blame this on you. Six weeks until draft week ... sigh.
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