The Houston Texans just capped off the worst season of their existence, have hit the reset button with new head coach Bill O'Brien and now might be in line for more big changes.
According to ESPN, Texans owner Bob McNair said the Texans are open to trading the first overall draft pick in May they earned by losing their final 14 games.
"Maybe we'll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player," McNair said Friday. "It's an exciting time. Everything's a moving target. Lot of different pieces."
Frankly, at this point, the bigger story would be McNair saying they were not open to trading the pick. But a team opening talk for a trade this early usually suggests that they are not in love with one particular player. The Carolina Panthers roundly discussed trading the first pick in 2012 before taking Cam Newton there.
This May's draft could be a quarterback bounty, depending on the underclassmen who declare, and the Texans sure could use one. Matt Schaub is expected to move on, and though Case Keenum likely will be back, it's not clear if the new staff views him as a legitimate long-term starting option.
Already in the mix for this year's draft are Fresno State senior Derek Carr and Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater, who entered the draft this week. Among those who could join him are Central Florida's fast-rising Blake Bortles, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and UCLA's Brett Hundley.
Depending on how it all shakes out, any or all of them could end up being top-10 picks when it's all said and done.
Bridgewater is an option at No. 1 if the Texans stand pat, and there's a chance he could slip a few picks. Carr likely isn't an option for the Texans, strange as it seems, because of his older brother — David Carr — who was the Texans' inaugural draft pick. That didn't quite work out, although there are no hard feelings in Houston for the Carr family or anything.
Manziel is fascinating in any town, but the local connection — he grew up and played high school and college ball within a few hours — adds a layer of intrigue. Bortles and Hundley also will appeal to teams picking high, if they enter. Are the Texans great fits for either? That remains to be seen.
Clearly, at 2-14, the Texans are far from perfect. They are not the instant-rice turnaround everyone thinks. Hence the desire to add as many quality players on both sides of the ball. Texans GM Rick Smith said they'll value talent and stick to their draft board as best they can.
"I don't think you take a particular position just because you need a particular position at any point in the draft, especially the first pick," Smith said. "So we'll rank it, we'll value it, and we'll make good choices if the opportunity presents itself to move back because it is a very valuable pick, and we'll entertain those as well."
The Texans took Carr first overall in 2002 and sent shockwaves across the NFL when they chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in 2007, even though Bush was seen as a perfect fit to an offensively needy team. But Williams has been the more consistent and dominant player, even after he moved onto the Buffalo Bills.
Could the Texans go defense over offense again? McNair chuckled at the historical significance, which will play little into this year's thinking.
"The defensive player worked out better than the offensive player," McNair said. "That won't lock us into anything."
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