The last thing on anyone’s mind right now has been a quarterback.
Oct 21, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) calls a play against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
So far, this past month has devised of exactly what we thought the Houston Texans would do. They freed up some cap space by releasing wide receiver Kevin Walter. Desperately tried to hold on to safety Glover Quin, but failed. And lost a few bargain free agents to other teams – mainly the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ed Reed was the only surprise of this early offseason. There’s probably a lot more to come from head coach Gary Kubiak once Organized Team Activities kick off in May, but since the Texans have addressed a few of their needs already, there’s a lingering question that remains: do the Texans need another quarterback?
The Matt Schaub debate currently looks like this. Some fans look at him as the Pro Bowl, 4’000-yard passer that he was in 2012. Others look at him as the guy who threw only two touchdowns in the postseason last year, and has accuracy problems in big games.
Schaub will definitely be the starter come Week 1 of the season, since Kubiak seems committed to him in the long term. What stands out about the Texans’ roster though, is the lack of depth behind Schaub – as well as the lack of developmental talent and competition surrounding the position. By all means, T.J. Yates is perhaps one of the most promising backups in the league. Kubiak apparently “thinks a lot” of him and fellow man Case Keenum, but that doesn’t mean the Texans won’t take a look at another young prospect in later rounds this year.
What has some fans angry though is the Texans’ late attention to the quarterback position. Of all years to draft a quarterback, 2013 isn’t the one – leaving guys like Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel as the top picks, while the skill level between them and others remains significantly large. If anything, looking at a quarterback should have happened last year, following Schaub’s injury, not now when a wide receiver is also desperately needed.
But of course, it’s not all bad. If the Texans do want to add some flavour to the quarterback rotation just in case Schaub struggles to get past the Divisional Round of the playoffs again, there’s still a few guys worth mentioning in this years class.
The first is Ryan Nassib coming out of Syracuse. No one knows how high he is going to jump, and some even think he could be a first round pick. If the draft folds out like most predict though, Geno Smith will beat him, and leave Nassib to fall to later rounds. It’s hard to see the Texans drafting a passer before the third, but if Nassib is available it wouldn’t be a shock to see general manager Rick Smith invest.
Nassib offers a lot of accuracy and a solid set of feet, a category Schaub and Yates combined for -10 yards in last season. Nassib does need some work on his mechanics and his footwork according to scouts, but his deep ball is a threat giving wide receivers a chance to make plays in space.
Another name the Texans could look at is Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson. He’s a guy that the Texans may be lucky to have a chance at in the draft since Wilson drastically improved his stock two weeks ago at the Razorback’s Pro Day. Wilson hasn’t been concerned about his speed though after running a 4.95 dash time, instead focusing on routes and his throwing skillset. He’s earned a solid rep as one of the more accurate prospects – especially after averaging 307.9 yards a game last season.
If guys like Nassib and Wilson aren’t around, there’s also a chance the Texans could aim a little lower and take a look at someone like USC’s Matt Barkley or North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon. Both come with target problems and issues in the pocket, but both have the experience and leadership coming from big time pressure roles in college.
So far the Texans have drafted six quarterbacks in their history, two of them coming in the past four years. Alex Brink flopped and is now in the CFL, while we wait and see how Yates turns out underneath Schaub. The Texans passing game is far from a problem, and could be boosted a lot with the addition of a second man next to Andre Johnson. The addition of fullback Greg Jones should also help to keep Schaub off the turf a little more.
If the Texans can draft a young wide receiver within the first two rounds, they could solve the rest of their offensive quandary by selecting a quarterback in the fourth or fifth.
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