At one point in time, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was the third best player in college football. Now, he’s an undrafted free agent who has just joined the Texans.
Jan. 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) against the Oregon Ducks during the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Oregon defeated Kansas State 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Klein was never expected to be drafted early in this years’ class, if at all. People like to compare him to Tim Tebow, another guy that was noted for his wobbly throwing arm but powerful and fast feet that may never transition to the NFL. But unlike Tebow, Klein wasn’t drafted by the Texans to challenge for the starting role, and he probably never will.
The Texans now have five quarterbacks on their roster, and only two of them have seen realistic game time recently. Klein is a former Heisman Trophy finalist, but his awkward throwing motion kept a lot of teams away from him in the draft this year.
Despite manning Kansas State’s spread offense for four seasons, Klein threw for 2646-yards in 2012, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those nine picks were ugly and made Klein’s arm look worse, but he managed to save himself with incredible rushing numbers by seasons end.
Perhaps the reason the Texans even considered Klein when it came time to take a look at undrafted free agents, was because of his rare ability to rush to the outside – or down the middle – and dodge defenders. With 925-yards on the ground a season ago, Klein had better rushing numbers than guys like Aaron Rodgers, and his 23-touchdowns are easily what made him a Heisman candidate.
The Texans gain a quarterback with unique ability, for seemingly nothing. The quarterback spot will be a huge position of interest now that the list stands as: Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum, Stephen McGee and Klein; in that order. Two of those names will probably be cut off once training camp gets into the thick of things, but Klein could be a guy that pops up as a solid backup down the stretch.
As for his difficulties with throwing, Klein is lucky. With rushing numbers like he had, he can easily play as a tight end or wide receiver one day, even though he’s set on being a quarterback. Klein was asked to work out as a tight end during the Combine, but since working on his throwing mechanics with Jake Plummer, he wouldn’t budge.
All of that works in the Texans’ favor if Klein realizes in a few years’ time that this quarterback thing isn’t for him. When it comes to getting the ball into the endzone, Klein is good. On third down plays though, he only completed 50 of his 80 attempts last year – that was bad.
At 226-pounds, Klein has room to play a different position if he likes. For now, the Texans picked up a pretty versatile player that could become something in the future.
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