The Houston Texans Shouldn’t Sleep On Shane Carden


This year’s draft class is lacking one huge element that the Houston Texans desperately need: quarterbacks. Two of the top prospects, Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, have done an excellent job so far of hogging the spotlight at the position.

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But it’s little known East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden whom might be the sleeper pick in this draft. And it’s the Houston Texans who could ultimately benefit.

The quarterback position is a huge question mark for Houston going into this year. And it’s important that the Texans figured out how to improve under center if they want to make the playoffs in 2015.

Will Houston try and re-sign free agent quarterback Ryan Mallett? Can veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick be a leader on this team and once again become the starter? Or are the Texans better off starting fresh and drafting someone brand new?

Carden could be the answer in Houston. As a three-year starter for the Pirates, Carden threw for 11,991 passing yards, 86 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He completed an impressive 66.6% of his passes in that time.

On paper, the young prospect’s college stats resemble what New Orleans’ quarterback Drew Brees does now in the NFL.

The 13-year veteran quarterback is a big yardage guy, having several seasons with 4,000+ yards under his belt. In fact, Brees hasn’t dipped under that mark since 2006.

But his biggest downfall has always been his interceptions. Last season, Brees threw 17 of them, as opposed to 33 touchdowns. Carden’s college stats are comparable, with large yardage totals and consistent interceptions (10 per season). And at just 6’2, he even has a similar build as the Saints’ franchise quarterback (6’0).

It’s also clear that Carden shares another valuable trait with Brees: leadership. Over at NFL Mocks, this attribute was praised in the young prospect’s evaluation.

"“Carden took a leadership from the beginning with the Pirates, and effectively led the program to countless wins during his time under center. He appears to be a very team-friendly player on and off the field, something NFL teams covet.”"

But there are also several reasons why no one is talking about Carden. Despite his leadership qualities and work ethic, NFL scouts have reservations about the young quarterback’s mental and physical abilities at the next level. Here’s what one AFC nation scout told concerning Carden:

"“He looks like he’s throwing a javelin and he is on the wrong side of where we want quarterbacks to be in terms of athleticism, arm strength and accuracy, but his intangibles are way up there. I absolutely love his competitive nature but I wish he had better traits.”"

Carden is certainly no guarantee to be the next great NFL quarterback, but that’s why he’s a “sleeper” pick. And low-risk sleeper picks, like the East Carolina gunslinger, can pay off big.

As an example, New England Patriots’ Tom Brady was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. And more recently, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson was chosen in the third round back in 2012.

I’m not saying great quarterbacks aren’t taken in the first and second round, because they have been. But it’s not always fair to say that a late round, sleeper quarterback can’t succeed in the NFL either.

Currently projected to go somewhere between the fifth and seventh rounds in the upcoming draft, the Texans shouldn’t sleep on Shane Carden. He might just be the answer they are looking for.

Next: Texans: Is Josh McCown The Answer At Quarterback?