Patience Is Key In The Houston Texans Search For A Quarterback


The NFL Combine, held this year in mid-February in Indianapolis, is a sort of hub for the analysts and best minds of the league to come together every year. The primary focus of this event is the scouting of incoming rookie talent, but unavoidably countless other topics are discussed between these analysts, the media, and coaching staffs. This year, one of the hot topics that came up was the Houston Texans quarterback situation for 2015.

Questions are flying around as to whether or not the Texans should draft a quarterback high in the draft, try to find one in free agency, or if their answer behind center is already on the roster. NFL analysts from around the country weighed in on these questions.

When asked if the Texans should draft a quarterback this season, the general consensus was that while finding a talented field-general is important, it should not be the team’s first priority in the draft. Most of those interviewed felt that Houston should be patient, and either take a QB later in the draft, or not take one at all. This thinking is that Houston should ‘play it safe’ and avoid taking a big risk on a player that may very well be a bust.

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Plenty of players such as New England Patriot’s quarterback and four time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady (Drafted 199th overall in 2000), Dallas Cowboys quarterback and four time Pro-Bowler Tony Romo (Undrafted in 2003), and even former Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts quarterback and Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas (Drafted 102nd overall in 1955) have shown the ability for late-round picks to turn out well for teams.

These guys may not have had a whole lot of hype coming into the league, but it’s clear by their careers that they’ve all enjoyed quite a bit of success. They’re clearly not representative of every single late draft selection, but they show the potential for teams to grab great values late in the draft or in free-agency.

On the other hand, we have seen plenty of great draft busts such as former Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Jamarcus Russell (1st overall in 2007), former San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Ryan Leaf (2nd overall in 1998), and (this one hurts) former Houston Texans’ quarterback David Carr (1st overall in 2002).

All of these players were clearly expected to have big impacts, as evidenced by their draft positions, but instead flopped, failed to produce, and go down as some of the biggest draft busts in history.

Sure, not every first round pick ends up in prison like Leaf or gaining massive amounts of weight like Russell. And not every late round pick shatters records like Brady or sells jerseys for over $100,000 like Unitas. But there’s something to be said for each of these stories. For a quarterback to be the answer for a team, there is no requirement for them to have been a highly-touted prospect or a high draft selection.

It’s so hard to tell how a player will turn out simply from college and scouting combines, which is why teams should not place too much stock in expectations. Selling out in order to grab a specific player may not always be a mistake, but when it turns out poorly, it turns out very poorly.

What’s most important, as discussed by the analysts at the combine, is the finding of a quarterback who fits both the Texans as a team, and head coach Bill O’Brien. At the combine NFL quarterback and current commentator with CBS Sports and Sirius XM NFL Radio Rich Gannon believes that O’Brien primarily is looking for a player with “toughness, great leadership skills, and highly intelligent.”

These intangibles can be crucial to the success of a quarterback and a team as a whole, and can be present in players who aren’t necessarily the most athletically talented. What the Texans need to do is be patient, develop a quarterback, and let him show his true talent. Flashy numbers and exciting plays are great, but what I believe may be best for Houston is simply someone who can manage the team and lead in the locker room.

Maybe this player is already on the roster, maybe he will be drafted in this year’s draft, or maybe he’ll be found in free-agency. What the Texans should not do is reach for a quarterback, or make huge sacrifices in order to get a big-name athlete, as this can just as easily turn out to be huge mistake.

There’s nothing wrong with these highly touted players, but if too much focus is put on this, it can cost dearly. It may be better for Houston to bolster other positions, and not focus too much on finding the perfect quarterback. Patience is key, and by being willing to not rush anything, the Texans may just find a diamond in the rough.

Next: Mock Draft - Texans Play It Safe