Houston Texans' Tough Choice: Number One Draft Pick Is a Blessing and a Curse
Even a solid career from Johnny Football would probably appease Texans fans.
You wouldn't think a team would consider having the number one pick in the draft an unenviable position, but the Texans may indeed find themselves in that very spot come May. Much like the last time the Texans picked at the top of the NFL draft, there is no consensus sure thing. In 2006, it came down to a hometown boy, a dynamic offensive threat and a pass rushing stud. That year, the Texans passed on both Vince Young and Reggie Bush for Mario Williams. Turns out, it was the right call, but it was never a popular move.
Even though Young went on to fail as an NFL quarterback and Bush had some moderate success as a back, Williams was saddled with whipping boy status almost immediately and never fulfilled expectations.
Ironically, there are some similarities to this year's choices. There isn't a Bush-like third option, but there is a Texas hero in Johnny Maziel, a big time pass rusher in Jadeveon Clowney and a pair of other QB prospects for the Texans to consider. It leaves them with some difficult choices to make.
There are ways for the Texans to win. If one of the QBs not named Manziel is their choice and that person (Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles) turns into a star at the position, no one would complain. If Clowney is the second coming of JJ Watt, fans will accept it. Finally, if they take Manziel and he has even a moderately successful NFL career, many will be placated.
The problem is there are far more likely scenarios that will leave fans wanting and the team short of the promised land (i.e. a Super Bowl).
And there's another coincidental similarity to 2006. It is possible the Texans will pass on Manziel for Clowney and the Texas A&M quarterback will be taken with the third pick by division rival Jacksonville, much in the same way Young was selected by the Titans third when the Texans chose Williams.
There is no way of knowing who will turn out to be a bust and who will turn out to be a stud. Honestly, the 2006 draft was essentially a wash with none of the three top teams landing a superstar. But no one blames New Orleans for taking Bush or Tennessee for taking Young. The Texans, however, have gotten their share of heat for Williams despite him being the most successful of the trio.
Could Clowney be Mario Williams part two?
The nightmare scenario would involve the Texans taking Clowney and the Jags taking Manziel. Clowney would reveal himself to be a lazy bust and Manziel would battle Andrew Luck for AFC South supremacy for the next 10 years.
But the real problem facing the Texans has little to do with being number one, but rather being number one this year. No one predicted they would nose dive like they did last year, but if there was a year to avoid that when it comes to the draft, this is it. The draft is allegedly deep in talent but not necessarily at the very top, which is exactly where this team is. Next year, they would likely have a shot at Jameis Winston who many consider to be a lock first pick.
This is 2014, not 2015, however, and the Texans will need to figure out what to do. Another Williams-like pick isn't going to do it. This is a team with a lot of glaring needs, the most significant of which is at QB. No one thinks they are going into next season intending to start Ryan Fitzpatrick, but if they don't select a signal caller with the first pick, would they feel comfortable handing the team over to a guy who they choose in the second or third round?
Unless he's the second coming of Russell Wilson, probably not, which leaves them with a tough decision to make...and a far greater chance of failure than success.