In case you missed it, I wrote a post yesterday in this space in which I attempted to nail down some semblance of a short list of backup quarterback targets for the Houston Texans. It's a spot on the roster that Bill O'Brien has been forced to use extensively, much to his chagrin, each of his four seasons as head coach of this franchise. O'Brien has started nine different signal callers (I think, I may have lost count) in his four seasons.
So, as I was listing chill-inducing names like Matt Moore and Blaine Gabbert yesterday, one category of name I left off the list of potential understudies to Deshaun Watson was a drafted rookie. I did that for pretty good reasons — the Texans don't draft until the third round, they have a ton of holes to fill still (even after the first wave of free agency), and a rookie as a backup QB is a dicey proposition. A rookie backup would have to some special qualities, for sure.
Well, one soon-to-be rookie that I would categorize as "having special qualities" would be the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville's Lamar Jackson, and as first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Texans were hosting Jackson on Wednesday in a private workout:
This is interesting: The #Texans hosted a private workout yesterday for #Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, source said. The team wants to be prepared for any and all scenarios on draft week… even the unlikely such as Jackson being available for them.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 22, 2018
"Interesting" is the perfect way to categorize this development. Due to previous trades to acquire Deshaun Watson and divest themselves of Brock Osweiler, the Texans don't pick until the 68th overall selection in this draft. Jackson is widely considered the fifth best quarterback prospect in this draft behind, in some order, USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, and Wyoming's Josh Allen.
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Those four, though, can be fairly certain to hear their names called somewhere inside the top 15 picks. Jackson is thought to be destined for anywhere from around the 15th pick to the second round of the draft. I doubt the Texans would forfeit draft equity to move up and get a backup quarterback. More likely, O'Brien and company are doing their due diligence in case Jackson slips into the third round.
If that were to happen, Jackson slipping unexpectedly down the board, it would make some sense for the Texans to use a third round pick on him. His skill set is similar to Watson's — Jackson is probably more dynamic with his legs, while Watson is a far more polished passer — and would allow for O'Brien to deploy most of the same facets of the playbook as he does with Watson.
In the end, it's more likely O'Brien learned something about a quarterback he will be OPPOSING down the road, not coaching, but it's encouraging to see the Texans investing due diligence in intriguing scenarios like drafting Lamar Jackson.
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