Texans fans, NFL Draft fans, it's almost here, I promise....
Being almost 30 years removed from my childhood, I don't recall all that well what it was like to be sitting in the back seat of the car on a long trip, wondering when the hell we would arrive at our destination. I now live it through my three kids (who, sadly, won't be kids much longer).
When they begin to get antsy, openly inquiring again and again and AGAIN how long it will take before we "get there" (wherever "there" may be), I've had very little empathy.
And then came the 2014 NFL Draft, and this tediously infuriating extra two weeks of build-up. The usual hype, lies and games of stooge chess have been extended by two more weeks, and it makes me want to put my foot through a wall. (Teddy Bridgewater's skinny knees were the final straw.)
So now I know how my kids feel. So, sorry kids. Daddy didn't mean to ignore you the way Uncle Goodell is ignoring all of us.
So let's get the final three days of overanalysis started, shall we?
Every diehard Texans fan knows Stephanie Stradley, the "Texans Chick" (her actual moniker, not me being passively misogynistic) who does a fantastic job of breaking down all things Texans in an analytical, yet very fan-friendly way over on the Houston Chronicle's website.
Well, she recently sent out a request to several folks in the media, in the Texans fan-o-sphere, and even some former Texans players to respond to a simple question -- "Who do you think the Texans should take with the first pick in the draft, and why?"
My answer to Steph's request is below, and after that is the embedded string with everyone's reply. Interesting, and at times (depending on whose "side" you're on -- Team Johnny, Team Clowney, the ever-shrinking Team Bortles) infuriating. Hey, that's what it's all about.
Here we go....first, me....
I hope this letter finds you well. In response to this call to action, I think the Texans should draft Johnny Manziel with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and my reasons are as follows:
1. Johnny Manziel is the best player in this draft at the most important position in team sports, a position at which the Texans have never had a "difference maker" in their entire history. (Sorry, Tony Banks.)
2. Johnny Manziel has balls. The Texans have had ballsy players, but have never had a quarterback with balls (Sorry, Dave Ragone). Manziel did all of his work under the brightest lights against the best competition at the biggest moments. Put simply, if there are two minutes left in a football game, and Johnny Manziel's team is trailing and he has the football, I'd rather be rooting for Manziel's team than the other team. I've NEVER felt this way as a Texans fan, and that blows. (Sorry, Sage Rosenfels.)
3. Johnny Manziel can beat his opponent any number of ways -- running the ball, throwing the ball on the run, throwing from the pocket, throwing salt in their eyes... I would hate to have to game plan for him. In fact, I think he's so good with his legs that he gets pigeon holed as a "running quarterback" when he was actually incredibly proficient in the pocket last year. How do you like that? Johnny Manziel is TOO good at running the football! When have the Texans had a quarterback that was TOO good....or moderately good, for that matter...at anything? (Sorry, Rex Grossman.)
4. The quarterback position is the only position in football where one person can single-handedly change a team's fortunes, and by FAR the highest success rate at locating a franchise QB is at 1/1 in the draft. It's not even close. Even if you think Jadeveon Clowney has a 90 percent chance of being a perennial Pro Bowler, it still mathematically makes more sense to draft Manziel (or any QB) if you think that guy has a 40% chance of being a franchise QB. Put differently, the Texans had the best defensive player in the universe and went 2-14 last season. The best QB in the universe could have One Direction as his offensive line and King Joffrey as his top wide out and go 9-7. So draft Clowney, best case he blows up, and go 6-10 with Fitzpatrick holding Garoppolo's pee pee for him. YAY. Draft a good QB, and get into the playoff discussion, at a minimum. Actual, non sarcastic YAY!!!
5. Speaking of Watt and Clowney, if Clowney is so damn sure of a thing, then why is it that so much of the analysis of why the Texans should take him centers around J.J. Watt? Bring up drafting Clowney, and the first thing people say -- oooohhh, imagine Clowney and J.J. WATT TOGETHER!! When Clowney's questionable motor and thirst for success are brought up -- ooohhh, don't worry, J.J. WATT will take care of that!! Um, if the dude is the 1/1 pick in the draft, why is the analysis so lathered in the presence of another player? Sorry, but I just don't think a guy you're taking with the first pick should have so much of his value or realization of value tied to another individual.
6. Johnny Manziel has massive hands. MASSIVE. This matters, I'm told. (Also, I hate myself that I know another man's hand size.)
7. Have I mentioned how much more fun it will be with Johnny Manziel as the quarterback here? Let's think selfishly for once, everybody! Are you looking forward more to a 2014 where Jadeveon Clowney is clomping around like a baby deer still learning how to walk (albeit a pretty stout one) with Ryan Fitzpatrick effing up on a weekly basis while Zack Mettenberger eats boogers on the sidelines, or Johnny Manziel shoving all of his chips into the middle of the table and doubling down on 13 because "EFF YOU!"?!? (If you answer Clowney/Fitzpatrick/Mettenboogers, the vanilla soft serve machine is down the hall and to the right.)
One thing I am almost certain of -- this whole thing will get botched royally, because Houston.
See, I think those are all pretty good reasons, right?
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Okay, if you want to see everyone else's conjecture and opinion on this topic, the entire embedded string can be found below, with opinions from various people with tangential ties to coverage of the Texans. There are fellow bloggers, media members, superfans and even former players (Eric Winston's final sentence of his reason might be the best salvo of all, the part about "bold moves."