The Texans are in the market for a future franchise quarterback. That sentence is not telling you anything, if you've watched more than one game of Houston Texans football in the past two seasons, that you don't already know.
But the market is now heating up and taking shape, and if the Texans' need for a quarterback is something that keeps you up at night and exacerbates any chemical dependencies that may burden you, then you need to be paying attention. Thankfully, I'm here to give you the CliffsNotes version of what took place this weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Over the past three days in Indianapolis, the NFL has gathered to poke, prod, ogle and generally cavity-search every viable NFL prospect. It's a huge meat market. If the players were droids, the only thing missing would be a bunch of jawas (Star Wars dork alert!). So how did the various Texans draft targets look? Well, as in anything in life, there were winners and losers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Let's take a look...
4. Dak Prescott
Prescott has been my guy all along for the Texans, when taking into account where they pick (22nd overall), what it would cost to move up from 22 to get Carson Wentz (my other guy in this draft) and what all Prescott brings to the table. He's won 19 games the past two seasons for a team that plays in the SEC West, he has the ability to run the football, and on Saturday, he made all the necessary throws accurately at the combine. I'm not saying take Prescott with the 22nd pick, only because I don't think they have to, as the league doesn't see him as a first rounder right now. But filling another need at 22 (Ezekiel Elliott? Derrick Henry? Another weapon on offense at wide out?) and then taking Prescott in the second round would be fine with me. The so-called experts have graded him a round or two lower than that, but whatever.
3. Connor Cook
If there's one QB whose character and leadership are under the most scrutiny, it's easily Cook, who had to answer questions about everything from not being a captain his senior year at Michigan State to allegedly snubbing Archie Griffin on the stage at the Big Ten title game trophy ceremony. Cook had a nice throwing session at the combine, but perhaps his biggest win is that people seemed to like him and he didn't punch any babies or kick any dogs over the weekend (at least not in public).
2. Jeff Driskel
At one time, Driskel was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country coming into Florida. And then Will Muschamp got his mitts on the Gator program and turned the whole thing into a win-with-defense, offensively challenged pile of sludge, so Driskel, after four sour years in Gainesville, had to go revive his career with a fifth year at Louisiana Tech. He did just that, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards, and on Saturday, Driskel ran by far the fastest 40 yard dash time of any QB (4.56; next best was Carson Wentz at 4.77). I've said this before and I'll say it again — if Driskel winds up being a good player in the NFL, Muschamp should be sued for malpractice for his coaching of Driskel at Florida.
1. The top tier
Speaking of Wentz, if there's an evolving darling at the quarterback position, it would appear to be the North Dakota State product, who showed off all of his tools in Indy this week and came away a clear-cut top 10 pick for some QB-starved team (or perhaps, as I've suggested multiple times, the Dallas Cowboys, who've stumbled into the fourth overall pick because 36-year-old Tony Romo can't stay healthy). One thing we definitely now know — for them to become Houston Texans, it will require a massive bounty of draft picks of the Texans to maneuver and get either Wentz or Cal's Jared Goff.
4. Christian Hackenburg
If there was one Texans-related storyline that crept onto the national radar during the week in Indianapolis, it's the obvious link between Bill O'Brien and former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenburg, what with O'Brien having been the young quarterback's head coach his freshman (and only productive) season in Happy Valley. Well, for anyone thinking Hackenburg was going to help improve his shaky stock with a solid combine, here's the report from Yahoo! Sports:
Perhaps the worst performance of the day was turned in by Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. Coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, Hackenberg missed badly on several throws — high, low and wide — and appeared to be doubting himself, shaking his head after a few misfires. For a prospect whose stock appears to be so volatile, perhaps even with having one NFL head coach in his corner, Hackenberg did not appear to help himself Saturday.
Okay, then...moving on...
3. Cardale Jones
Everyone knows Cardale Jones has a cannon for a right arm. You don't get the nickname "12 Gauge" by accident. Oddly enough, the main thing Jones needs to overcome at the combine is the issue of his physical makeup. Put simply, he looks kind of fat, and nobody is trying to draft the next JaMarcus Russell. However, a pulled hamstring running the 40-yard dash is not going to dispel any fat guy stereotypes, and that's what happened to Jones.
2. The children
This bullet point has nothing to do with quarterbacks, but there was a somewhat humorous semi-NSFW moment over the weekend involving Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones, who tumbled to the ground at the end of his 40-yard dash because, apparently, well, let's just say the snake left its cage....
1. Texans fans seeking Colin Kaepernick
Hey, the Texans' next savior at quarterback doesn't necessarily have to be a draft pick out of college, right? It could be a veteran who's shown a little something and is now available at a discounted rate, correct? Well, it turns out 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took the Niners to within one play of a Super Bowl win in 2012, wants out and would like to be traded. So why not the Texans?
SWEET! Kaepernick is intriguing and, honestly, any creature with a right arm that won't throw four picks in a playoff game is an upgrade right now. This could be fun! Oh, but wait...
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By the way, Texans have no interest in trading for Colin Kaepernick.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 28, 2016
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.