There are plenty of things you can say about the William O'Brien, General Manager Era. He might be botching the trades bringing in players for picks by overpaying, he may have botched the Clowney trade by under-receiving. Time will tell, but the one thing you CANNOT say about the William O'Brien, General Manager Era — it's boring.
One of the big questions that I had when the Texans punted on their pursuit of New England personnel executive Nick Caserio to be the next Texans GM was "Well, what happens as the trade deadline approaches, and deals need to get done? Who does that?" Man, do I feel like a fool for even asking? The answer is "WHO CARES?? This team LOVES TO DEAL, and SOMEBODY is doing it, probably O'BRIEN!"
And so it was that it happened AGAIN — on Monday afternoon, the O'Brien Era regime made yet another trade, this time trying to bring in a capable, warm body at cornerback in Oakland CB Gareon Conley, a former first round pick in 2017. Let's dig into this latest O'Brien deal. Here are my thoughts:
Something had to be done
The body count, in general, began to pile up this past weekend in Indianapolis, as during various times throughout the game, at least half a dozen players were knocked gimpy or out of the game altogether. Hit particularly hard was the cornerback group, with Johnathan Joseph leaving the game with an apparent upper body injury, and Phillip Gaines getting knocked out in the fourth quarter with a gruesome lower leg injury. Bradley Roby was already home with a hamstring injury suffered against the Chiefs. So O'Brien needed to do something, and thus the trade for Conley was consummated.
Who is Gareon Conley?
Conley is a former first round pick out of Ohio State, whose performance at his previous stop had its high points and low points, with the inconsistency due, in part, to his not being a real, true scheme fit. Stop me if you heard this before, because if you just "Mad Lib" the name "Bradley Roby" for Conley, you get an equally accurate statement. The fact of the matter is that Romeo Crennel's man coverage-heavy scheme has been a nice fit for Roby, and the hope is that it will be for Conley, as well. The other nice thing about Conley is that he has the rest of this season, next season, and potentially a fifth year option remaining on his rookie deal, so if he realizes his first round potential as a Texan, they have him under some sort of cost control for the better part of three seasons. Solid move.
Clowney trade is now, in essence, done
The third round pick going to Oakland is the same pick the Texans received in the Jadeveon Clowney trade, so in essence, we can now say the book is closed on the specific names involved in that deal, as the Texans, more or less, just used that third round pick on Gareon Conley. So the Clowney deal becomes Clowney for DE Barkeviius Mingo (special teamer exclusively), LB Jacob Martin (shown some pass rushing flashes), and Conley (we'll see). I'll just say that it's a good thing Clowney hasn't really made a statistical impact yet in Seattle — he has just one sack in seven games, and that was him chasing Andy Dalton out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage in Week 1 — or Texan fans would be screaming bloody murder about how little the Texans got back in the trade.
What is next?
Well, if there is another deal, and it involves draft picks going out, then the Texans college scouting staff should all just head to Cabo for the rest of the college season. The Texans are running out of significant draft capital, as they've used 2020 choices to acquire Laremy Tunsil, Duke Johnson, Conley, and Keion Crossen. If there are other positions where O'Brien might be looking for someone, I could see some depth at RB or WR being brought in, especially in light of Will Fuller's injury. Two big names at WR were moved on Tuesday afternoon — Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers, and Mohammed Sanu to the Patriots — so cross them off any potential list for the Texans.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.