The ball is in the Houston Texans court in this year’s draft, as they have their pick of any of the top-level quarterbacks in this year’s class. Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, and Derek Carr are viewed as the four sure-fire first-round picks this year, and it would be a surprise for any of them to fall outside of the top ten. I’ve always viewed Bridgewater as my clear No. 1 choice at the position, but there are those who disagree. It looks like the Texans don’t view Bridgewater as the best QB in the class either, because Sports on Earth’s Russ Lande reports “trusted sources” tell him that the Texans “are initially leaning towards” picking UCF’s Blake Bortles or former Texas A&M superstar Johnny Manziel.
While top defensive prospects Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack have been whispered as potential picks for the Texans at No. 1, I would be very surprised if they didn’t take the opportunity to pull a QB with the first pick in the draft. It’s interesting to see that Bridgewater isn’t the top guy on their board right now (that could change, of course), and the common belief among draft analysts and insiders (particularly the excellent Tony Pauline) is that head coach Bill O’Brien’s top choice at the position is Bortles.
Lande’s piece also implies that O’Brien favors Bortles, because he writes that the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator “is not sold” on Manziel’s work ethic and intangibles. Meanwhile, Lande’s report supports the notion that Texans owner Bob McNair would love to select Johnny Football and the fanfare he brings (ya know, staying in the area to play in the pros) by stating that Manziel is “obviously” the owner’s first choice.
However, I’m sure one of the sticking points that led to O’Brien taking the Texans opening was the fact that he would be able to select and develop the QB of his choice. McNair isn’t known as a hands-on owner either, so while his choice has direct influence, I would be shocked if this isn’t ultimately the head coach’s call.