2017 NFL Draft: Houston Texans desperate move worse than Bears’

Apr 28, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick Deshaun Watson poses with a jersey during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick Deshaun Watson poses with a jersey during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Quarterback needy teams made desperate moves in the 2017 NFL Draft, but what the Houston Texans did was worse than the Chicago Bears. What about value?

The 2017 NFL Draft started off scalding hot, then simmered as the rounds went on. The most exciting part of the entire draft was the first dozen picks, which included three major trades for the top quarterbacks in this rookie class. It was zany, confusing, and fun as hell.

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All three quarterback moves were desperate, but the Houston Texans trade was infinitely worse than the Chicago Bears. Why you ask? We debate.

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the 2017 NFL Draft in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

Everyone is crushing the Chicago Bears for their move to trade up one spot to acquire Mitchell Trubisky. People also seem less than pleased with Kansas City’s move up to grab Patrick Mahomes. And then the consensus seems to be that the Houston Texans made out the best, drafting Deshaun Watson 12th after moving up.

The Texans, though, made the worst deal of the three.

(Waiting for booing and exasperated gasps to die down)

Hear me out. Let’s start with the premise that, if a drafted quarterback becomes a franchise quarterback, the price to acquire that player on draft day is essentially meaningless. If Trubisky becomes the guy in Chicago, no one will care about third- and fourth-round draft picks years later. The deal will become an unimpeachable home run. It will be the Bears’ best draft move this century. The other half of the trade doesn’t matter if the quarterback hits.

So then, what is the key to acquiring a franchise quarterback? Obviously no one quite knows. It’s why Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson are still found in middle rounds. The main key seems to be finding a quarterback you want and believe fits your system, coaching staff, and locker room personalities. More than any other position, QB is about fit, leadership, and chemistry. A strong arm doesn’t translate purely if a guy can’t lead a huddle.

If finding the right guy is more than finding the best arm and tangibles, then surely we should congratulate teams that hunt down and grab the guys they want more than anyone else. That was Chicago with Trubisky. To a lesser extent, that was also Kansas City with Mahomes. These were teams that traded up because they were completely focused in on the guy they wanted and would pay whatever it cost to get that guy. They may be wrong in their scouting a few years from now, but so could anyone else.

You know what Houston did in taking Watson at No. 12? It didn’t hunt down and grab the quarterback the team wanted more than anyone else (though they may say that publicly after the fact). No, what the Texans did was trade up to collect the scraps of the top quarterback tier. They were only allowed to take whoever was left.

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Before the draft, we talked about possible draft day trades. One category was teams trading up for the end of a tier of talent to avoid settling for the best of the next tier down. It feels like an advisable strategy at any position other than quarterback. Being told which quarterback you need to take is not the same thing as locating the guy you want. Houston may have wanted Watson — but it wasn’t up to them. He was the only guy left from the top quarterbacks.

Now, you could tell me that Watson is the guy the Texans wanted. If he wasn’t, they wouldn’t have made the trade. That is plausible, yet unable to be argued either way. We don’t have enough information to know. What we do know unequivocally is that Houston missed out on the quarterbacks who went first and second, and ended up taking the third guy.

Personal feelings of Watson aside, that feels like bad business. A team should never be forced into its signal-caller just because he’s considered one of the better prospects at the position.

Dan Salem:

While I actually like the three top quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft, I hate all three trades to select each player. Chicago desperately moved up a single spot to get “their guy” at quarterback. The Chiefs traded away assets for the man they wanted as well. But only the Texans made yet another poor quarterback decision from every conceivable standpoint.

I like Watson and believe he’ll be a very good pro player, but the moves that the Texans made to get him make very little sense. We must first recall what Houston did last year in acquiring Brock Osweiler in free agency. Then we must remind ourselves of what the Texans did to get rid of Osweiler only a couple of months ago. Now they have shed more assets to acquire Deshaun Watson, the last remaining top quarterback in this year’s draft class at the time of his selection. While the Texans appear on paper to be a man or two away from competing with New England for the AFC title, its unlikely that a rookie quarterback fills that hole.

Smart fans expected the Bears to pick a quarterback, even if they should have waited. Its amazing to witness teams who can see the trees for the forest, and those that must act before ‘missing out’ on something that was never there. All three quarterbacks held excellent second round value, but none held early first round value. As a fan of the Jets, I was thrilled to watch the second highest rated player fall into our laps, at a position of need no less. If general managers do their jobs right, this should not happen. Teams in contention should not be shedding assets for a rookie quarterback.

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Both the Chiefs and Texans can win in 2017 with a veteran quarterback. Neither team is getting very far with a rookie. Now, I’m well aware that there is always an exception, but most first-year quarterbacks do not perform well. Most need exceptional running games to protect them and keep the pressure off. Being drafted in a later round also keeps the pressure off, but being a first round pick is hard for a quarterback. Trading up for one comes with even more pressure. Houston and Chicago in particular just ignited the hot seats for themselves.