With the NFL Draft in play, this is normally the time when Texans’ fans are excited about using the early rounds to fill specific needs.
Any given year it’s the defensive line needing to be addressed or cornerback or a game-breaking wide receiver or maybe even a potential franchise quarterback. The problem for the Texans in this current draft, which kicks off Thursday, is all of these areas are real needs, yet the team doesn’t have a pick until Day 2 in the third round (67th overall).
Texans fans have former head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien to thank for sending the team’s first (third overall) and second round picks to Miami for the services of left tackle Laremy Tunsil and then getting virtually nothing in return for sending DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona.
Making this draft more perplexing is that the man now in charge for the Texans, general manager Nick Caserio, is calling the shots on his own for the first time while he has sat in the New England Patriots’ war room the last several years where their lack of recent draft success has forced the perennial NFL power to spend record money in free agency this offseason.
Suddenly, you understand what it feels like to have to plug five holes in a dam with just four available limbs.
But if you believe the first-time general manager, he has done his homework and is ready.
“I think the most important thing is to evaluate the players, have an understanding of the board top to bottom, and whatever opportunity you have to pick, whenever that is, just be ready to pick the player that you feel most comfortable with,” Caserio said in a recent pre-draft talk with the media. “To answer your question, quite frankly, it’s not that difficult.”
But if it were that easy, chances are teams would not be paying general managers millions of dollars to make these decisions. The problem Caserio and even new head coach David Culley, to a lesser degree, face is when you get into the third round there are few obvious choices.
This is where spot-on evaluations and finding the proverbial diamonds in the rough come into play. Let’s remember that Joe Montana and Tom Brady – two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game were picked in the third and sixth rounds, respectively.
But barring a miracle, Caserio has made some 70 transactions which include 19 free agent signees in hopes of improving on the Texans 4-12 mark last season. But with all of the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position with Deshaun Watson’s availability in question and even if he is able to play there is still the tricky issue of the franchise quarterback not wanting to play for owner Cal McNair or the Texans again.
Good luck getting Caserio to verbally reveal his thoughts about Watson’s status.
“We’re not really going into a lot of hypotheticals and a lot of speculation,” said Caserio, who is scheduled to have eight picks spread out between the third and seventh rounds this weekend. “I’m not really good at that. Maybe somebody else is better than I at that than me. If you want to speculate, you should probably go buy Bitcoin, focus on that.”
But Caserio’s actions this offseason says he is preparing for Watson not to be here this fall and for the team not finding a franchise quarterback in the later rounds of the draft. Caserio has signed during free agency veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor along with capable backup Ryan Finley.