Sports fans who follow the Houston Texans know that the team is searching for a competent quarterback. The single most critical element to take the franchise from good to great is the appearance of a top shelf young QB.

Simply take a look to the north with the Cowboys and Dak Prescott or to the west in Oakland with Derek Carr. Both teams have drafted young QB prospects in recent years that are showing signs of keeping their teams at or near the top of the leader board for years to come.

As the NFL draft rapidly approaches, you can bet the Texans will select a quarterback with one of their first three selections. The team hasn’t selected a signal caller that high since they drafted David Carr with the franchise’s first pick in 2002. Whoever they select should be a candidate they think can groom into the role of a starter after a minimal internship of one to two years.

The top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft are: Deshaun Watson (6-feet-2½, 221 pounds), Clemson; Mitchell Trubisky (6-feet-2, 222 pounds), North Carolina; and Patrick Mahomes (6-feet-2, 225 pounds), Texas Tech. By the time the Texans pick at 25 all three of these prospects should be off the board.

According to ESPN draft expert and college talent evaluator Todd McShay here are the top five prospects that should be available for the Texans in the first three rounds.

DeShone Kizer (6-4, 233), Notre Dame: Kizer is a redshirt sophomore and two year starter (12-11 career record) who is coming off an up and down 4-8 season in 2016 (59 percent, 2,925 yards , 26 TDs, 9 INTs). He possesses similar size, arm strength and deceptive mobility to that of Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco. However, he would have benefitted from another year to hone his mechanics, develop mentally and continue to mature as a leader. Kizer holds an early second-round grade but could be selected higher due to an enticing physical skill set and enormous ceiling.

Joshua Dobbs (6-3, 216), Tennessee: Dobbs was a four-year player and three-year starter who finished with a 23-12 career record. He completed 61 percent of his career passes and finished with a 1.8-1 TD-to-INT ratio (2.2-1 ratio his final three years). In addition, he rushed for 2,106 yards and 32 scores. An aerospace engineering major, Dobbs has excellent intangibles and intriguing physical tools as a dual-threat QB. His Senior Bowl performance (under Browns coach Hue Jackson) was promising, but Dobbs is still very much a project as a passer and needs the right coaching/scheme to last in the NFL.

Nathan Peterman (6-2, 226 pounds), Pittsburgh: Peterman began his career at Tennessee, where he played sparingly in 10 games (one start) during his first two seasons (2013-14). He transferred to Pitt in 2015 and took over as the starter that season. He went on to play all 26 games (24 starts) during his two seasons as a Panther, completing 61 percent of his throws and posting a 3.1-1 TD-to-INT ratio (47-15). He has a strong work ethic, leadership skills and intangibles. Peterman grades out as a mid-round pick. He projects as a good backup in the NFL who could possibly develop into a solid starter down the line.

Davis Webb (6-4, 239), California: Webb passed for 5,557 yards and 46 TDs in 23 games at Texas Tech but lost his starting job and transferred to Cal, where he was a one-year starter in 2016. He completed 61.6 percent of his throws at Cal with a 3-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. Webb had some durability issues, needs to transition from the Air Raid offense to a pro system, and his accuracy is inconsistent. On the positive side, he has prototypical size, very good arm strength, and the football intelligence to absorb. Webb grades out as a late day two prospect.

Brad Kaaya (6-3, 214), Miami: Kaaya saw his smaller frame take a beating as a three-year starter at Miami. He suffered a concussion in 2015 and missed the following week, but to his credit he started all 38 other games. He completed 61 percent of his career passes and finished with a 2.9-1 TD-to-INT ratio (69-24). Kaaya needs to add bulk/strength to his frame and his below average arm strength is limiting. But in a precision/timing based offense, Kaaya has the fast eyes, release quickness and anticipation to develop into a really good backup or possibly a solid starter.

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