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It doesn’t make sense for Houston to draft a QB, despite what GM Caserio says

Zach Wilson of BYU was drafted by the New York Jets last year with the No. 2 overall pick. After him was North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, who went to San Francisco. Then there was Ohio State’s Justin Fields, who fell to Chicago at pick No. 11 overall.

None of them had a better year than Houston’s Davis Mills.

In fact, the 2021 third-round pick out of Stanford passed for more yards last season than all but two quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick out of Clemson who went to Jacksonville, and Alabama’s Mac Jones, who went to New England with pick No. 15.

Does that mean Houston will pass up a QB in the first round? Not necessarily – especially after picking up another first-rounder in the Deshaun Watson trade with Cleveland.

Here’s what general manager Nick Caserio told reporters earlier this month, via The Texans Wire:

“Certainly wouldn’t jump to any conclusions; I would say specific to Davis, Davis had opportunities last year and did a nice job with those opportunities, but we’re going to start from scratch a little bit.

“I would say when you get into the draft, you really don’t want to necessarily eliminate any position or particular player. You just want to look at it with the mentality and just figure out what makes the most sense for the organization. It’s about picking good players, it’s about picking the right players that you think fit what you’re trying to do.”

However, as The Texans Wire’s Mark Lane points out, the presumed top QB, Liberty’s Malik Willis, could be gone by pick No. 13 – but taking Willis with the No. 3 overall pick would be seen as a bit of a reach. Willis is the No. 14 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board.

Other candidates include Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett (No. 19), Ole Miss’ Matt Corral (No. 27), North Carolina’s Sam Howell (No. 30) and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder (No. 32).

The problem? If Houston takes a QB with one of its first-round picks, then the Texans almost have to play that signal-caller. That, in turn, could stunt Mills’ growth. The reverse is true, too.

The bottom line: If Houston takes a QB in the first (or second round), then someone is going to see very little playing time.

The move didn’t work out so well the last time Houston took a QB in consecutive years.

The Texans selected David Carr out of Fresno State No. 1 overall in its inaugural draft. Say what you will about Carr’s career – and Houston’s inability to build an offensive line that could adequately protect him – he still went on to play 10 seasons with four different teams, retiring in 2012 with 14,452 yards, 65 TDs and 71 INTs.

The year after drafting Carr, though, Houston went back to the QB well two more times. The Texans drafted Louisville’s Dave Ragone in the third round and Michigan’s Drew Henson in the sixth round in 2003.

Ragone’s career lasted all of two games, both starts, in 2003. These days, he’s the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

Henson didn’t fare much better. Also an accomplished baseball player, Henson left Michigan prior to his senior season to sign a six-year, $17 million contract with the New York Yankees after he was drafted in the third round of the 1998 MLB draft. Ultimately, baseball didn’t work out for Henson, as he played a total of eight games in the majors, going 1-for-9.

He also never played a down for the Texans, who drafted him in 2003 so that they could own his rights, should he decide to return to football.

That worked in Houston’s favor, as they received a third-round pick from Dallas in 2004 for Henson. He played seven games that year as a 24-year-old rookie, starting once. Henson eventually wound up in Detroit, where he played in two games in 2008 before being released the following year after the Lions drafted Georgia’s Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick.

 

Will Houston take a QB or skip the position? Find out in Fanspeak’s latest Texans mock draft.

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