Texans coach says 'all options open' for No. 1 pick

Texans coach says 'all options open' for No. 1 pick

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Texans coach says 'all options open' for No. 1 pick

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by Jim Corbett, USA TODAY Sports

khou.com

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 25 at 5:09 PM

ORLANDO – At this point, it appears Johnny Manziel will not work out for the Houston Texans following his Thursday pro day at Texas A&M.

That could prove an interesting turn—and potentially be a turnoff to the Texans considering how much first-year coach Bill O’Brien prizes working out quarterbacks individually.

Asked if Manziel would work out for the Texans afterward, O’Brien said during Tuesday’s AFC coaches’ breakfast, “I don’t think so. He’s got his Johnny Day.”

The Texans coach was referencing Johnny Football’s Thursday audition for all 32 team evaluators.
Following the Friday trade of starter Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth-round pick, the Texans are believed to be in the market for a starting quarterback with the first overall pick in the May draft.

O’Brien plans to meet individually with Manziel afterward.

The former New England Patriots offensive assistant and Penn State head coach was asked if he considers the 5-11 ¾, 205 Manziel’s improvisational, scrambling style as sustainable at the next level. His size and style are of concern to some evaluators, who believe it will put him at increased risk of injury against bigger, faster, stronger NFL defenders.

“If you watch some of his games, obviously, he’s a very exciting when he breaks the pocket and he runs,” O’Brien said. “But if you watch the Ole Miss game, he might have hurt his ankle early on and he came back. And he threw from the pocket in that game. If you watch him, he’s going to be able to do a lot of different things.

“So, yeah, I think he’s sustainable.”

O’Brien said Monday on NFL Network the Texans will take a quarterback in this draft, he just wouldn’t say when.

Tuesday he indicated the decision is not limited to Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Manziel and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater—the so-called Big Three among a talented 2014 class of passers. There are other considerations such as Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Jimmy Garappolo of Eastern Illinois, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s AJ McCarron.
O’Brien and staff previously attended the pro days of Bortles and Bridgewater as well as Garappolo.

“I see the strengths and weaknesses with every one of these guys,” O’Brien said. “I don’t see where there’s one or two or three guys that are light years ahead of the rest of these guys. McCarron and Mettenberger and Johnny played in the SEC. They won a lot of games. They might have done something right.”

O’Brien did say that a defensive player is under consideration with the top pick and indicated the Texans aren’t turned off by freakish South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney’s inconsistent motor.

“I dare you to find me a guy who plays 90 plays life-on-the-line every game,” O’Brien said. “When the game is on the line, he plays hard. He’s an explosive player. He’s a productive player. He’s an instinctive player.

“I think it’s been blown out of proportion. At the same time, we have to get to know him and keep getting to know him.”

One reporter sat down at O’Brien’s table during Tuesday’s AFC coaches breakfast, telling O’Brien with a smile, “I’m interested in finding out who the top pick is.”

“So am I,” said O’Brien, laughing. “All options are open. What is it the end of March? We still have a lot of time. You go back and do re-checks.

“What fun would it be if you already knew who you were going to pick?”

O’Brien said he and general manager Rick Smith are communicating all the time on prospect evaluations. The Texans have 11 overall picks in what has been touted as the deepest draft in decades. O’Brien said the Texans’ first pick of the second round is in effect, another first-round pick in this draft.

What will guide them in selecting the top pick?

“Rick and I will guide each other with our thoughts on all these guys,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to bring some of these guys to our building. It’s like playing quarterback. You break the huddle, you have to have a progression of how you think about running a play.

“The same thing with the draft. Here’s what we believe this kid is and what we think he can do for us. Then, you go pick him.

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said Monday that he felt that Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater are all quarterbacks who will probably have to sit and watch before they are ready to play.

“I know it’s very, very difficult to play quarterback as a rookie, like right away,” O’Brien said. “To expect a guy to go in there and play right away, for instance a Rex Ryan defense is very, very difficult. But at the same time, you better be ready to do it. Because you never know what might happen.”

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