Over the next three weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
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No. 15: The Houston Texans
HOU’s Draft Pick: Sixteenth
HOU’s 2015 Cap Space: $10,853,785
HOU’s Top Needs: QB, WR, DB
Houston is a team in a unique position. Often teams build their franchise off a star QB or RB, but Houston did it a little bit differently. Now, this is no knock on Arian Foster, but J.J. Watt is the cornerstone of the Texans’ franchise. Watt is the best defensive player in the NFL, but many argue he’s already on his way to becoming one of the best of all time. By every defensive statistic measured, Watt excels. On the shoulders of Watt, the Texans’ defense finished with the league’s seventh fewest points allowed per game average. On the opposite side of the ball, though, things were a little different. Houston finished 14th in the league, averaging only three more points per game than what their defense was allowing. In short, they need work. The offensive pieces are set, but Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t bringing home a Super Bowl any time soon. Should Houston take a chance on Marcus Mariota?
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
Houston Trades: 2015 first and third, 2016 first and second, 2017 first and 2018 second-round picks.
Tampa Bay Trades: No. 1 pick.
Five extra picks for Tampa Bay, all in the third round or above. For a team that went 2-14 this past season that’s just what the doctor ordered. Tampa Bay most likely won’t win their division next year with the Saints looking to rebound and the Panthers looking stronger each year. Instead, they can focus on rebuilding and getting stronger. The extra picks would allow them to take risks on players they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Also, since most experts are convinced Tampa isn’t sold on either Mariota or Jameis Winston, they aren’t giving up a whole lot in their mind.
For Houston, this is a no-brainer. Sure, Mariota has question marks about his transition, but come on. Do they really think they’d have a better chance with Fitzpatrick under center? Mariota brings a whole new arsenal of weapons to an offense in desperate need of a change of pace. DeAndre Hopkins is a talented wideout with explosive ability, and Foster’s talent is well-known throughout the league. Houston has an opportunity to be a much stronger offense in this upcoming season, especially if they used their second-round pick on a WR such as Jaelen Strong (if he falls that low).
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN HOU:
As I mentioned above, Mariota would have a few weapons to work with once he arrived in Houston. The Texans would still need to strengthen their receiving corps via the draft, but if they could successfully do that there could be a special team down in Texas. The Texans went 9-7 this past season, barely missing the playoffs. To achieve that with virtually a non-factor under center is almost unheard of, so imagine just what Mariota could do if he’s given the keys to this offense. Watt is far and away the leader of that team, too, so Mariota wouldn’t have to worry about too many responsibilities as he developed. Finally, with veteran receiver Andre Johnson still under contract, Mariota would have a set of steady hands to throw to while he adjusted to the Texans’ system.
WOULD HE START?:
No way. Not immediately. Head coach Bill O’Brien is still fresh from college, so he can appreciate the difficulty of the transition. Hopefully Fitzpatrick or Ryan Mallett would get a few starts, if not a season’s worth of starts, while Mariota transitioned and made sure he had a firm grasp of a pro-style offense. After that, it’s Flyin’ Hawaiian time, baby!
HOU’s Projected Record with Mariota: 9-7
HOU’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 8-8
Mariota’s first year stats: 1,000 yards passing/7 pass TDs/3 INTs/2 Rushing TDs
Top Photo by en.wikipedia.org