Which 2014 QB Prospect Best Fits the Free-Falling Houston Texans?
While many are trying to decided who will be the best head-coaching fit for the Texans, let's take it a step further and peg who will be the best quarterback fit for the suddenly rebuilding franchise.
That answer will likely depend on who's coaching the Texans, but let's run through a slew of 2014 quarterback prospects who could be picked by Houston anywhere from No. 1 overall to the late rounds.
Derek Carr, Fresno State
Derek Carr's a strong-armed quarterback with NFL bloodlines, although his brother, David, failed miserably as the first selection in Houston Texans history.
Some will want the Texans to keep away for that reason, but that sentiment is short-sighted and, frankly, downright silly.
Derek has developed into a dangerous pocket passer at Fresno State, as his volume and numbers have improved each season since 2010.
Teams will fall in love with his experience, perceived football IQ and overall arm talent.
Carr isn't a decidedly raw prospect, but his tremendous upside is what will make him a first-round pick.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel is the preeminent lightning rod in the entire 2014 draft class, and in 2013, he's proven to be much more than a polarizing scrambler quarterbacking a super-talented team.
He's made an assortment of NFL-caliber throws in his redshirt sophomore season with the Aggies and has continued to impress with his open-field speed and natural scrambling ability.
While Manziel probably won't be able to run around as much in the pros as he does in college, he's a special athlete with above-average pocket-passing ability.
His production in the SEC can't be ignored, either.
Though somewhat diminutive at around 6'0'', there's no questioning his passion or competitiveness.
There will be plenty of disagreement on Manziel's NFL upside, but he's an exceptionally unique quarterback prospect, so it will be extremely difficult to peg how good he can actually be.
A.J. McCarron, Alabama
A.J. McCarron's played on ridiculously talented, loaded-with-NFL-talent teams at Alabama. He's spent most of his career quarterbacking the No. 1 team in the country and has two national titles.
But could the environment around McCarron actually hurt the way GMs and scouts perceive him?
Many will see McCarron as a system quarterback who's been majorly successful due to the future first-round picks with which he's played.
However, others may be enamored with his leadership qualities, moxie and the simple fact that he's won a lot of games in the SEC.
The Texans might be able to wait on McCarron, but if he "charms" one GM, he could sneak into the first round.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater doesn't appear to be a system-dependent quarterback prospect.
The Louisville star doesn't have a large and imposing frame, but at 6'3'' and 205 pounds, he's certainly not undersized for the position.
The most attractive facets of Bridgewater's game are his lightning-quick release, his accuracy and his ability to read and decipher coverages.
Of all the signal-caller prospects in the 2014 class, many will see Bridgewater as the "cleanest" or "least risky."
He's a pocket passer first and is capable of making plays with his feet if forced from the pocket.
There's some Aaron Rodgers to Bridgewater's game, and he doesn't seem to have a very low ceiling.
The Cardinals' leader is as NFL-ready as they come this year.
David Fales, San Jose State
Much like Derek Carr, David Fales is a cannon-armed quarterback from a non-BCS school with plenty of NFL potential.
At 6'3'' and 220 pounds, this San Jose State product has desirable size and a smooth, over-the-top-delivery that often yields lasers down the field.
Fales' completion percentage has dropped considerably over the past year, but if some accuracy shortcomings and the fact that he didn't play top-level competition drop him out of the first round, the Texans could draft a signal-caller with an impressive natural skill set at fantastic value on Day 2.
Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Blake Bortles has another year of eligibility at the collegiate level, so he could return for his senior season at Central Florida.
However, the 6'4'', 230-pound signal-caller has pieced together a highly efficient junior year for the Knights, and he'd almost assuredly be picked, at the very latest, in the mid-rounds in the 2014 draft.
Due to his bulky frame and deceptive athleticism, he can be likened to a poor man's version of Andrew Luck.
Bortles needs some refinement as a passer, but his annually improving statistics show he's capable of developing from the pocket.
Stephen Morris, Miami
Another member of the 2014 quarterback class with an extremely live arm, Stephen Morris could be on the Texans' radar in May.
He's lacked consistency as Miami's signal-caller over the past two seasons, but he's made an assortment of difficult downfield throws.
Morris' arm talent will intrigue many GMs and scouts, then again, his relatively poor decision making and sporadic accuracy will turn many off.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
Can Jimmy Garoppolo go from Eastern Illinois to a franchise quarterback in the NFL?
While history would suggest he can't, we mustn't forget that Tony Romo attended the same college and Kurt Warner played at a Missouri Valley school, Northern Iowa.
Those two quarterbacks won't be the reason Garoppolo's drafted—it'll be because of his super-quick release and accuracy.
While he doesn't have a big arm, this Eastern Illinois star could fit well into a West Coast system and will likely be available in the second or third round.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tajh Boyd will be seen as a top quarterback prospect to some teams, and to others, he'll be seen as a guy who thrived in college thanks to his receiving weapons.
At 6'1'', he lacks ideal height and doesn't have a rocket arm.
But Boyd's a viable read-option signal-caller who moves well when forced out of the pocket.
While his college production is hard to ignore, decision-making inconsistencies and coverage-reading issues have flared up probably too often to keep him in the first round.
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Aaron Murray had an illustrious, four-year career as the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs, and he played in his fair share of huge SEC games.
At 6'1'' and around 210 pounds, his size and lack of arm strength are legitimate concerns.
While pretty accurate, Murray could struggle pushing the ball down field in the NFL.
If the Texans implement a West Coast system, he could be a decent find later in the 2014 draft.
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Once considered a top draft prospect, two disappointing seasons at Virginia Tech have significantly dropped Logan Thomas' stock.
The 6'6'', 254-pound Hokies quarterback has tremendous physical tools but couldn't be much more raw in terms of accuracy and decision making.
Though Cam Newton was considerably more refined coming out of Auburn in 2011, his emergence in 2013 will help Thomas' chances to be drafted as a developmental player late in the 2014 draft.
Best Fit: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Regardless of who's coaching the Houston Texans in 2014, Bridgewater will be a fit.
He's operated a rather traditional pro-style system in Louisville and possesses the arm strength, accuracy and coverage-reading ability to flourish in Houston.
With Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and two serviceable tight ends in Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham, Bridgewater will have enough weapons to play well from the start of his NFL career.
The Texans will have to use their first-round pick on Bridgewater, but after they experienced the struggles that come when a franchise quarterback isn't in place, they shouldn't hesitate to select him.