Who Should the Houston Texans Take with the No. 1 Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft?

Ryan CookContributor IDecember 30, 2013

Nov 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips walks off the field after the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Texans 27-24 at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans finished last in the only race that counts this season, but at least they're winners somewhere else.

Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans sealed the No. 1 pick for Houston in next year's draft, giving Rick Smith a lot to think about between now and then. There's a lot of positions that need replacing on and off the field, but the Texans are lucky, because this year's class of talent offers them what they need.

If you want to start at the top, the first problem is figuring out who the quarterback is. The second is drafting another defender who can make turnovers happen or an offensive lineman who actually blocks. 

For the next five months, the Houston Texans are on the clock. Here's a quick look at who might be worth their time.


Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

It would be the pick everyone expects, but it makes sense for a team that started its season with an interception and ended it with one on Sunday.

Teddy Bridgewater probably isn't the polished quarterback the Texans might like, but the thing that stands out on his resume is his ability to run with the football. Matt Schaub is useless with his feet, managing only 24 yards all year. Bridgewater nearly had double that in one game against Kentucky this year.

Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrates after the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The weaknesses with Bridewater are, of course, his visibility and decision-making. Sometimes, though, those criticisms seem absurdsince he threw only four interceptions all year, and he'd be throwing to guys like Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins in Houston. 

There's a lot of people on the Johnny Manziel bandwagon if the Texans do look at quarterbacks. Coming from Texas it would be fitting, but with Bridgewater the Texans get a mature quarterback who is a proven winner when the game really counts.


Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

The call for the Texans to draft a defensive end in the first round could be a stretch, especially with Brian Cushing returning from injury next season.

But the Texans lacked a lot of turnovers this season, and even J.J. Watt provided a B+ year at best.

There is also a lot of hype around Jadeveon Clowney going No. 1, but there's a lot of problems there too. He has the tendency to go quiet in games sometimes, and where the Texans are looking for a guy who can force turnovers, Clowney is lacking.

Stephon Tuitt is a projected late first-round to early second-round pick, probably not worthy of going No. 1. If the Texans didn't want Clowney, however, Tuitt's 12 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2012 are a promising statistic, especially for a guy with a solid build of 303 pounds.


Sep 21, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Jake Matthews against the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Going for an offensive tackle would be boring, but if Houston does choose this option, it may as well get the best one available.

Jake Matthews is great off the line and shows good speed, but his best area is run blocking. The Texans have struggled with setting up holes for the running backs all season, and even when Arian Foster was healthy, creating running lanes wasn't easy. 

Matthews blocked for the best at Texas A&M in Johnny Manziel, a pretty difficult job considering how much he likes to run. This pick would rely on the Texans giving either Case Keenum or T.J. Yates another go, and that seems kind of unlikely right now.