Three years ago the Texans had the number one overall pick in the draft as well as the top pick in the second round. And they needed a quarterback. But the Texans passed on taking a quarterback with that top pick, going with the top prospect in the draft; Jadeveon Clowney.
There were four quarterbacks that were considered potential top ten picks in that draft — Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr.
Bortles, Manziel, and Bridgewater all went in the first round and therefore when the Texans pick came up again, the only one left was Derek Carr; the little brother of former Texans’ number one overall pick, and first ever pick in franchise history, David Carr.
Once again the Texans passed, selecting offensive guard, Xavier Su’a-Filo, who started just 10 games over his first two seasons and is just now showing some of the potential that had the Texans select him at 33 overall. The most glowing endorsement O’Brien could give him is that he’s improved quite a bit this season.
Bill O'Brien on Xavier Su'a-Filo: 'He's gotten much better. He's one of our most improved players on our team. He's healthy'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 16, 2016
I think it’s safe to say, in hindsight, taking Su’a-Filo over Carr was not the right move. But you won’t hear Bill O’Brien say that.
He spoke with Texans media today, and though he said they felt like Carr “was one of the better quarterbacks” coming out of the 2014 draft, he insisted the Texans are happy with their selections of Clowney and Su’a-Filo over Carr.
“He’s having a heck of a year,” O’Brien said of Derek Carr. “He’s only thrown three interceptions, I think he’s completing almost 70% of his balls, so he does a good job throwing the ball down the field. And he can run. So, yeah, he’s got a good grasp of their offense.
“We evaluated all the quarterbacks coming out in that draft and we felt like he was definitely one of the better quarterbacks. I think when it comes to the draft, Rick and I we just try to make the best decision for the team and that’s what we did. We chose who we chose and we’re happy with who we chose.”
The thing is, there’s an argument to be made that both of the picks the Raiders got in that draft were who the Texans should have selected.
The Raiders grabbed pass rusher Khalil Mack with the fifth overall pick. He has 26.0 career sacks and was named All Pro at two positions last season. Meanwhile Clowney missed most of his rookie season and has just 7.5 career sacks.
And while Carr was named to the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate and is on pace to throw for 4500 yards this season, the Texans have been floundering at the quarterback position, including paying big free agent dollars to lure in the struggling Brock Osweiler.
After David Carr’s years in Houston, getting sacked at record numbers, you could see why maybe the Texans were reluctant to take his little brother high in the draft. But passing up on him twice only to watch him light up the NFL while you are still looking for the answer at QB three years later has to make for some serious buyer’s remorse.