With all the talk this week about the Texans passing on Derek Carr twice, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien saying he’s happy with who they got, and Carr today saying the Texans never said one word to him during the draft process, I found myself looking at the two teams’ drafts that year. And the more I looked at it, the more fascinating it became.
It’s amazing how both teams were in such similar positions that season as far as where they were as a franchise and what positions they needed to fill. Where it gets really interesting is the juxtaposition of their needs and how they went about filling them.
With the worst record in football (2-14), the Texans had the number one overall pick. The Raiders we coming off a 4-win season to start their draft at 5th overall, alternating between that and fourth in each round.
The Texans top need was quarterback, but pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney was just too good to pass up with the first overall pick. Even with highly rated quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr available.
At fifth overall, the Raiders were in a similar situation – in desperate need of a quarterback, and just Blake Bortles off the board. But with pass rusher Khalil Mack available, he was too good to pass up.
When round two rolled around, the only top quarterback still on the board was Carr. The Texans went with guard Xavier Su’a-Filo at 33 overall and when the Raiders selected at 36 overall, Carr was still on the board, making for two fortunate, no-brainer picks for the Raiders that day.
By the time the Texans selected in the third, even Jimmy Garoppolo was gone, so they went with a guy many thought would be a high second round pick in Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix. The Raiders got the guard they needed with the selection of Gabe Jackson. The Texans had an extra third round pick and used it on tight end CJ Feidorowicz.
Come the fourth round, the Texans finally got a quarterback, selecting Pitt’s Tom Savage. Meanwhile the Raiders stayed with the trench players, grabbing nose tackle Justin Ellis. The Raiders had an extra fourth round pick they used on defensive back, Keith McGill.
Let’s compare those players at the same position side by side and sit in awe at the contrast.
Derek Carr – Round 2, 41 starts, Pro Bowl
Tom Savage – Round 4, 0 starts
Khalil Mack – 1st round (5th overall), 41 starts, 26.0 sacks, Pro Bowl. All Pro at 2 different positions
Jadeveon Clowney – Number one overall pick, 20 starts, 7.5 sacks
Gabe Jackson – Round 3, 38 games, 37 starts
Xavier Su’a-Filo – Round 2, 33 games, 19 starts
Justin Ellis – Round 4, 37 games, 27 starts
Louis Nix – Round 3, Cut (played 4 games with the Giants in 2015 with no starts)
This wouldn’t be quite so glaring had the Raiders been picking ahead of the Texans in each round, but they weren’t. In each case, the Texans got the first shot and yet the Raiders had the draft the Texans wished they had.