Bill O'Brien in position to mold next Houston Texans QB


The Houston Texans got their man just before the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Now Bill O'Brien, the team's third head coach in franchise history, has to choose his man.

The Texans job was such a unique opportunity because they hold the No. 1 pick in a quarterback-rich NFL Draft. We don't know all the underclassmen that are coming out for the draft yet, but O'Brien will get to choose between players like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr. (Yes, David's brother.)

Projecting the top picks of the NFL Draft on New Year's Day is folly, but there's no question that O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith have an enviable spot in which to turn their franchise around. The Texans' offensive talent is hardly bankrupt.

Left tackle Duane Brown was the consensus best player at his position in 2012. We keep hearing that Andre Johnson is losing speed, and then we keep seeing him rack up 100-catch, 1,400-yard seasons. Three-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster will only be 28 years old next year, and 2013 first-round wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins flashed plenty of talent during a productive 800-yard rookie season.

There are plenty of issues, but there are pieces in place to rebound quickly. Even during the dark 2013 season, the Texans never stopped moving the ball, finishing 11th in yards.

O'Brien is a bright offensive mind in a league heavily tilted toward offense. He's not likely to find the next Tom Brady, but O'Brien has the rare luxury to hand-pick the quarterback he wants to develop for years to come. Former Texans general manager Charley Casserly and Dom Capers chose David Carr back in 2002. Smith and Gary Kubiak engineered a trade for Matt Schaub back in 2007.

Schaub wound up making two Pro Bowls and being a part of two playoff teams. O'Brien will be aiming higher.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped the coaching carousel and looked back on 2013.