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Bortles, McCarron among QBs Texans should target in NFL draft

The Texans might not have made up their mind about what quarterback they will draft this year, but we know they do intend to pick one -- Texans coach Bill O'Brien told "NFL AM" earlier this week there's no question Houston will draft a quarterback.

The bigger question they're sorting through right now is in what round should they pull the trigger.

"Where we draft that quarterback, I don't think we know that yet," O'Brien said.

While Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are the most talked about QB prospects, those aren't the only prospects at the position that have Houston's attention. O'Brien mentioned that there are 10-12 quarterback prospects that need to be evaluated closely in this year's draft.

Let's shorten that list a bit.

As the Texans search for their answer under center, here are five quarterback prospects they should be targeting along with the round they should be targeted in (operating under the assumption they don't surprise us and address the need later than Round Three):

First round: Blake Bortles

We've said it over and over again -- Bortles, a traditional dropback passer, fits the profile of what we think will fit best in O'Brien's offense. Now, by saying that, we're not giving O'Brien enough credit for being a bright offensive mind who can work with different kinds of players. He could be very comfortable working Bridgewater or Manziel and playing to their strengths. Those three will be in consideration with the first pick, but ultimately I think that if they elect to take a quarterback with that pick, it will be Bortles.

Second round: AJ McCarron

I think anyone that still calls McCarron a game manager isn't giving him nearly enough credit. He has won two national championships and played big in big games. Don't forget -- there was a lot of hype about Manziel going into the Alabama-Texas A&M game last season, and deservedly so, but McCarron's team won the game and he threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns.

2014 NFL Draft Winds
College Football 24/7 takes a look at the rumors connecting draft prospects with NFL teams leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

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» Tracking teams' interest in top prospects

Quick caveat: If Derek Carr doesn't go in the first round, he would deserve to be in consideration for the Texans with the 33rd overall pick to start the second round and might be a great choice. I don't see Houston picking him, though, given the stigma attached to his last name since his brother David failed to live up to expectations after the Texans drafted him first overall in 2002.

Second round: Jimmy Garoppolo

Garoppolo continues to work his way up draft boards and position himself in the second-round conversation. His delivery is extremely quick, and he's decisive. His production was off the charts at Eastern Illinois and he showed well at the East-West Shrine Game (he was voted MVP of the game) and Reese's Senior Bowl. The stage wasn't too big for him.

Second round: Logan Thomas

Thomas is a bit of a wild card as a very up-and-down performer -- I'm slotting him in the second round, although more people are comfortable with him as a third-round pick. His physical attributes blow you away, and he's also impressing people along the trail with his mental ability. A coach is going to watch him throw and think, "I can do something with this guy," which could move him up draft boards.

Third round: Aaron Murray

I don't think the third round is too early to consider Murray. He creeps into the conversation more and more when you look at his overall production at Georgia -- he left the school as the SEC record holder in passing yards (13,166) and TD passes (121). He has great experience as a four-year starter in the SEC, and improved throughout his career. He's capable of surprising people at the next level.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter @CFD22.

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