After entering the season with serious hopes of advancing to the Super Bowl and then starting the season at 2-0, the Houston Texans dropped their 14th straight game to lock up the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
The draft isn't scheduled to begin until May 8, but with the season coming to an end for all but 12 lucky teams, there are plenty of thoughts shifting towards draft orders and prospects.
The Texans' draft position, as well as all of the top-20 picks, are set in stone. The rest of the order will determined by the results from the playoffs.
Here is how things stand now:
|2014 NFL Draft Order as of Dec. 29|
|2||St. Louis Rams (from Redskins)|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|12||New York Giants|
|13||St. Louis Rams|
|18||New York Jets|
|21||Green Bay Packers|
|22||San Diego Chargers|
|24||Kansas City Chiefs|
|26||Cleveland Browns (from Colts)|
|27||New Orleans Saints|
|28||New England Patriots|
|29||San Francisco 49ers|
In a season where nearly everything unraveled into disaster for Houston, at least the Texans didn't find a way to blow their shot at the coveted first pick.
Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips had this to say, via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, following his team's 14th straight loss: "We got in a whirlwind and it never ended."
The ironic/evil twist to all of this is that one of the top quarterbacks in this draft is Fresno State's Derek Carr. He is the younger brother of David Carr—who the Texans selected first overall in their first draft.
In case I have to remind anyone, David Carr's career never lived up to the expectations that come along with being taken No. 1 overall.
Before Texans fans shrivel up into a ball of post traumatic stress, however, there aren't a lot, if any, projecting the younger Carr to go No. 1. It would appear that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are the two most likely targets for the top spot.
Of course, the Texans may also look to add some talent to the offensive trenches. Especially considering that tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M is rated by CBS as the best prospect in this class:
|1||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M||Sr|
|2||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina||Jr|
|7||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State||Sr|
|8||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M||So (redshirt)|
|9||Cameron Erving||OT||Florida State||Jr (redshirt)|
|10||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo||Sr (redshirt)|
|Source: CBS Sports|
In the end, I expect the Texans to take a long look at all quarterbacks given Matt Schaub's regression this past season. Also, while Case Keenum did an admirable job as a rookie starter, his 78.2 quarterback rating doesn't exactly scream "future franchise quarterback."
Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins (3-13) finished with the NFL's second-worst record, which is amazing news for the St. Louis Rams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders will round out the top five of the draft. With all three of those struggling franchises in need of identifying their quarterback of the future, there is going to be a big emphasis on signal-callers early in this draft.
That should set up for an entertaining draft, as there will undoubtedly be teams, which draft a little lower but are also looking for a quarterback, exploring the opportunity to move up.
The too-short regular football season may be over, but at least for playoff-robbed fans like myself, we can start thinking about the draft.