The Houston Texans finished last in the only race that counts this season, but at least they're winners somewhere else.
Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans sealed the No. 1 pick for Houston in next year's draft, giving Rick Smith a lot to think about between now and then. There's a lot of positions that need replacing on and off the field, but the Texans are lucky, because this year's class of talent offers them what they need.
If you want to start at the top, the first problem is figuring out who the quarterback is. The second is drafting another defender who can make turnovers happen or an offensive lineman who actually blocks.
For the next five months, the Houston Texans are on the clock. Here's a quick look at who might be worth their time.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
It would be the pick everyone expects, but it makes sense for a team that started its season with an interception and ended it with one on Sunday.
Teddy Bridgewater probably isn't the polished quarterback the Texans might like, but the thing that stands out on his resume is his ability to run with the football. Matt Schaub is useless with his feet, managing only 24 yards all year. Bridgewater nearly had double that in one game against Kentucky this year.
The weaknesses with Bridewater are, of course, his visibility and decision-making. Sometimes, though, those criticisms seem absurd—since he threw only four interceptions all year, and he'd be throwing to guys like Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins in Houston.
There's a lot of people on the Johnny Manziel bandwagon if the Texans do look at quarterbacks. Coming from Texas it would be fitting, but with Bridgewater the Texans get a mature quarterback who is a proven winner when the game really counts.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The call for the Texans to draft a defensive end in the first round could be a stretch, especially with Brian Cushing returning from injury next season.
But the Texans lacked a lot of turnovers this season, and even J.J. Watt provided a B+ year at best.
There is also a lot of hype around Jadeveon Clowney going No. 1, but there's a lot of problems there too. He has the tendency to go quiet in games sometimes, and where the Texans are looking for a guy who can force turnovers, Clowney is lacking.
Stephon Tuitt is a projected late first-round to early second-round pick, probably not worthy of going No. 1. If the Texans didn't want Clowney, however, Tuitt's 12 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2012 are a promising statistic, especially for a guy with a solid build of 303 pounds.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Going for an offensive tackle would be boring, but if Houston does choose this option, it may as well get the best one available.
Jake Matthews is great off the line and shows good speed, but his best area is run blocking. The Texans have struggled with setting up holes for the running backs all season, and even when Arian Foster was healthy, creating running lanes wasn't easy.
Matthews blocked for the best at Texas A&M in Johnny Manziel, a pretty difficult job considering how much he likes to run. This pick would rely on the Texans giving either Case Keenum or T.J. Yates another go, and that seems kind of unlikely right now.
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