The Houston Texans secured the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after losing their last 14 games to finish the regular season 2-14. Owner Bob McNair isn't sure the franchise will actually use the selection, however, and is open to a trade.
Tania Ganguli of ESPN passed along comments from McNair, who mentions the team's need for a quarterback but would consider trading down for a shot at more cornerstone players.
"Maybe we'll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player," McNair said Friday. "It's an exciting time. Everything's a moving target. Lot of different pieces."
General manager Rick Smith also chimed in, stating the team would be open to all possibilities, including drafting a position other than quarterback if a trade doesn't materialize:
I don't think you take a particular position just because you need a particular position at any point in the draft, especially the first pick. So we'll rank it, we'll value it and we'll make good choices if the opportunity presents itself to move back because it is a very valuable pick, and we'll entertain those as well.
While the draft class won't be finalized until all of the underclassmen make their final decisions about whether to go pro, the early outlook for the quarterback class is strong. CBS Sports ranks four players at the position inside the top 20 overall.
Should the Texans trade the No. 1 pick?
Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is the front-runner to get taken off the board first among the quarterbacks, but Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, UCF's Blake Bortles and Fresno State's Derek Carr are all promising prospects and eligible for the draft.
So Houston's stance makes sense on the surface. If it can trade down to a point where one of those players will still be available and also get another piece, whether it's another high pick or a player, it's definitely worth exploring.
Of course, it also opens the team up to major criticism if things don't work out. If the Texans trade down, the quarterback they end up taking doesn't pan out and Bridgewater, or whichever QB comes off the board first, becomes a star, it will be a huge missed opportunity.
The comments come shortly after Houston decided to hire Bill O'Brien as its new head coach. ESPN Stats and Info points out that all three of the coaches in the team's short history have started by owning the top pick:
Bill O'Brien is the 3rd head coach in Texans history; all 3 have started their Houston tenure with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 3, 2014
Whether that will still be true when draft day arrives is apparently up in the air.