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Houston Texans Must Find a Quarterback This Offseason

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien talks to the media following an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Kansas City Chiefs,  Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Houston. Kansas City won 30-0. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press
David McCrackenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2016

For anyone who has been living under a rock this season, the Houston Texans have a bit of a quarterback crisis.

It's not because there are two competent players vying for the starting position. And no, it's not because a quarterback is injured. From Brian Hoyer to Ryan Mallett, back to Hoyer then T.J. Yates, to Brandon Weeden and then once again back to Hoyer, it's a miracle that the Texans made the playoffs. Head coach Bill O'Brien deserves a pay raise.

Everyone who knows anything knows that Houston needs a franchise quarterback. According to John McClain of the Houston ChronicleTexans owner Bob McNair told the media that they are in dire need of a signal-caller after this season. But the question is, how are they going to get that franchise quarterback this offseason?

Currently, the Texans own the 22nd overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NFL draft. The Texans can always move up to take a quarterback or even draft one at No. 22.

But beware of the dreaded 22nd overall pick in the first round, Texans fans.

Quarterbacks who have been selected with the 22nd pick since 2003 are the following: Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns), Brandon Weeden (Browns again), Brady Quinn (Browns for a third time), J.P. Losman (Buffalo Bills) and Rex Grossman (Chicago Bears).  

Yikes!

For the sake of argument, let's say that the Texans find a trade partner and move up in the first round. Are there any quarterbacks that scream "franchise player"?

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch are the top two passers in this year's draft, according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. Goff is rated as the top quarterback prospect of this draft. But Goff could be off the board as early as the second pick when the Browns are on the board.

They could always wait a little later and draft a player like Connor Cook, who Miller has said is the best pro-style quarterback in the draft. But Cook tends to turn the ball over a lot. After Hoyer's performance in the Wild Card Round against the Kansas City Chiefs, I think Houston fans have seen enough detrimental plays under center.

Some avenues of exploration that the Texans should and likely will look into are free agency and trades. Robert Griffin IIISam Bradford, Johnny Manziel and Kirk Cousins could all find themselves on the market when March comes around. They would all be instant upgrades over the current depth chart for the Texans—that includes Manziel.

It's unlikely that the Washington Redskins would let Cousins walk, but Cousins has said that he doesn't know what will happen in the coming months, according to CSN's Rich Tandler. However, it wouldn't hurt the Texans to show interest.

After all, Houston has one of the best receivers in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, a solid offensive line led by left tackle Duane Brown, and a defense that really came on late in the season. Free agency might make more sense at this point because clearly, this team can win now.

To be fair Hoyer did an admirable job during the regular season when he played, completing 60.7 percent of his passes while throwing 19 touchdown passes to seven interceptions in nine starts. But his five-turnover performance (four interceptions, one fumble) against the Chiefs in a 30-0 shutout loss at home in the playoffs is unforgivable, especially for a player who was on a short leash from the beginning of the season.

The AFC South division is the weakest in the NFL, and even if Andrew Luck returns next season, what's to say that the Indianapolis Colts won't collapse again? The Texans have an opportunity to become a mainstay in the playoffs for years to come if they can find the missing piece to the puzzle. They just need one player: a quarterback.

Unfortunately, in the NFL, that's easier said than done.

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