Al Goldis/Associated Press
The NFL draft is a market. In every market, there's supply and demand. The NFL is generally viewed as a league run by the quarterback position, but there aren't 32 passers who are talented enough to score as net positives for NFL franchises.
Due to the nature of the sport, the demand for quarterbacks is always high. There's no trading down to find value on a passer you like. If you like him, you take him the first chance you get.
We've seen the coach-quarterback connection as predraft narratives before, and it typically looks ridiculous in retrospect. For example, there were plenty of rumors, including from Chris Mortensen, that the Buffalo Bills were going to select Ryan Nassib of Syracuse with the eighth overall pick in 2013, but Doug Marrone, the former Orange head coach, eventually traded down in the first round to take EJ Manuel. Nassib fell all the way to the 110th pick, a fourth-round selection, where he was picked up by the New York Giants.
With that being said, there seems to be a true connection between Christian Hackenberg, Penn State's former quarterback, and Bill O'Brien, who was Hackenberg's head coach during his freshman season. When Hackenberg declared for the draft after just his true junior year, the immediate sentence to follow his announcement was gratitude toward O'Brien, who hadn't coached him in two years. Not once did he thank his then-head coach James Franklin.
Could the two cross paths again, bringing back the magic that led Hackenberg to All-American honors and landed O'Brien an NFL gig? The Houston Texans sit 22nd in line in the 2016 draft. By that point, it might be too late to try to snag a talent like Jared Goff of California or Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. The option of Hackenberg is entertaining when Brian Hoyer, Tom Savage and B.J. Daniels are the team's only quarterbacks under contract.
Don't expect the Texans to be the only team in the mix, though. NFL head coaches, offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches have egos, too. They aren't going to stand aside and claim that O'Brien is the only passing guru in the league who has the talent to "fix" the tarnished golden boy. Quarterbacks get pushed up the further into the draft process we go, and Hackenberg seems to be next in line in the pecking order.