It Begins, O'Brien/Manziel: New Year's Eve's Perfect Texan Storm
The Texans' hire of O'Brien would seem to tip their hand somewhat on what they're thinking of doing with the number one overall pick. I mean, you're hiring a quarterback guru, why not get him a shiny new quarterback to play with?
The two quarterbacks that most experts (and plenty of non-experts) seem to see as potentially worthy of the number one overall pick are Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Manziel. Other non-quarterback names dot the top of some big boards (mostly, South Carolina superhero defensive end Jadeveon Clowney), but the Texans should not over think this -- if there is a 50/50 chance you think a quarterback can be a franchise guy, and you need a franchise quarterback, you take the quarterback over the "sure thing" any-other-position, all day, every day.
Quarterback is that important. In the NFL, it's the final exam. As a team, it counts for like two thirds of your grade. When you need one, and you have the first pick in the draft (as "franchise QB acquisition" methods go, #1/#1 is the highest percentage hit rate in the array of minuscule hit rates), you take the quarterback and don't look back.
If the Texans determine that Bridgewater is that guy, I won't have a big problem with it. That said, I defy you to come up with a single football reason why Johnny Manziel isn't the best quarterback available in this draft.
All Manziel has done is pile up ungodly stats in some of the most scintillating ways possible in the most harrowing conference in college football. Arm strength? He has it. Accuracy? Ridiculously accurate. Extending plays and scrambling? The best ever.
And ironically, I think it's the last one, the ability to run with the football and improvise, that negatively paints the overall picture on Manziel the Player. He's almost a victim of his own greatness in a skill that clearly NFL fans and expert-types are trying to wrap their brain around. People, lazy people, who see his magnificent ability to scramble use that to pigeonhole him as a "type of quarterback whose game may not translate to the NFL." Never mind that "that type of quarterback" has never translated better to the NFL than it does in 2013, but Manziel can throw from the pocket! He can make reads! He's improved as a passer!
In short, Johnny Football is REALLY good at football! PERIOD.
So once people are done inaccurately analyzing Manziel the Player, they proceed to Manziel the Partier as the reason to bypass him, but the fact is, for all of his offseason, social media fueled drama last summer, he a) still worked as hard at improving his game as any player in college football and b) hasn't really had an off field "incident" of any type since "oversleeping" at the Manning Passing Academy in July.
Besides, if part of the "Manziel bravado package" is a little bit of carousing, then so be it. Houston needs Manziel, and quite frankly, considering some of the weapons-challenged teams waiting to pounce on the Kerrville native if the Texans go another direction, Manziel needs Houston.
So I'll roll with my theory -- the O'Brien news breaking practically in the middle of Johnny Football's final gift to college football fans was a sign. It's now up to Bob McNair, Rick Smith, and yes, Bill O'Brien, to finish the job.
Texan fans have subsisted the last eight years on a steady, vanilla diet of Kubiak and Schaub. That's no way to live. With O'Brien and Manziel, you're talking about a complete facelift, a facelift that would make Andy Reid and Alex Smith in Kansas City look like minor botox by comparison.
The Texans would be undergoing a culture teardown, a Kubi-ectomy, a total reset. A true NFL version of CTRL-ALT-DEL.
After all these years, "Football time in Houston" would finally be cool.
Starting January 2, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.