NFL Draft 2014: The Jadeveon Clowney Rule
Yes, Clowney-holic, there are quarterbacks who have been successful, won Super Bowls even, who weren't even first round picks, let alone the first selection overall. Kaepernick, Brees, Wilson, Brady I've heard the names. But if your rationale is to bring up the successful examples of unconventional means without bringing up the graveyard full of total failures in the same sample space, then I can't listen to you.
(Hint: Russell Wilson is literally the only third round pick at quarterback who comes close to qualifying as a franchise quarterback in the last 16 drafts. Maybe more, I just didn't feel the need to go back any further than 1998. Tom Brady, 6th round, same thing.)
It's akin to saying that you're setting out to become rich, and then concocting a business plan built around winning the lottery. Hey, other people have won the lottery before! So can I!
As best I can tell the "draft Clowney" crowd falls into one (or both) of two buckets:
1. Can you imagine Clowney and Watt and how unstoppable that combo would be?!?
Yes, I can absolutely imagine it. It would be an awesome display to watch each week. Two superheroes destroying offensive tackles league wide....and the Texans playing in a bunch of ugly 13-9 games and finishing 6-10 instead of 2-14. Gee, awesome. Hey look, just because something sounds great doesn't mean it's the best solution. I believe my colleague Nick Wright put it best on a recent appearance on Sports Talk Live on Comcast Sports Net -- he basically said drafting something other than a quarterback is like putting in a really nice home theater when your house is missing a roof. That nails it. The Texans had the best defensive football player on the planet and finished 2-14 last season. What's the floor for the team with the best quarterback? 9-7? At worst?
2. Clowney is clearly the best player, because none of these quarterbacks is Andrew Luck.
No, they're not, but if you're going to forego plans at the most important individual position in team sports because of who the prospects are not, then welcome to decades worth of futility. Franchise quarterbacks come in many different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. So what if none of these quarterbacks are Andrew Luck? Guess what, this is the draft class you're picking from, Texan Fan. Worry about what these guys are, not who they are not. (And oh by the way, how about Andrew Luck win a road playoff game before we anoint him as some sort of unattainable gold standard for every quarterback prospect for the next ten drafts? Luck is good, he's very good. So is someone, at least one, in this draft.)
The Texans' quarterback play, save about the first three weeks of the Case Keenum Experience, was truly punchline level horrific this season. The team needs a new quarterback, a new face, a new leader. Bob McNair thinks this team is much more talented than its 2013 record (I disagree, I would say "slightly" not "much," but that's another argument for another time.), and I can tell him that the only way the only way they make the great leap forward back into playoff contention is with drastically improved quarterback play.
The house needs a new roof, and the only available solution for that ailment is to hit the jackpot in the draft, and the undeniable best odds on hitting said jackpot is with the first overall pick. Manziel, Bridgewater, Bortles -- one of these guys (maybe more) is "that guy."
Scout them up, evaluate, and pick one. This is why you brought in a quarterback guru as a head coach, Bob.
So, back to you, Clowney-holic. Draft Jadeveon, huh Sparky? Ok, would you care to tell me your plan for the quarterback position in 2014?
Yeah, I thought so.