2017 NFL Draft: Houston Texans 5 Quarterback Options to Groom

The Houston Texans are stuck with Brock Osweiler at quarterback for at least one more year, but here are five potential replacements in the 2017 NFL Draft

Thanks to a contract that gives him $37 million guaranteed, Brock Osweiler will be a quarterback for the Houston Texans in 2017. He may not be the starter, but he will be on the roster. The team expects their prized free agent from 2016 (who turned out to be a huge bust) to battle with Tom Savage for the starting job next season.

Both played last year, and neither was that impressive. Osweiler threw more picks than touchdowns and Savage still has zero career touchdowns. He was also unable to finish his first start and missed the playoffs as well due to injury.

Since neither has given much reason for the team to be confident, they look like they will be drafting someone this spring to hopefully give that position a shot in the arm according to team owner Bob McNair.

With their position in the draft they most likely will not be able to secure one of the top players at the position. This means that they could be looking for a lesser-known player that may take some time to groom. Here is a look at five players they could very well target in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Nov 26, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) looks for a receiver against the UCLA Bruins during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 26, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) looks for a receiver against the UCLA Bruins during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Davis Webb — California

Davis Webb played in 23 games for the Texas Tech Red Raiders before transferring to California for the 2016 season. He was a graduate transfer, which meant he didn’t have to sit out the season and was able to start right away for the Golden Bears. He enjoyed his best season, by far, in his senior year and hopes to parlay that into an NFL career.

Vitals

Height: 6-5
Weight: 230 pounds
Completion Percentage: 61.5
Touchdowns: 83
Interceptions: 34

What the Scouts Say

Some say he has a better arm than 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff. What he doesn’t have is great pocket presence. He also makes bad decisions when under pressure, which is why he most likely won’t be selected until day three. NFL Mocks’ Shawn Spencer offered this about Webb as a player:

Winning the Most Outstanding Player award at the Senior Bowl will help Webb’s draft stock, as he proved he could work from under center and read the entire field. However, with the opposing defense unable to blitz or confuse the offense with exotic coverages, Webb’s biggest weakness, his poise, was not tested. He certainly has the arm talent to succeed, which is why he receives an early day three grade and should come off the board in round four or five of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Will He Land in Houston?

This is the kind of player they can use. He is a pocket passer and has the measurables that head coach Bill O’Brien loves. He also got some attention thanks to his great Senior Bowl game. That could actually inflate his stock more than it should which could lead to him being picked earlier than Houston would like. If he stays as a day three pick though, it would make sense to grab him as a developmental guy that O’Brien could groom.

Dec 29, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Jerod Evans (4) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Jerod Evans (4) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Jerod Evans — Virginia Tech

Another player who jumped around some, Jerod Evans played for the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2013. After tearing his ACL he moved to Trinity Valley Community College for a couple of seasons and finally wound up at Virginia Tech for the 2016 season.  He played incredibly well in his one season for the Hokies but thanks to his limited experience he could find himself lasting for several rounds.

Vitals

Height: 6-3
Weight: 238 pounds
Completion Percentage: 63.5
Touchdowns: 29
Interceptions: 8

What the Scouts Say

The consensus seems to be that Evans could have been much better served staying at Virginia Tech for another season. His skills were on display in 2016 but with just one year of film, the questions will remain. Mike McDaniel of the Fighting Gobbler had this to say of Evans:

While Evans was efficient and effective in his first year under center, he struggled at times reading through his progressions and throwing an accurate deep ball. While he has the arm strength and size to perform at the next level, he likely would have benefited from another year under the tutelage of Justin Fuente.

He did impress with his running. Evans had 846 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the ground. His ability with his legs could be a huge benefit to whoever drafts him.

Will He Land in Houston?

He has the size and arm strength that head coach Bill O’Brien would like. He also would be available later in the draft, which would also make the Texans happy. It’s hard to predict which direction they will go thanks to the huge contract that Osweiler has, but they could do worse than Evans.

Nov 5, 2016; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Seth Russell (17) passes against the TCU Horned Frogs during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 5, 2016; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Seth Russell (17) passes against the TCU Horned Frogs during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Seth Russell — Baylor

Baylor University has been in the news for all the wrong things. They also haven’t turned out successful quarterbacks as of late. Robert Griffin III had a great start for the Washington Redskins, but flamed out real fast. He is now on the Cleveland Browns, but they desperately need an upgrade. After him came Bryce Petty, who hasn’t done much for the New York Jets yet. Could their latest signal-caller Seth Russell be different?

Vitals

Height: 6-3
Weight: 220 pounds
Completion Percentage: 56.9
Touchdowns: 60
Interceptions: 18

What the Scouts Say

The scouts worry about Russell’s injury history. A broken bone in his neck happened in 2015 and an ankle injury in 2016 ended his final year with the Bears. What they do like is his strong arm and professional build. The questions for him though are the same as all other Baylor quarterbacks, will the offense they ran in school translate? CBS Sports’ Rob Rang had this to say about the Baylor signal-caller:

Played in a simplified offense that did not huddle, take snaps from under center or ask the quarterback to make many post-snap reads – all fixtures at the NFL level. Reliant upon his initial read, staring down his primary target and rarely switching to second and third receiving options. Too often forces receivers to adjust their routes, spraying the ball high, low and wide due to inconsistent mechanics as a passer. Does not consistently step into his throws, flinging the ball with a whip-like motion.

Will He Land in Houston?

They seemed uninterested in Petty in the draft and Griffin in free agency. Russell should be the Baylor trifecta. This will be another player from the spread offense school that they skip over. He has the size, but not the decision making that O’Brien and company are looking for.

Jan 24, 2017; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad quarterback Antonio Pipkin of Tiffin (2) drops back to pass during practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 24, 2017; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad quarterback Antonio Pipkin of Tiffin (2) drops back to pass during practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

4. Antonio Pipkin — Tiffin

Small school quarterbacks have found their way to the top as of late. Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo has been a favorite of trade talks since he showed what he could do for the New England Patriots. Carson Wentz went from North Dakota State hero to Philadelphia Eagles savior when they selected him second overall in 2016. Thanks to them Antonio Pipkin of Tiffin could have a better chance of being selected early in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Vitals

Height: 6-1
Weight: 225 pounds
Completion Percentage: 64.78
Touchdowns: 88
Interceptions: 32

What the Scouts Say

Scouts love his legs, but not as much with his arm strength. There’s also going to continue to be the concern with the level of talent he faced at Tiffin. Per his Draft Profile on NFL.com:

Pipkin’s level of competition will clearly be a strike against him unless he steps up and has a big week at the Senior Bowl. He’s undersized with an average arm and needs to improve his accuracy and pocket poise. While he has proven to be dangerous with the feet, he doesn’t have the physical traits that teams are usually willing to take shots on late in the draft. He may find himself fighting to catch a team’s eye from the undrafted free agent list.

Will He Land in Houston?

This also feels like a no. The Texans have never been huge on the dual threat quarterbacks. Then with Pipkin, it feels like he is only going to be a single threat. His arm isn’t strong enough and he is on the small side as well. He seems more like a gadget quarterback than the guy who will lead a franchise out of obscurity.

Oct 15, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) rushes for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 15, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) rushes for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

5. Chad Kelly — Ole Miss

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly us the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. He made his way to the Rebels via Clemson and East Mississippi Community College. He was dismissed by Clemson for his conduct and then later was arrested in Buffalo for a fight with some bouncers where he made threats with a weapon. The bumps in the road will raise some questions as will a torn ACL that ended his season.

Vitals

Height: 6-2
Weight: 215 pounds
Completion Percentage: 63.9
Touchdowns: 50
Interceptions: 21

What the Scouts Say

The scouts love the arm strength of Kelly, which is easily his greatest attribute. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports had this to say about the Ole Miss product’s attributes as a thrower:

The first thing that jumps out about Kelly on tape is his NFL arm strength, showing effortless velocity to fire strikes to every level of the field. He uses his body and follow-through motion to add extra RPMs on throws and fit the football into tight windows.

He was compared to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Similar in stature to Romo, Kelly also is able to extend plays with his legs and plays with a strong passion. He does need to learn to control that enthusiasm though according to Zierlein:

Kelly’s biggest issue is how excitable he gets while on the field. Kelly must learn to slow things down and respond with consistency when the action gets heated. At times, he suffers from poor short-throw accuracy when his mechanics and footwork break down.

Will He Land in Houston?

Considered by many to be a late-round pick, Chad Kelly could be a steal for the Texans. He will need time to develop but has the bloodlines to be great. His arm strength and improvisation cannot be taught. The issues he has on the field however can be coached up. As long as the Texans feel like his off-field issues are a thing of the past, this would be their best option for a potential Osweiler/Savage replacement.

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