I can’t think of anything that has fans of the Houston Texans quivering more than the belief that the number one overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft will be their team picking UCF prospect Blake Bortles. There are a few reasons that they believe it is a possibility and when you really begin to break them down, they really don’t make much sense. I’ll touch on what those reasons are and why I feel safe in saying that folks can sleep tight because Blake Bortles will not be a Houston Texan.
I blame the 24 hour news cycle for this one, really. The wait for the draft this year has been longer than ever with the late start to day one not happening until May 8th. With that much time on their hands, draft “experts” have had to do something to create a narrative and generate traffic and page clicks. Just look at how much pro days have changed the rankings on numerous occasions this draft season. That never happened before social media took over the sports world. But even today we have the same media members saying Aaron Murray’s pro day was so good that he just made himself an early day two pick.
However, even those that have had Bortles at the top of their mock draft for a couple of months now have finally fell in line just the way most of us thought they would; Jadeveon Clowney has overtaken said spot.
The next reason fans are so terrified of this possible scenario is because they’ve read into the “connections” thesis that so many have pointed to. “Bill O’Brien likes big quarterbacks.” “Bill O’Brien likes Bortles because he poured it on vs. Penn State.” “Bill O’Brien coached with George O’Leary years ago so it has to be Bortles.” When you sit back and think about some of these, they’re just downright lazy “reports.” One only has to look as far as Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Ryan Nassib…oh, that’s right. That one wasn’t true either. Yet reports were that rookie head coach Doug Marrone just had to have him at eighth overall.
I can’t grasp how anyone truly believes that a rookie head coach would start the clock on his tenure by forcing a quarterback pick at number one overall if he didn’t think he was a surefire franchise guy. Since February, the scouting report has been that Bortles “has the highest ceiling and most upside, however, he is still a project at this point.” What rookie head coach is going to take a project player number one overall? One that doesn’t want to be pulling a paycheck from his new employer for long, that’s who.
If the ceiling is so high on Bortles, why do we hear nothing of him consistently as a top ten selection if the Texans don’t pick him?
The biggest reason I think fans are scared of the Bortles number one overall coming to fruition is, honestly, a case of battered fan syndrome. The Capers era, followed up by the almost even more inept Kubiak administration has fans still always expecting the worst. It’s a hard thing to let go of indifference and whether most want to admit it or not, there was plenty of that settling in last year. But we can’t let the sins of the father be passed on to his offspring. In other words, this is a completely different regime with a completely different approach. To think anyone knows what they’re going to do is hilarious and just plain wrong. That’s why this article could turn out to be my “Pizza Boy Watt” gaffe.
In the end, I just can’t see the team taking a project player number one overall when there is a once in a decade plus talent there for the taking. Teams that force a quarterback pick at number one overall when there isn’t a sure thing there usually have bad endings. I’m sure I speak for Texans fans when I say that I hope Bill O’Brien doesn’t become another statistic to that fact.
Gun to my head; I’m going on record as guaranteeing that Blake Bortles will not be a Houston Texan barring a big trade down out of number one overall. Feel free to quote me on that.