Houston Texans: Trading up for QB Lamar Jackson will be difficult

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25: Lamar Jackson
LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25: Lamar Jackson /

After enduring a rather quiet storm this week, the Houston Texans are back in the news in regard to working one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft.  No, it’s not Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen but one Lamar Jackson.  Why?  I can see how he’d fit in this system but it’s going to be difficult to trade up for him.  Here’s why.

Things have died down for the Houston Texans as a transition into the second week of free agency has been a reality.  Usually the top-tier talent is snatched up early and now the team will be tasked with finding talent through other avenues such as the draft, leftover free agents and those talents not selected in the draft.

There could be some nice finds with what’s leftover and the Houston Texans have approximately $34.5 million to spend the rest of the way to try field a competitive roster for 2018.  It’s possible but Brian Gaine needs focus solely on having an immense amount of depth for this season.

He appears to be stacking the deck in that regard but the same avenue of a folly can’t be crossed this season.  The team had too much of a reliance on undrafted free agents, causing this team to not be competitive enough to garner a 4-12 record.

But the biggest relief this season is that the Houston Texans won’t be looking for a starting quarterback as Deshaun Watson has proven in the seven games he appeared in that he’s the real deal.  I’m extremely proud of what he’s done for the team and this gifted man is so excited to watch.  The attributes of what makes him so gifted are nothing short of amazing.

However, the backup quarterback position is just as important because this fast-paced, high-octane offense needs to be ran be someone who would be able maintain continuity if something were to happen to Watson.

For all things considered, that man is Lamar Jackson and Ian Rapoport reported that he was in town yesterday for a private workout for the team, which is intriguing within itself.  The standout, dynamic quarterback out of the University of Louisville has declared himself for the draft, after completing his junior year with the football program.

What can’t this guy do?  He has superior arm strength, has wheels like none other and can keep the pace up high and quickly, just as he did over his three collegiate seasons.  Louisville’s offense was ranked 3rd in the FBS Division I this season so he’s already proven that he can flourish in system that suits his best strengths.  He’s not completely polished with his footwork necessarily but I think his presence would be a boon for Bill O’Brien‘s playbook.  I could imagine him doing the old switcheroo with Watson to try to throw off defenses even more.

What’s it going to take to get him?

It’s tough to gauge where Jackson will fall in this year’s draft.  With the quarterback being such a premium position, all signs would point to him being selected in the first round.  I don’t think we

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have the assets — and shouldn’t overpay — to try to snag him in that round.  But if for some reason he falls into the 2nd round, then there’s a possibility that he’d be attainable depending on what teams want from the Houston Texans in a possible.

At this moment, the team with the most assets in the second round are the Cleveland Browns, to which they own our previous pick — 35th overall — in the Brock Osweiler trade.  Jackson may slip out of the first round but he’ll go likely very early in the second at the worst because of his unique skill set.

Are the Browns seriously up for making another deal with the Texans?  They also have the first pick in the second round — 33rd overall– and the last pick of the round — 64th overall — so if Jackson slips and they want him, they’ll have to act fast to get him.  We’d likely have to package at least two of our 2018 third-rounders or an early pick in 2019 just to get the guy.  I think the latter would be too high of a cost for a person that’s going to be riding the pine for a majority of the time.

The Rundown

I’d consider Jackson to be a pipe dream at this point, a luxury they can’t afford and they can hopefully fill this position with a vet that’s reliable enough to run this system.  We’ll have to see but I bet the backup QB position likely won’t be settled until after the draft.  For what it’s worth, Taylor Heinicke is still under contract for 2018 off a two-year, $1.3 million deal.  Tom Savage has moved on to the Big Easy and T.J. Yates is back on the couch.

My level of confidence is far from high in Heinicke, whose debut was marred with a rough, legal hit after completing one pass for 10 yards.  He suffered a concussion just a few downs into his career against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year.  I was at that game and that fabric from that blue tent was getting worn out with all of the guys that had to go in from that contest alone.  But again, 2017 is over so let’s look forward to the future, which looks amazingly bright thus far.

Next: The move for the Texans that will be most expensive

Jackson passed for 9,043 yards8.3 yards per attempt — and threw 69 touchdowns to 10 interceptions is his three seasons with Louisville.  His completion percentage stands at 57 percent through that span.

Go Texans.