On Fire – 4/22/14



The NFL draft is only 17 days away, and speculation is running rampant as to who the Houston Texans will select with the first overall pick.

Will Houston go for a quarterback? God knows that the Texans need a gunslinger in the backfield.

After Matt Schaub led the team to the worst record in the league last season, the Texans traded him away to Oakland and signed former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But we all know that Fitzpatrick and back-up T.J. Yates are just not going to cut it. For one, Fitzpatrick went to Harvard. It seems pretty safe to say that he is too much of a nerd to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl.

Furthermore, T.J. Yates has the same first initials as the leader of the gang of kids who starred in the old cartoon “Recess.” Yes, we all loved T.J. — he was funny, easy-going and a little pudgy. But anyone who was a kid around the turn of the 21st century knows that you would want to pull a prank with T.J., but you would want Vince being your quarterback.

The fact of the matter is, the Texans have no Vince.

The problem, however, is that this draft does not appear to have a Vince either. There is no standout quarterback who leaps out off the draft boards, who screams to general managers around the league, “I am your man — I am your Vince.”

There is Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy-winning party boy from Texas A&M. More than any other player in recently memory, he epitomizes the ideal of “I put the team on my back, doe.”

Furthermore, he has the nerve and the daring persona that are necessary to succeed in the NFL. How do we know? Because Johnny posted a video to his Instagram account recently that demonstrates his possession of these two qualities.

The video begins with Johnny standing on a dock near a young man in the water on a jet ski. The jet ski takes off, Johnny throws the football and next thing we know, the guy in the jet ski has caught it (your Eagle-eyed On Fire correspondent cannot actually confirm this because he (or she) could not actually make out the football in the video, but the guy on the jet ski celebrated like he had caught it, and we will give him and Johnny the benefit of the doubt).

This is nerve. This is daring. This is the kind of video that we should start posting to the On Fire Instagram account. However, there are questions surrounding Johnny’s character — does he have too much fun to succeed in the supremely focused world of the NFL? Furthermore, will his game translate from college to the pro game?

Because of these doubts, the Texans seem unlikely to pick Manziel. So that leaves Blake Bortles of UCF and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville as potential franchise quarterbacks in this draft.

But put yourself in the Texans’ shoes. Do you really want to build your franchise around a man named Blake Bortles? That sounds like the name of a bumbling farmer in a British children’s story.

Besides, everyone knows that alliteration is fantastic in the sports section’s headlines but awful in the names of quarterbacks.

And Teddy Bridgewater. His name is pretty cool — Bridgewater brings to mind epic quests in Middle Earth and knights saving damsels in distress. And Teddy is like Teddy Roosevelt, who did a killer job in “Night at the Museum.”

But rumor has in that when picking a quarterback the Texans care more about things like arm strength and foot speed than in how epic a name someone has. And they seem to have certain doubts about Mr. Bridgewater that disincline them from taking him number one overall.

However, there are some inspiring players on the defensive side of the ball that the Texans are reportedly interested in, especially Jadeveon Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina and Khalil Mack, the linebacker from Buffalo.

Jadaveon Clowney clearly has the cooler name, but since the Texans have already made it clear to us that awesomeness of name is only one of many criteria with which they are evaluating players, we will not harp on it too much. Either player should make a valuable contribution to the Texans’ defense. And if they are lucky, they will be able to snag Bridgewater at the beginning of round two.

If we had the first pick in the draft, we would take Ego Ferguson, defensive tackle from LSU. With a name like that, how could he be a bust?