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Houston Texans QB issue should leave mark in 2017 NFL Draft

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(Getty Images)

HOUSTON – As has been a returning theme revolving around the Houston Texans during the last several offseasons, there is a big question mark surrounding a very important position on the field.

The field general, to be precise; the quarterback.

Houston has struggled to find their franchise QB since taking David Carr No. 1 overall in the team's initial draft in 2002.

On Thursday, during the first round of the NFL draft, the eyes of Texans fans will be watching to see if Houston will select a quarterback in the first round for the second time in franchise history.

Carr spent five seasons as Houston's signal-caller, starting 75 games during that stretch. He was sacked an average of 50 times per season behind the Texans offensive line. The line really bought into the offensive title.

Carr left town in 2007, and Houston traded Atlanta for Matt Schaub.

Schaub started 88 games in seven seasons in Houston with a 46-42 record.

He was selected to two Pro Bowls, and is the best QB the Texans have had.

Nowadays, Houston's QB options are a bit different.

[PHOTOS: 2017 NFL Draft class - Quarterbacks]

Houston has been a revolving door for QBs since Bill O'Brien took the job on Kirby Drive in 2014.

O'Brien has gone 9-7 each season in Houston with so many QBs, it would literally make your head spin if we listed them here.

That being said, I think we can expect Houston to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft. However, the Texans management has proven to be unpredictable in recent years, which is not exactly a bad thing.

“We currently have two quarterbacks on the roster,” Rick Smith said. “Our intentions are to have three when we get to camp.”

Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden are the two quarterbacks currently on the roster, and Savage is the current starter.

[PHOTOS: Texans No. 1 Draft Picks Through The Years]

Smith said that he was comfortable with Savage as the starting quarterback for this offense.

“He’s proven he understands this offense. I think he’s proven he can play at a high level,” Smith said.

Savage started a pair of games last season for the Texans before suffering a concussion in Week 17, which cost him the remainder of the season.

Most experts expect the Texans to use an early draft pick on a quarterback, and the team has hosted several quarterbacks, including Clemson’s DeShaun Watson and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, for pre-draft interviews in Houston.

Add Mitchell Trubisky, from North Carolina; DeShone Kizer, from Notre Dame; Joshua Dobbs, from Tennessee; Nathan Peterman, from Pittsburgh; Davis Webb, from California; and Brad Kaaya, from Miami, and you have a fairly decent crop of quarterbacks who are rated as top 100-150 picks by most national draft experts.

Some believe Trubisky is going to be the first QB off the board on Thursday. When he is drafted is the question that will affect the Texans the most.

If a run of QBs starts coming off the board early in the first round, will Houston make a trade up to get their guy?

If QBs slip and Houston has its pick of every quarterback in the draft, which direction will they lean?

This, obviously, is assuming the Texans are leaning toward a quarterback in the first round.

If they aren't, Houston can look to use its remaining picks to target a QB who they believe may have slipped through the cracks either on draft day or during the scouting process.

Smith is known to make moves during the draft, so Thursday should be fun for Texans fans.

Houston owns the 25th overall pick, 57th overall pick (2nd round), 89th overall pick (3rd round), 130th and 142nd (from Browns) overall picks (4th round), 169th overall pick (5th round) and the 243rd overall pick (7th round).

Here's a closer look at the options at quarterback:

Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
6-2, 222 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 158.3 YDS: 3748 TD: 30
Trubisky owns a career 30:6 TD-to-INT ratio and 68.2 completion percentage. He didn't start until 2016, and is entering the NFL Draft after 13 collegiate starts. May believe due to his frame, mobility and arm strength that he will develop into an effective NFL starter.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson
6-2, 221 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 151.1 YDS: 4593 TDS 41
Watson led Clemson to two ACC titles, two CFP Championship games (2015-16) and one CFP Championship title (2016). He owns a 32-3 record as a three-year starter at Clemson. In the back-to-back CFP Championship appearances, Watson passed for 825 yards and led Clemson to 75 points against Alabama's defense. Some analysists have said they think Watson needs to improve his deep accuracy, but he has the physical tools and rare intangibles to grow into a good NFL starter.

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
6-2, 225 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 157.0 YDS: 5052 TDS: 41
Mahomes became the 3rd FBS player with multiple seasons of 5,000 total yards of offense. He finished his Texas Tech career with 29 starts. Many scouts have been blown away by Mahomes' outstanding skill set, but those pundits are saying he will only succeed in the NFL if given time and proper coaching to refine his poor footwork and to make a major transition to a pro-style system.

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
6-4, 233 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 145.6 YDS: 2925 TDS: 26
Kizer owns a 12-11 career record. He is a redshirt sophomore and a two-year starter who is coming off a 4-8 season in 2016. Experts are comparing Kizer's size, arm strength and deceptive mobility to that of Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco. Some say he would have benefitted from another year in college.

Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
6-3, 216 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 150.6 YDS: 2946 TDS: 27
Dobbs was a three-year starter who finished with a 23-12 record in Knoxville. He completed 61.3-percent of his career passes. Dobbs also rushed for 2,106 yards and 32 TDs. With an Aerospace Engineering Major, scouts say Dobbs has excellent intangibles and intriguing physical tools as a dual-threat QB. Dobbs had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, but he is a project as a passer. He is not expected to be drafted in the first two rounds of the draft.

Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh
6-2, 226 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 163.4 YDS: 2855 TDS 27
Peterman began his career at Tennessee, where he made only one start. He transferred to Pitt in 2015 to become a starter. Peterman played all 26 games (24 starts) during his two seasons as a Panther, completing 61-percent of his passes. Draft experts say he has a very strong work ethic, leadership skills and intangibles. Scouts are saying Peterman will make a good backup in the NFL, with the possibility to develop into a solid starter later in his career.

Davis Webb, California
6-4, 229 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 135.6 YDS: 4295 TDS 37
Webb lost his starting job after throwing for 5,557 yards and 46 TDs in 23 games at Texas Tech. He then transferred to Cal, where he was a one-year starter in 2016. Webb completed 61.6 percent of his passes that season. Experts say Webb has durability issues, he needs to transition from the Air Raid offense to a pro system, and his accuracy is inconsistent. Scouts also say he has prototypical size, very good arm strength and the football intelligence to absorb. Webb is not expected to be drafted in the top three rounds.

Brad Kaaya, Miami
6-3, 214 pounds
2016 Stats: Rating: 150.3 YDS: 3532 TDS: 27
Kaaya suffered a concussion in 2015, but only missed one game. He started all 38 other games in his three-year career. He completed 61 percent of his career passes with the Hurricanes. Experts say Kaaya needs to add strength to his frame. They also have little faith in his arm strength. Kaaya has the fast eyes, release quickness and anticipation to develop into a really good backup or possibly a solid starter, according to some draft experts. Kaaya is expected to be drafted in the middle rounds.