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TP: Texans face quandry in the draft

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; (AP) � When Houston lost to San Francisco in its final regular-season game to "earn" the No. 1 draft pick, the assumption was the Texans would take Reggie Bush, the once-in-a-generation running back. It's not that simple now that Vince ...

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Old 01-14-2006, 08:26 AM   #1
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TP: Texans face quandry in the draft

(AP) � When Houston lost to San Francisco in its final regular-season game to "earn" the No. 1 draft pick, the assumption was the Texans would take Reggie Bush, the once-in-a-generation running back.

It's not that simple now that Vince Young has declared for the draft following a dazzling performance that brought Texas the national championship. Young is from Houston, Houston is in Texas and a local hero could do wonders for the fans of a team that went 2-14.

Throw in Matt Leinart, Bush's teammate at Southern California, and the Texans are in a bit of a quandary: a do-it all running back and two quarterbacks, one a favorite son.

Don't ask Charley Casserly, Houston's general manager, to commit this early.

Among other things, he still has to find a coach, with the front-runner Gary Kubiak, the Denver offensive coordinator. Kubiak was a quarterback � John Elway's longtime backup for the Broncos � so that might become a factor.

Casserly said little after Bush declared Thursday he was leaving USC.

"All we can say is what has happened here with Reggie Bush and Vince Young declaring, with the addition of Matt Leinart among other players, is that you have a real strong top of the draft," Casserly said. "It means we're going to get a real good player if we keep the pick, and if we trade the pick, we've got certainly a very valuable commodity to trade."

To be fair, no GM in his position would say anything else at this point.

A few things to remember:

1. There are rarely sure things. Remember that in 1998, there were teams that thought Ryan Leaf was a better prospect than Peyton Manning. And that in 1989, Dallas' choice of Troy Aikman at No. 1 was criticized by many who thought the Cowboys should have chosen Tony Mandarich.

2. Houston has a young quarterback in David Carr, who will be 27 in July. He has been sacked more than 200 times in four seasons and has regressed. But indications are that the Texans will pay the $8 million bonus due in March � a recognition that the problems were on the offensive line and a hint that they will select Bush or trade down for additional picks.

3. For all his college heroics, Young is still a question to NFL scouts because of an odd throwing motion and some uncertain decision-making during his college career. Still, he appears to be a bigger Michael Vick, who can learn the NFL passing game and whose running ability will create numerous problems for opponents.

After Houston come New Orleans, Tennessee and the New York Jets.

Consider their needs (a lot) and throw in a few other prospects, including LenDale White, the power half of the running back tandem at USC � he declared for the draft the day before Bush did and probably will go in the top 10.

The Saints and Titans need quarterbacks � Tennessee's Steve McNair wants to come back but has to renegotiate what otherwise would be a salary cap-breaking deal. Sitting and learning from an accomplished veteran would be the perfect situation for a Leinart or Young.

The Jets also would like a QB because Chad Pennington has undergone surgery on his throwing shoulder twice in the last year. But they may want experience rather than youth, and they need both offensive linemen and a running back to succeed Curtis Martin.

So ...

Quick mock draft: Bush to Houston; Leinart to New Orleans; Young to Tennessee; and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, offensive tackle from Virginia to the Jets (unless Houston trades down to get him). Ferguson is from Freeport, N.Y., a short drive from the Jets' training site.

Too easy, so it won't happen that way, especially if Houston owner Bob McNair succumbs to the clamor of the fans.

Almost every team in the NFL thinks Bush will be the best player available. He is Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders, LaDaininan Tomlinson � an all purpose back with speed, elusiveness, even deceptive power.

Next comes Leinart, the classic NFL drop-back quarterback. He has some mobility, a lot of high-level, pressure experience and is viewed by scouts as a long-term starter although perhaps not a superstar.

Some history, recent and ancient:

_In 2001, San Diego had the first choice and traded down, giving Atlanta the rights to Vick and choosing Tomlinson fifth overall. The Chargers also got Drew Brees with the first pick of the second round. So who did better? Maybe New England, which took Richard Seymour one pick after the Chargers got Tomlinson.

_In 1993, Drew Bledsoe went No. 1 to the Patriots. Three other draftees turned out to long-term stars: Willie Roaf, No. 8 to New Orleans; Jerome Bettis, No. 10 to the Rams; and Michael Strahan, No. 40 to the Giants.

Typical of this era, Strahan is the only one of that group still with the team that drafted him. If the defensive-minded Bill Parcells, then the Pats' coach, knew how he would turn out would he have taken him No. 1 or would he have stuck with Bledsoe, who was the QB when New England got to the Super Bowl four seasons later?

One pick after Bledsoe, the Seahawks took Rick Mirer, another quarterback who failed. So did Leaf and three QBs taken in the top 12 in 1999 � Tim Couch (No. 1), Akili Smith (No. 3) and Cade McNown (No. 12).

In 2000, New England took Tom Brady with the 199th pick.

That's the ultimate demonstration of why there are no sure things.
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