FIRST ROUND SCENARIOS By Brad Lorkovic (LORK 88) QB Why It Could Work: David Carr started off decent, but has been anything but that as of late. Hes been inconsistent, constantly rattled, and he forces throws into coverage. While there could be multiple reasons why hes been so rattled as of late (O Line problems, no RB to count on, new to the system, etc), most feel that hes had his time and needs competition or to be replaced. This year isnt a bad year for QB prospects as well. QBs such as Brady Quinn, JaMarcus Russell, Brian Brohm, and Troy Smith could all be available for the taking. If we want to draft an immediate and potentially star QB, we could have a choice in the 1st without having to trade up and waste picks. There are a good number of 1st round picks at QB that could be very helpful to our team next year and in the future. Kubiak being a former QB coach is too valuable of an opportunity to pass up, and it could be a great idea to let him have his choice of who he want to groom as the heir to the position. Why It Couldnt Work: Admitting Carr is done and has no future here is admitting we made a mistake in 2002 and an even bigger mistake in 2006 by passing up Vince Young. Fans would be outraged that we passed up a player like him who feel that he was Cinderella and Houston was the glass slipper that fitted perfectly. Bob McNair also signed Carr to the biggest option in his contract available, which could be yet another big cap hit to add to the list. Also, a lot of Carrs future depends on what Kubiak feels of Carr and he will ultimately have the say of if he stays or goes. Carr did start off the season well and has regressed as his O Line has, so he could feel that Carr can still accomplish what we need if he gets some help around him. Drafting a QB and having to groom him and wait on him would also be putting this team further into rebuild mode while pretty much everyone wants to win immediately. We also have a great deal of other needs, so it a lot of it depends on FA and what we feel are the bigger needs. RB Why It Could Work: To be honest, we have no real star at RB who can be consistent and counted on game after game. Lundy has been decent, but lacks the consistency. Dayne has been good as of late, but conditioning is a big question as is his big run ability. Gado has great physical aspects, but has very little vision. Overall, we have nothing special at RB and a back like Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch could be a great help to our team and our offense. Peterson is considered by some to be the best RB prospect to come out since LT did in 2001 and has shown nothing but potential thus far. The Zone Blocking Scheme which Kubiak took with him from Denver could make a RB like Peterson even more dominant at the next level. Theres no telling what a powerful and consistent running game could do to our offense. Why It Couldnt Work: Aside from Peterson having injury problems every year he was at Oklahoma, the Zone Blocking System isnt one that requires a stud at RB. There also is the assumption that Kubiak and the Denver system doesnt need a top tier RB like Peterson or Lynch and can be sustainable on someone less talented. One advantage to it is that if its implemented properly, it can make good RBs look great. Because of that assumption, Kubiak could deem it more beneficial to draft a RB later on in the draft. He also could decide to look more so to free agency to find his RB with it being filled with good RBs this year. OT Why It Could Work: Its simple: David Carr has been killed every year hes been an NFL QB and our O Line has been a joke. Throughout our existence, lots of fans have begged and pleaded that we draft a franchise LT that can anchor our O Line and hopefully change it for the better. However, weve done everything but that. Weve tried signing decent FA talent, drafting small school prospects, and moving people around, but nothing has worked as well as it shouldve. To top it off, weve passed on some solid talent at OT and even passed on trading for a top OT, but this year has Joe Thomas, whos being called an elite OT prospect. The good thing about Thomas is that hes a balanced blocker, and can block just as well in the running game as he can in pass pro. Hes also massive, but can move well in space and is very agile. Regardless of our QB situation, a great OT could never hurt and would help our offense out greatly. Why It Couldnt Work: First off, Joe Thomas might not even be around by the time we pick, as teams like Arizona could be more anxious and desperate to take Thomas. Second, drafting OTs in the draft the past few years has been a very questionable decision and one of the biggest gambles in the draft. While scouts feel Thomas is a real talent, the same was said about players like Robert Gallery and Mike Williams. Also, because we run the ZBS, we could draft an OT later in the draft and be fine. The ZBS doesnt require top O Linemen to run it properly, but relies more on linemen who are athletic enough to get to their blocks and give the RB the choice of where they want to run. Also, we did a great job drafting Charles Spencer last year in the draft as well so we might not even need an LT early like Thomas and could rely more on finding hidden talent like a team like Denver has done. You also could argue that Houston has talent along the O Line; it just needs to return from injury and needs time to gel. DT Why It Could Work: Lets face it, what couldve been considered one of our deepest positions at the end of the 2005 season is now one of our weakest. Seth Payne is likely gone for the rest of his career, we cut Robaire Smith to save cap room, and Travis Johnson isnt doing much and now has to recover from a season ending injury. Basically we need some help and a player like Alan Branch could help us out greatly. Hes massive, athletic, and strong. Theres no telling what a big man like him in the middle could do to our other D Line players. It would greatly help out Mario, Weaver, and everyone else if there was a presence in the middle that commanded multiple blockers. It could free up our rushers and would greatly help us out versus the run (something weve historically struggled against). In short, he could cause havoc at the point of attack which is something that weve always lacked. Why It Couldnt Work: Do we really need to spend even MORE money on our D Line? Weve already got Marios monster contract of around $60 million, Weaver signed for about $26.5 million this off season, and TJ still has his first round contract worth a good amount. If we took a DT at around picks 4 8, it would easily mean wed be paying anywhere from $20 million to $15 million in guaranteed money (assuming rookie contracts go up around 10 15% percent at each draft pick position). Weve also had our backups come in and play very well, proving to be valuable depth. DT is also a very hit or miss position in the draft, so it may be wiser to draft someone later on who could add to the rotation rather than do it all. OLB Why It Could Work: No offense to Kailee Wong or Shantee Orr, but they are not the answer at SLB. Wong is aging and doesnt appear to be the same that he was after his serious knee injury, and Orr seems to me that hes more of a 3-4 OLB. They seem to both lack the athletic ability to be able to play the run as well as the pass. While many speculate that Charlie Anderson could be the eventual starter at some point in time, why should we take that chance when we can get a talent like Patrick Willis? Hes got great size and speed, and won the Dick Butkus Award which is given to the nations top LB. His tenacity would help out our defense and he would be an amazing LB to play along with DeMeco. Adding another playmaker like him to play alongside Ryans would be very beneficiary and definitely make our defense better as a unit. Why It Couldnt Work: To be honest, there is nobody worthy of a pick where were going to be at. Willis is good as are the other OLB prospects, but they are better fitted to be picked around picks 10 20, and if weve learned anything from drafts in the past its that we shouldnt reach for needs. If we really feel its necessary, we could always look later on in the draft as there are some talented players who should slip (Rufus Alexander, Earl Everett). We could also give Anderson a chance or find someone in FA who fills in for the time being. Its also not one of our biggest needs, so therefore it shouldnt garner that much attention. CB Why It Could Work: Our secondary is horrible. Petey Faggins is better served as a nickel CB, and Dunta Robinson hasnt had a great season since he had a CB opposite him that he could trust and rely on (Aaron Glenn). With Peyton Manning in our division, CB is definitely a position that is highly regarded. This season we have forced the 5th worst amount of INTs so far, and struggle with forcing turnovers all together. A CB like Antoine Cason or Leon Hall could easily change that for us. Both are great at playing the ball when its in the air and are defensive playmakers. Theyve been tested against top talent and would be a great asset in our secondary. They would definitely help out our defense in a division where pass defense is greatly needed. Why It Couldnt Work: A lot of it depends on which CBs declare for the draft this year, but the verdict is still out if Hall is worth a top 10 pick. Hes definitely got the talent, but we could just as easily find a CB in free agency that could help us out and has proven himself already. CB is a position that requires a significant learning curve and the real question is do we feel like waiting for talent to develop or do we want someone who can be an immediate help. There also is the belief that the best pass defense is a great pass rush. If thats the case, we could hold on to Faggins and put more emphasis on getting to the QB than fixing our secondary. FS Why It Could Work: One of our biggest problems in the secondary has been finding consistency and preventing the deep pass. Our problem is that our FS CC Brown is better suited to be a SS. If that is a route we want to travel, we could switch him to SS and draft a FS like LaRon Landry. He is the definition of consistency and is a true ball hawk. Having started since a freshman for LSU, hes been very productive. He could greatly help out our pass defense and would help out with our INT problem. A playmaker in the secondary would be greatly welcomed, especially knowing that we wouldnt have to worry too much about giving up back to back 70 yard passes. Why It Couldnt Work: Do we really need to spend a first round pick on a FS? There is talent beyond the first round and top FS talent can be found later on in the draft. Bryan Dawkins, Mike Minter, Darren Sharper, and Madieu Williams were all drafted in the second round of their respective drafts. Also, just like the CB conundrum, we could figure its more necessary to have a pass rush rather than adding a top FS in round 1. In that case, we could keep Brown at FS or add someone in free agency.