Even if Texans acquire Tony Romo, there's a need to draft QB

HOUSTON -- Even if the Houston Texans are able to acquire Tony Romo this offseason, they likely will draft a quarterback as well.

The Texans have quite a few needs in April’s NFL draft, especially after losing three defensive starters during free agency, but finding their future starting quarterback is important for a franchise whose history shows a never-ending turnover at quarterback, especially over the past three seasons since the departure of former starter Matt Schaub.

Since 2005, the Texans have drafted three quarterbacks: Alex Brink, T.J. Yates and Tom Savage, none higher than in the fourth round. Over the past three seasons, they have started eight quarterbacks, two of whom they drafted.

In Todd McShay’s mock draft last week, he had North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky falling to the Texans with the No. 25 pick. Where the top quarterbacks in the draft -- Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes -- will be chosen is obviously unknown, but the Texans are taking long, hard looks at all four, as well as others who will be available in the later rounds.

Even if the Texans acquire Romo, he is not the long-term solution. Romo will be 37 when the 2017 season begins, and with his extensive injury history he may not have much time left as a starting NFL quarterback. Looking to the future, it is probably in Houston’s best interests to draft a signal-caller this season.

Knowing his franchise's future at quarterback was foggy at best, Texans owner Bob McNair said in early February that the team would “probably be looking” at drafting a quarterback.

In the past, the Texans have opted to look for a starter through a trade or free agency. Since the Texans traded Schaub in 2014, they have added five quarterbacks in free agency -- Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler -- and traded for Ryan Mallett.

As the Texans traded Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns this offseason, they will start a different quarterback in the season opener for the fifth straight year. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Texans and Browns are the only teams since the 2009-13 Arizona Cardinals to do so.

The Texans may not take a quarterback in the first round, but regardless, if the Texans do acquire Romo it would be an ideal situation for a young quarterback to learn from him and from coach Bill O’Brien, whose responsibilities will include working more with the offense in 2017 after he shuffled the coaching staff.

Because most successful quarterbacks never hit the free-agent market, it is imperative that teams find a quarterback in the draft, for stability at the position. There may not be the next Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers in this year’s class, but with a year or two of learning, one of this year’s quarterbacks could, finally, be the Texans’ long-term answer at the position.