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Old 02-25-2016, 09:10 PM   #1
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O'Brien talks quarterbacks at NFL combine

Like every NFL head coach, Bill O'Brien met with the assembled media at the NFL's annual scouting combine on Thursday.

The first nine questions he was asked were focused on the quarterback position. And of those nine, five specifically mentioned Christian Hackenberg, the quarterback who played one season for O'Brien at Penn State.

"I'll be honest with you, I'm not all the way through watching all of these guys, but there seems to be obviously a good list of guys, guys that have had successful college careers, guys that have won a lot of games, played in different systems, so I'm enjoying watching these guys," O'Brien said.

"I think we have a long way to go. It's a long process."

Hackenberg, while playing under O'Brien during his freshman season, had 20 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions.

During the past two seasons after O'Brien left Penn State to become head coach of the Texans, Hackenberg's numbers dipped significantly.

He threw for 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions combined the last two seasons, with a combined passer rating of 115.61. Hackenberg's passer rating as a freshman in 2013 was 134.0.

"I've been around him a long time and some of these other guys I don't know, so naturally I know him a little bit better," O'Brien said about Hackenberg.

"It doesn't mean I evaluate him any differently, it just means that I've been around him a little more."

O'Brien did allow himself to acknowledge some of the attributes Hackenberg possesses.

"I think that Christian's a very talented guy, but there's a lot of talented quarterbacks in this league," O'Brien said.

"To stand up here and answer whether a guy has starting ability, I mean it is very, very difficult to start at quarterback in this league.

"Christian can throw the football. He's got a strong arm, he's a big guy, he's smart, he was able to learn quickly when we had him at Penn State, and I'll be honest with you, I've talked to a few other guys at that position, not to get into all the lists of guys that I've spoken to, that are smart, that have good arms, that seem to be quick learners and things like that.

"So again, it's a long process and it's going to take a long time to figure out at every position what's the best fit for your team."

The Texans hold the 22nd selection in the first round of the 2016 draft slated for April 28-30.

Additionally, the Texans hold the 52nd selection (2nd round), the 85th selection (3rd round) and four additional selections in the seven round draft.

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