Re: Priority needs for 2012 Texans
1. WR, I have to agree with the consensus opinion here. AJ is getting older and has been injured alot this year, Walter has been disappointing this year not near the production he had a couple years ago, and Jacoby is what he is a #4 WR who'll make an ESPN highlight play followed up by 3-4 bonehead plays or drops he's just not worth the roster spot. The rest of WR corp are roster filler nothing special. A top notch WR would take pressure off of AJ and make life for the whole offense better by spreading the defense thinner.
2. NT, for all the wonderful skill position players on the field that make the highlight reels football still has it's foundation on what happens in the trenches. Cody has played well lately but started the year off slowly and Mitchell isn't a 1 gap or 2 gap NT, he should be moved outside to DE for added depth after getting a real NT that can hold the point of attack against a double team but can also penetrate on occasion. A real NT will also take alot of pressure off the ILB's freeing them to make plays.
3. OG/C, again football has it's foundation in the trenches and a team is only good if they can control the line of scrimmage. Our O-line has played well this year for the most part but Winston is getting older, has trouble with OLB speed rushers and has short arms. Winston is effective but not spectacular. Smith, Briesel, and Caldwell are all effective but nothing special, they'd be great quality backups. Myers has played great this year but we all know that he has trouble with huge NT's, I really wish he could add 10-20 lbs. of muscle without losing athleticism. Our O-line could use some upgrades.
4. ILB, Cushing is outstanding, Demeco was great but has now been slowed by injury and we're uncertain is he'll ever get back to his old self, Dobbins is effective depth only, and Sharpton should be replaced he has the heart but not the size for the position. ILB's have to be large and tough to take on OG's, FB's, and RB's. I agree with keeping Demeco for another year to see if he can improve while also paying out more of his guaranteed money and lessening the financial hit if we cut him after next season due to diminished play. This needs some high quality depth.
5. SS/FS, Manning and Quin have been great but their backups are late round picks or street FA's. Nolan and Demps have played well this year but just like ILB an overall talent upgrade in the backups is needed and Barber should be gone. I think the Texans should consider moving Jason Allen or McMannis to Safety depth, Allen has the size, closing speed, and seems to have the instinct for the position and we could improve the quality of depth without using a pick in the draft.
6. P, Hartmann was playing very well until his ACL injury. I'm not sure how ACL injuries affect Punters but the battle of field position is important. We need a guy who can punt deep but also have directional accuracy.
7. RB, I think we let Derrick Ward walk after this season to save some money so we'll need a #3 RB.
8. FB, Casey is a "jack of all traits and master of none" he can fill in at several positions but he's depth only, Vickers is a good FB but we could probably get someone in the draft just as good but cheaper. We need the next Vonta Leach, a tank that can make holes in the defense a guy who can run the ball on occasion but more importantly who can catch a pass on occasion as well.
9. DE, just like ILB and SS/FS we have good starters but need better quality depth. I think picking a good NT will free us up to move Mitchell to DE.
***OLB is dependent on if Mario returns, if he does then we can skip this in the draft, if he leaves then OLB depth should be a 3rd or 4th round priority.
***CB, we obviously need to get better but KJ has been playing much better this year, Allen is effective depth, and we still don't know what we have in Harris and Carmichael. Needs here are dependent on the development of our younger players.