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Texan Re-Match with Patriot Mock
Win or loose this is an exercise to address what I perceive as areas of focus to improve roster for playoff football specifically vs Belichick/Brady Patriot team. The Hoodie finally cashed in his draft picks after trading down yearly to add impact players on defense, Chandler Jones, DE, Dont'a Hightower, ILB, (Texans mock pick pre-draft) Tavon Wilson, FS, Jake Bequette, DE, Nate Ebner, SS & CB Alfonzo Dennard (who I cannot understand why slipped as far as he did). Patriots killed it from defensive standpoint. In prior draft focus was on addressing RB position & OL. Then they traded for Aqib Talib another former first round cornerback who if straight, is a top level corner for basically nothing http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/stor...-cornerback-sb Now Patriots are a complete team, they will probably go back to trading back philosophy, stock pile picks & just try to add playmakers on both side of the ball.
So how do the Texans answer, compete against such a well built, organization with elite leader both on sidelines & in backfield? Rick Smith has done a fine job transitioning Houston from a AFC South doormat into AFC Championship caliber NFL playoff team, winning two games in postseason back to back years, but now the challenge will be taking it to next level. Right or wrong it always comes back to the QB position, yet we don't foresee Kubiak making any drastic changes, however succession planning for position will now be addressed. Matt turned 31 & is in the prime of his career now but in a couple more years when his contract extension he recently signed this past off-season winds down a transition must be made to another signal caller, hopefully polished with enough athletic ability to extend plays longer while still run this offense.
Combine this with fact that 67 underclassman have declared already to come out early, that surpass'es record set last year when 65 juniors and red-shirt sophomores entered the 2012 draft. Texans still hold all their picks for 2013 plus have at least three compensatory picks, maybe four, to address team needs. Additional emphasis on special teams, still looking for plus returner & would consider Bray's teammate Cordarrelle Patterson if available or Texans unwilling to make QB transition now.
First Round: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (Jr.) 6050 215
Has raw ability, leadership qualities, strong accurate arm to become Texan next franchise QB. This will benefit Schaub both from motivational aspect to mentoring & extending his career. I think its time to seriously consider the future of this franchise & Texans could use Yates to move up in early round or pick up additional pick. Bra(d)y has measureables that will intrique Texans QB guru/HC Gary Kubiak & shape war room to justify making this investment now.
Second Round: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (Jr.) 6000 200
Very productive, 1,405 yards (school record) 18 touchdown catches (ACC record) with a team-high 82 receptions. With depth in this years WR class there will be plus value, given his less than elite size or electric speed he should be available in the 2nd round. Texans have players they can use to trade up or extra picks to use if they really target him & position to upgrade weapons for Schaub & Bray to be more dynamic.
Third Round: David Bakhtiari, OT/OG, Colorado (Jr.) 6040 295
Versatile linemen who fits ZBS, has played RT now LT past two seasons making him at least ideal swing tackle prospect for Texans as Newton establishes himself as the starting RT of the future. Ultimately I see Bakhtari becoming Wade Smith replacement @ LG, similar to Logan Mankins for Patriots.
Third Round Compensatory (Mario Williams): Jelani Jenkins, LB, Florida (Jr.) 6000 237
Edge rusher despite lack of size the target here is combination of speed & pass rushing skills. With added bulk he could also slide inside, played position before for Gators, exceptional sideline to sideline speed. In the mold of Mychal Kendricks (5-11, 239) & Lavonte David (6-1, 233). Before you shoot him down think about possibility next to Cushing? Jenkins was productive in his career. He started 31 games and registered 182 tackles (16.5 behind the line) with six sacks and three picks for UF. Endured multiple injuries this past season, including a broken thumb, a fractured foot and a hamstring injury. He recorded 29 tackles with two sacks and an interception, which is only reason still on the board this late.
Fourth Round: Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA (rSr.) 6065 255
Currently graded out as a 7th rd. prospect by CBS sports one would think his stock will actually be much higher so upped his slot to sweet spot where Texans typically take a TE, the 4th rd. Texans don't just need TE production to run offense they depend on it to convert 1st downs especially 3rd down situations, but they also continue to struggle in red zones. A bigger TE prospect in the mold of Gronkowski Texans should covet. We will see this Sunday against the Patriots.
Fifth Round: Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia (Jr.) 6054 355
Surprise early declaration into draft following in John Jenkins footsteps literally. Lot of football talent in family, adds physical presence inside, rotational player for jumbo packages. Gives Wade Phillips another tool in his box to compress pocket/running lanes & keep guys legs fresh. In 2012, Geathers played in all 14 games and finished with 40 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss and a sack, and one blocked field goal. Valued depth piece @ coveted 3-4 nose tackle position, that is required IMO.
Fifth Round Compensatory (Joel Dreessen): Quinn Sharp, Punter/K, Oklahoma State (Sr.) 6010 205
Lock to supplant a steady but not spectacular Donnie Jones who turn 33 this year but the real kicker (no pun intended) is that his strong leg converted 71 touch backs in 2012 more than any other player in College football. That my friends is a new weapon for special teams warranting selection. This would help also keep Randy Bullock (placed on IR) healthy, fresh & focused on converting his job, converting field goals & extra points.
Fifth Round Compensatory (Mike Briesel): Nigel Malone, CB (Sr.) Kansas State, 5100 185
Great late round value (I know a lot of you want a corner taken earlier) but Nigel can play next level probably more of a nickle CB who is similar to FA to be Brice McCain (taken in 6th rd. 09). 5 int's in 2012 w/51 tackles, 7 int's in 2011 w/58 tackles he is not a one year wonder bringing constant pressure in man coverage & solid tackler in run support despite size.
Sixth Round: Ivory Wade, C/OG, Baylor (Sr.) 6030 310
I'll admit have had fixation with Baylor Center position for past couple years in seeming less never ending stream of NFL quality OL players. Both smart & athletic he has shown improvement every game playing new position, experienced both tackle positions as well displaying excellent versatility & fit in ZBS. By adding two picks on the offensive line who fit Texans will overcome loss previous season along with bad luck injury wise that has wrecked havoc is both passing & running game.
Seventh Round: Brandon Wilson, FB, Kansas State (Sr.) 6035 254
Mel Kipper's top FB prospect is graded as a 7th rd. pick if so Texans should jump on him http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/11...more-than.html Core special teams player who adds depth & lead blocking specialist. He is an old-school player that loves the physical aspect of the game, Vonta Leach is missed.
Seventh Round Compensatory (Jason Allen): John Boyett, FS (Sr.) Oregon, 5100 202
Stashed him here on purpose, missed entire season due to knee surgery to alleviate pain partial tears of both patellar tendons. By training camp he will back to 100% & compete with former teammate Eddie Pleasant helping solidify Texans safety positions. While Eddie defined the term strong safety with his physical style, Boyett is more of a big CB who is a ball hawk. Demonstrated excellent leadership skills & was captain of secondary. Last year Boyett was Oregon's leading tackler with 108, including 3½ for a loss and a sack. He also had an interception, seven pass defenses and two blocked kicks. Improves special teams.
2012 Draft was Mercilus
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