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Old 05-04-2014   #1
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Default SOTT’s Texans 2014 Mock Drafts

Nicely done by stateofthetexans.com, with "scout's takes and film clips on each player...

SOTT’s Texans Seven Round Mock Draft 3.0
First, this mock draft was put together with the players I would like to see the Texans select, not necessarily who they will take.

Second, to determine which players that would be available for each pick, I used the prospect rankings from CBS Sports. Their draft guys Rob Rang and Dane Brugler do great work and trying to guess on availability for each pick would have been a nightmare.
I also used the opinion from a few other draft guys that I respect like Lance Zierlein from The Sideline View.

First Round, 1st Overall – Jadeveon Clowney (DE/OLB South Carolina, 1st overall prospect)
Quarterback is not only the most important position in football, but the most important in any sport in my opinion. If there was a quarterback in this class that I loved, I wouldn’t even consider another position, but sadly that isn’t the case. Of the quarterbacks available, Teddy Bridgewater is the closest to being that guy, but questions about his size, arm strength, and ceiling have me worried enough to go in a different direction. If I had to take a quarterback number one, it would be Bridgewater.

With Jadeveon Clowney, the Texans are getting the best overall prospect in the draft and an impact player on the defensive side, where they had more holes going into this off-season. Coach O’Brien has said Clowney will move around and play different positions if the Texans select him. I expect most of his snaps will come as a stand up rush linebacker, but he’ll likely also spend a decent amount of time with his hand on the ground when the Texans go into their nickel package or some sort of 3rd down special pass rush package.

The brilliance of J.J. Watt has hidden some of the Texans flaws, but there’s no doubt that they need another pass rusher. No other player besides Watt has gotten more than 7 sacks over the last two seasons.

No matter how great Watt is, a one-man pass rush isn’t effective because it’s too easy to game plan against. Double team Watt and have a tight end or running back chip him, and no matter great he is, his production will slow down if the entire offense focuses on him. By adding maybe the best pass rushing prospect over the last decade, you not only add his individual talent, but with attention going to Clowney, more one on one situations will open for other teammates to exploit, including Watt who should face fewer double and triple teams.
Other Option – Trade back

Second Round, 39th Overall (TRADE BACK) – Stephon Tuitt (DT/DE Notre Dame, 47th overall prospect)
This spot is a great place for a trade down. The draft is so deep that it will reward teams with multiple picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds; currently the Texans have just two during those rounds. If Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, or Minnesota pass on quarterback in the first round, they’ll be calling the Texans to talk about a trade. Having a full day to look over the board and which prospects fell will not only help the Texans make a decision if they pick at 33, but will likely create some urgency amongst the other teams that need a quarterback.

I would trade back with Jacksonville who I believe will take either Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack with their first round pick and will want to jump ahead of the other quarterback needy teams in the second round. According to the draft trade chart, that would be worth their fourth round pick (105th overall); well worth it. My favorite choice for mid round quarterbacks should be available in the third round so I don’t mind waiting. If he’s not, the Texans won’t be a playoff team anyway this year so they can afford to wait on quarterback and build up the rest of the team.

There are work ethic questions about Tuitt that will drop him out of the first round and into the second round where I believe he’s a great value with his potential and upside. Tuitt is listed as a defensive tackle but I think he’d be a great fit as an every down five technique with his good combination of size (304 pounds) and length (6’6″). He’ll also provide nice versatility by being able to slide over to the defensive tackle position in special pass rush packages like Antonio Smith did in previous seasons.
For a description of the different defensive line techniques, click here.
Other Options – Morgan Moses (OT – Virginia), Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – Eastern Illinois), Derek Carr (QB – Fresno State), trading up for Louis Nix (DT – Notre Dame)

Third Round, 65th Overall – Zach Mettenberger (QB LSU, 101st overall prospect)
Has prototypical size (6-5, 224 pounds) and arm strength; he definitely looks the part. Mettenberger made huge strides during his one year with former NFL coach Cam Cameron as his offensive coordinator and I think he has big upside if paired with another quarterback guru; Bill O’Brien is that guy. At Penn State O’Brien took a below average college quarterback named Matt McGloin and turned him into a quarterback who made six starts in the NFL last year. McGloin completed 54% of his passes with 8 TD/5 INT and a 118.3 QB rating during his junior season, the year before O’Brien arrived. The next season, McGloin completed 60.5% of his passes with 24 TD/5 INT and a 137.7 QB rating during his senior season with O’Brien as his coach. Mettenberger showed flashes of being a very good quarterback last season, I think O’Brien can get the best out of him.

All that said, there is a reason he’s ranked as a third round prospect. Mettenberger is a statue in the pocket, only had one good season of production, and is recovering from an ACL injury in December. The injury may work some in his favor by forcing the team who drafts him to be patient and let him stand on the sideline for maybe a half a season; I don’t think he’d be ready to start day one even if he was fully healthy. Ryan Fitzpatrick will most likely be the starter going into the season but I think Mettenberger could take his job by November if O’Brien is open to it being a true competition.
Other Option – Phillip Gaines (CB – Rice)

Fourth Round, 101st Overall – Jack Mewhort (Tackle/Guard Ohio State, 105th overall prospect)
The Texans need improved play out of their left guard and right tackle going into next season. I’m not sure which position Mewhort will ultimately play but his versatility makes him an interesting option. Mewhort started games at both guard positions and left tackle at Ohio State. Starting Ben Jones at left guard scares me so I’d like to add a player to at least compete with him. Hopefully either David Quessenberry or Brennan Williams will step up during training camp and take the right tackle job from Derek Newton; if not, Mewhort could compete there as well.

With Mewhort the Texans’ would be getting a versatile lineman with good power and the ability to get up to the second level in the running game. Scouts love his sound technique and think he’ll quickly become a starter. He started 39 games at Ohio State, a major team in a major conference; very impressive. He lacks in a few measurables like arm length which likely limit him to right tackle or offensive guard, but that’s not a concern since the Texans already have their left tackle.
Other Option – Robert Herron (WR – Wyoming)

Fourth Round, 105th Overall (from Jaguars trade) – Christian Jones (ILB/OLB Florida State, 125th overall prospect)
A Swiss Army Knife at the linebacker position. Can play as the rush linebacker or an inside linebacker giving his defensive coordinator room to get creative; very scheme diverse. Jones is very athletic, great in coverage, and might be the best tackling linebacker in the draft. Where would I play him if the Texans draft him? I would start him off as an inside linebacker next to Brian Cushing, but I wouldn’t be shy about moving him around. If Brooks Reed moves to inside linebacker, then they could rotate Jones with Whitney Mercilus at the outside linebacker spot opposite of Clowney.
For more on his tackling, check out this article from John Harris of The Sideline View.

So why is he rated as only the 4th best inside linebacker by CBS? Scouts have concerns about his strength, reaction/recognition speed, along with the concern about where to play him. I’m willing to live with those weaknesses for a guy with his upside; especially as a fourth round pick.
Other Option – Lache Seastrunk (RB – Baylor), Shayne Skov (ILB – Stanford)

Fourth Round, 135th Overall (Compensatory) – E.J. Gaines (CB Missouri, 136th overall prospect)
Johnathan Joseph has reached age 30 and Kareem Jackson is in the last year of his contract; the Texans have to add another cornerback or two in this year’s draft. Gaines’ versatility with experience outside and in the slot makes him an attractive option. The Texans will need him in the slot to start but there will be an opening on the outside by next season most likely. His experience playing both press and off coverage will also be useful and allow the Texans to mix up their looks. Physical corner who played well in the SEC; like his upside.
Other Option – Gabe Ikard (C – Oklahoma)

Fifth Round, 141st Overall – Storm Johnson (RB Central Florida, 161st overall prospect)
With Ben Tate gone and Arian Foster coming off back surgery, the Texans would be wise to add a young running back to their roster. Hopefully Foster comes back and produces like he did in 2010 and 2011, but he’s most likely reaching the end of his prime. I hope I’m wrong, but running backs at age 28 with as many high-carry seasons as he’s had, usually start to decline.

Johnson is a powerful runner with good vision according to scouts. I also like the fact that he wasn’t run into the ground during his college career. Johnson had more than 200 carries just once and only totaled 335 carries for this career; plenty of tread left on the tire.

Sixth Round, 177th Overall – Jalen Saunders (WR Oklahoma, 211th overall prospect)
Coach O’Brien has said publicly that the Texans need to add a slot receiver. The previous regime hoped that Keshawn Martin would develop into that player but after a promising performance during his first training camp, he’s been a no-show ever since.
Saunders led Oklahoma in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season while playing primarily in the slot. He’s super quick (4.37 40-yard-dash) and has great hands; the Texans should rush to the podium to draft him if he’s still available at this spot.

Sixth Round (from Oakland), 181st Overall – Brett Smith (QB Wyoming, 258th overall prospect)
Coach O’Brien has said that they would probably take two quarterbacks during this draft and I agree with that strategy. None of their current quarterbacks are their future at the position and they likely won’t take a quarterback in the first round, so why not throw more than one dart at the board later in the draft?

Smith is obviously a long shot being a sixth round rated quarterback, but he has many plus traits that make him appealing. Smith is very athletic and pretty accurate, on the down side he has an awkward throwing motion and has good but not great arm strength in my opinion. Some have compared him to Philip Rivers but with more athletic ability; that’s worth the risk in the sixth round.

Sixth Round, 211th Overall (Compensatory) – Colt Lyerla (TE Oregon, 293rd overall prospect)
Many have compared his on the field skills to Rob Gronkowski; that’s high praise. So why is he rated as a late round prospect? His rap sheet is a mile long, actually probably two miles long. He’s had issues with drugs, traffic tickets, not showing up when he’s supposed to and he abruptly quit the Oregon team last October.

The Texans will have to do their homework on him and see if he’s either already committed to changing his life or is willing to make changes going forward. I would take the chance. How many times do you get a chance at a player with Pro-Bowl talent this late in the draft? If he fails miserably, so what, he was just a sixth round pick. It would cost them nothing to be rid of him. There will be a NFL team willing to risk a 7th round pick on him, so the Texans should use one of their three 6th round picks to secure the talented tight end.

Seventh Round, 216th Overall – Victor Hampton (CB South Carolina, 234th overall prospect)
Physical corner who isn’t scared to help in the run game. Might need to move to safety, don’t trust him at this point in one on one press man coverage. Good athlete with a knack for pass breakups due to the way he keeps an eye on the quarterback while in coverage; gets him in trouble on double moves. Off the field issues have dropped him down a round or two.

Seventh Round, 256th Overall (Compensatory) – Lonnie Ballentine (FS Memphis, 268th overall prospect)
The Texans need depth in the secondary, safeties usually make good special teams players, and they brought Ballentine to NRG Stadium for a visit so they’re clearly interested in him. Lonnie Ballentine should become Mr. Irrelevant.
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Old 05-04-2014   #2
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Default Re: SOTT’s Texans 2014 Mock Drafts

I'd be positively giddy with this draft.
Season Prediction: WAS - W, @ OAK - W, @ NYG - W, BUF - W, @ DAL - W, IND - L, @ PIT - L, @ TEN - W, PHI - L, @ CLE - W, CIN - L, TEN - W, @ JAX - W, @ IND - L, BAL - L, JAX - W = 10-6
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