A lot has been happening with the hometown team since the last Doppelmock. Kubiak was fired and Philips became the Interim Head coach. Then O' Brien was hired and Phillips along with just about everyone else was fired. A new group of coaches, philosophy, and hope now permeates from Kirby. It looks like Crennel will be the new DC and he will be bringing his version of the 3-4 which likely looks different from the Phillips 3-4. Munchak has been interviewed for the OL coach and may still take that job, though he looks to be holding out for a HC or OC spot. With a traditional 3-4 in place, a few changes on the defensive side of the ball are inevitable: 1. Watt moves to the OLB. This may be a controversial move, but it makes the most sense. As an OLB, Watt has the opportunity to freelance as he did as a 3-4 DE in the Wade system. He can take advantage of his speed, power, and athleticism to harass the offense. Plus, think about this: with no running start Watt is hard to handle. Imagine how much tougher it will be for an OL to deal with Watt now that he has a running start! 2. Reed moves into the ILB2 spot next to Cush. This is probably a move that would have happened before, if there were better OLB options. As a ILB, Reed can better play the run, pass, and can provide some additional up the middle pressure when needed. Plus he is an easy pull to the sidelines in nickle coverage. 3. Antonio Smith is not resigned. Smith has a lot of talent and still some ability. But paying him that much to be a traditional 3-4 run plugger and occasional pass rusher is not a good use of cap space. Nor will he want that job, quite honestly. And now, on with the mock! 1. Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville, 6'3, 208lbs, 4.62 A lot of people are going to like the pick, a lot of people are going to hate the pick. I think the #1 pick is likely coming down to between Bortles and Bridgewater. I do not think Manziel will be the choice. Recall what O'Brien said about Brady "Id be getting texts, calls from Tom on Wednesday night about the third-down package, OBrien said. Thursday night Id be hearing from him 9 oclock, 10 oclock about red-zone plays. Obviously, hes talented, but Tom never stopped thinking about football. When you coach Tom Brady, youre not coaching with him; youre a partner in the offense with him. Thats the ideal for a quarterbacksomeone who cares about it as much as you do. From what that tells me, he is looking for a guy who is completely devoted to football. A man who eats, drinks, and sleeps football. What was the first thing Manziel did after declaring: he hired a marketing team. Those are not the actions of a man who eats, drinks, and sleeps football. Manziel is interested in his brand and promoting it. Good for him, I wish him all the luck in the world in that regard. But, that does not seem to be the thing that O'Brien would like and does not seem to fit his ideal. Why do I choose Teddy Bridgewater over Bortles? It is partly becuase he has had 2 straight years where he was arguably the best QB in all of college football. If he had been eligible for the draft last year, he would have been the first QB taken. Shoot, he likely would have been a top 5 if not overall top pick in the entire draft. I also partly chose Bridgewater becuase of the way he dealt with pressure and expectations. He could have folded or taken games off, but he played even better than was expected. I partly took him becuase he has a good arm, good vision, athleticism. I partly took him becuase he is a tremendously hard worker. He could have slouched off and coasted this year, but he didn't. He worked hard in the summer and he was even better this year than last. But the main reason I took him was the way he approached the game. He had the trust in his OC to call/change/completely audible plays at the LOS. This is a RARE talent in a college QB. Most college Quarterbacks today play a very simple 1 or 2 read option system. They typically don't know how to read defenses and as a result run whatever play the coach calls for them. The reason QBs like Manning, Brady, Brees, and Rogers are elite is becuase they can read and react. They read the defense and then call the play that has the best chance against the D. Having a QB who has done that for 2 years at the college level is extremely rare and would help him on the road towards very good to elite QB. 2. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame, 6'4, 304lbs, 5.40 When you make a large investment in a franchise QB prospect, you must find a way to protect him. Newton has been an unmitigated disaster at RT. He has difficulty with pass blocking and run blocking. In contrast, Martin has been a fantastic protector of his QB on the right side at Notre Dame. While he is a little on the smaller side at the moment, he has excellent technique and great strength. His frame can easily support another 10 pounds of muscle without losing athleticism. There are several good RTs that can be had here, so why do i specifically choose Martin? He has had a great season, but in a big game against Stanford he shined. He was tasked with taking on the 6'6 261lb passrushing phenom Trent Murphy. Murphy is a special talent who should go in the first round becuase of his mix of power and speed. A case can be made that Murphy was the best passrusher all year. Martin was able to handle him 1 on 1 and give his QB a chance. If Martin can stop Murphy right now, imagine how good he will be after spending some time with the OL coaches refining technique and getting into a NFL nutritional program. 3. DaQuan Jones, DE, Penn State, 6'3, 315lbs, 5.25 One of the big differences between the Wade 3-4 and a more traditional 3-4 is the role of the DE. In a traditional 3-4. the DEs are cloggers and run stoppers who occupy. Seeing that he may not have any players like this on his team, O'Brien goes and gets a guy he knows who he can trust: his own star DT DaQuan Jones. As a DE, Jones will be big and strong enough to deal with the OL in running and passing situations. In addition, he also provides pass rushing skills. Has the versatility to kick inside to DT in a 4-3 if a flexible front defense is desired,. 4. Henry Anderson, DE Stanford, 6'6, 282lbs, 4.90 I know that I just took a DE, but Henry Anderson is just too good to pass up here. He is a strong run defender with long arms and good size. He is a mauler and gets rough and physical (but not dirty) and would help to reduce the image that the Texans are a soft team. Prior to his torn pectoral this year, he had 19 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. In 2012 he had 49 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, 5 passes batted and a 1 forced fumble. He has the size, speed, and meanness to play as a 3-4 DE and would be an amazing bookend to Jones. 5. Ben Gardner, OLB, Stanford, 6'4, 275lbs, 4.87 I really like Ben Gardner. Yes, he suffered a torn PCL, but that is why he lasts. He will probably not be able to workout at the combine or his proday, but should be more than ready for the start of OTAs. While a lot of people focused on super disruptive teammate Trent Murphy, Gardner was quietly having a very good season. He had 9 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble prior to injury this year. In 2012, he had 49 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, 5 passes batted and a forced fumble. In 2011 he had 35 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Based on these numbers and extrapolation, he likely would have had double digit sacks, double digit tackles for loss, and 3-4 batted passes. In the 3-4 system, he would play as an OLB opposite Watt. The nice thing about having Gardner, Watt, Cush, Reed, Jones, and Anderson on the field all at once is that these are now 6 guys who can provide pressure and may be going after the QB. It allows Romeo to scheme and develop confusing schemes for opposing defenses. He could shift into a DE slot in a 4-3 allowing him to also be scheme flexible. Based on FA losses, I am projecting a 5th round Compensatory pick for the Texans. 5. Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin, 6'3 325lbs, 5.39 One thing a lot of us have constantly complained about is the last of a true NT for the 3-4. A traditional 3-4 has GOT to have a big boy NT/NG who can occupy OL and gobble up the run. I would choose Allen to occupy that role. At Wisconsin his specialty was run defense.He in essence played the run and helped anchor a stout DL. As a NT he would take on 2 blockers and help keep the LBs clean. He does not offer much of a pass rush, but would be perfect in the role of run stuffing NG. Like others selected, Allen also is a scheme versatile player who could play in multiple fronts. In a 4-3, he would play as a DT next to Watt. 6. Raijun Neal, RB, Tennessee, 5'11, 212lbs, 4.60 Foster will be coming off back surgery, Tate is likely gone, and Johnson is now on IR. Yikes. Neal has been a good back at Tennessee and would be a great back for the new Texans offense. He is a big power back with some quickness. He had 5.2 yards per carry for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdows. He had 27 receptions for 108 yards. H ran for 741 yards last year with a 4.5 yards per carry total along with with 5 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 149 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. He immediately fights with Dennis Johnson over the backup RB spot to Foster. Can also help on ST. 7. Jaxon Shipley, WR, Texas 6'1, 192lbs , 4.51. There is something special with his guy. He has a little bit of a Wes Welker to him...and not just because he is white. Just like Welker, he is a guy whose QB has looked for when needing those tough catches over the middle to extend the chains. What really sold me on Shipley though is his innate ability to know where the yardage markers were. Whereas so many Texans wrs run 5 yards on a 3rd and 7 play, Shipley runs 8.5-9 yards. Clearly Shipley wouldn't be the first or second option, but I think he could become a very good slot receiver. Martin has been very average at best and has dropped some very catchable balls. Shipley could also contribute as a special teamer as a returner or stopper. Allright, time for yall to rip it to shreds!!!