Houston Texans 2012 draft primer By Stephanie Stradley

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by srrono, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. srrono

    srrono Hall of Fame

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    Houston Texans 2012 draft primer
    By Stephanie Stradley

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexan...er/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Thankfully, this year’s draft talk was postpone a little longer than it usually is. Which is better for me because it means less time I have to find content to fill the long, soon-to-be hot offseason.

    I enjoy looking at mock drafts and trying to figure out how the potential players might fit into the squad. I don’t pretend to be a draftnik because I haven’t watched tape of the college players, and even if I did, I wouldn’t be qualified to say what I’m looking at. Much of the clips on the web are very edited in a way where you may see only the good or the bad stuff but not the body of a college player’s work.

    What is interesting to me about this draft is that the Texans have become a harder team to make for an incoming drafted player.

    For example, one of the things that Arian Foster looked at in his decision on where to go as an undrafted free agent was to see who the incumbent running backs were already on the roster, and where he might have an opportunity. A quality system and need at the position is likely why the Texans were able to acquire some of the best undrafted free agent wide receivers last season. One reason why the 2006 draft class for the Texans was so productive is that the team had so many blatant needs all over the roster, that talent plus fit plus opportunity gave those players early access to the field.

    I may not know a ton about the incoming draft class, other than it is supposed to be loaded given all the juniors coming out early, but what I do think I have a good feel for is what the Texans look for in their system, their players and what they may value more than other teams.

    Looking at the past to predict the future.

    Before reading any further, I strongly suggest reading my piece after the draft last year entitled, “Welcome JJ Watt: The Most Texany Texan.”

    To get a sense of who the Texans might draft this year, it’s worth looking at their past drafts. Usually after the draft, you can look at who the Texans took, and pretty much figure out why they took that guy instead of some other guy that might have been available.

    Things that the Texans value higher than other teams:

    Project to the NFL measurables. The Texans have taken players who may not be four year players, or who have switched positions, but who have athletic skills and size that players tend to need on the next level. They want to see success at that position, but they are not scared away from small schools or developmental players.

    Football Leadership. If you look at the players the Texans have drafted in the past, many were leaders on their teams. Often they were fan favorites from the schools they came from. (DeMeco Ryans, JJ Watt).

    Football Desire. They want players who love playing the game and who are self-motivated. Guys who have the strong motivation to be the best at their positions.

    Character/Intelligence. Related to football desire, they want players who make smart decisions in life and in football. That’s not to say that the Texans have only drafted and acquired choir boys because that’s not true. They want to see something going on behind a players eyes. A desire to do the right thing. Coachability.

    Special Teams Ability. Kubiak doesn’t like special team specialists. He wants all his rookies to contribute on special teams, and if a player has return ability, that is a plus factor.

    Need. As much as the Texans talk about drafting for “best available player,” in the salary cap era, you can’t completely do that because all positions have different values, and some positions are hard to acquire in free agency. Last year, defensive end wasn’t considered a need for the Texans because most people believed that Mario Williams would remain at end, but it was a deep draft at end, and the Texans could pick any sort of defense last year and likely fill a need. Just about each year under Gary Kubiak, if the team had a need, the draft was like going to the store with a shopping list.

    The difficulty with the Texans’ needs this year is some of the positions that they could improve are ones that take time for rookies to make an impact. (Though the same could have been said for JJ Watt’s position, and he did an astonishing job for a rookie at that position).

    For example, wide receiver in the Texans system is a need with an aging WR group. It’s also not an easy position for any rookie to learn, much less in the Texans system that demands precise route running, high completion percentage, plus blocking ability. If pressed, the Texans would trade some athleticism at the position for wide receiver smarts, though in a perfect world they’d like both. Due to salary cap concerns, I’m not sure that free agency is a realistic option because there are so many wide receiver-needy teams that will have more money to spend.

    To some degree, it is hard to discuss need too much because we don’t know what free agency has in store and which players will be able to be retained and at what cost.

    So who do you have on your Texans draft radar?

    Most national ranking lists do not look at specific team needs. The differences in the rankings can be miniscule, and the above plus factors may be a part of the Texans taking one player over another.

    So given the criteria above, I would like for people who are bigger draftniks than me to say who you think would be good fits for the Texans system and the kind of players that they like. For those who are not draftniks but who are Texans fans, tell me what you think the priority of team needs are.
     
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  2. Lady.Gaga.3000

    Lady.Gaga.3000 Veteran

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    First off, we know EVERYONE is going to say WR and NT. So how about we add some less obvious picks.

    Some of this depends on the Mario situation. These seem like waste of draft picks but they play key parts in games.

    - versatile offensive linemen. There were times when the difference between Briesel and Caldwell were night and day. Eventually someone is bound to get hurt. Rashad Butler is good enough. Need interior depth.

    - A PUNTER. Brad Wing of LSU would do. Hartman is OK, but come on. Notice how field position played an enormous role in the 49ers/Giants game.

    - a person who specializes in kick returning. Again, field position. Even if they can just go out there and catch the ball for a fair catch. Gary likes to talk about liking people who can do multiple stuff, but come on...spend ONE pick on a guy who can field punts and you avoid the Jacoby Jones incident. I would rather have a safe punt returner who does nothing else instead of one who can play WR and is OK at PR.

    -(breaking my rule) instead of one WR, lets draft 2 or 3. Jean showed promise in preseason, but we still don't know. It seems like teams are finding good WR's all the times past the 4th round a lot. Let's find 2 Victor Cruz's ;)

    - I would say depth at other positions but we rarely use them. Examples are Casey and people to give the D-line a rest, like Jamison, Mitchell, etc.

    Good read. Thanks.
     
  3. 281

    281 Hall of Fame

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    either the best WR available or BPA in the first round.
     
  4. Thorn

    Thorn Dirty Old Man

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    Games are won and lost at the line. Drafting a lineman (D or O) in the first round is always a good choice IMO. Unless it's a reach, of course.
     
  5. MistaRed

    MistaRed All Pro

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    @DraftCountdown #Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu told me that the #Texans have been showing a lot of interest. --
     
  6. ObsiWan

    ObsiWan Site Contributor

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    Dang it. I may have to go to Chron.com and check out the responses. I hardly ever go to chron.com any more. Not a fan of the new format.

    Thanks for posting Steph's piece though. I enjoy her work.
     
  7. beerlover

    beerlover Site Contributor

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    Or you could just visit the Mock Draft forum on this board where all things NFL draft are discussed daily :ahhaha:
     
  8. ObsiWan

    ObsiWan Site Contributor

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    Oh I'm a regular lurker on the mock draft forum
    :spy:

    ...but you knew that
    :D
     
  9. LikeMike

    LikeMike Hall of Fame

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    There are several positions where I believe no rookie has a chance to start at:

    QB, HB, TE, C, T, DE, LB, CB, S

    So that leaves us with:

    G, WR, DT, P, K, FB

    I´d like us to focus on these positions with a bpa philosophy - I´d love to get a G in the first round, if no WR is available - but I wouldn`t really draft any position but G, WR, DT in the first 3 rounds - unless there really isn`t any player we trust is worth the draft position available. In the later rounds we could get some depth at the other positions (like ILB, DE, S).

    My peferct draft would look something like this:

    1. WR
    2. G
    3. DT
    4. WR
    5. ILB
    6. P
    7. FB
     
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  10. burro

    burro almost sentient

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    Why is everyone so down on Hartmann? The guy was a huge improvement over Turk (we had a good compare/contrast this season) and is a good KOS. I would think a new Punter is pretty low on this list of things we need. Now, I would like to bring in some competition for Rackers.
     
  11. TexanFan881

    TexanFan881 Hall of Fame

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    Amobi Okoye and Travis Johnson....
     
  12. burro

    burro almost sentient

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    Duane Brown and J.J. Watt...

    I agree with Thorn, there is never a bad time to invest in your lines.
     
  13. CretorFrigg

    CretorFrigg Fire Rick Smith

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    Our O-Line is one of the best in the NFL. There is no need to spend a 1st round pick on an O-lineman. Use a later round to draft an interior lineman.

    We basically addressed all of our defensive needs during last year's offseason. As a result, we have a top 5 defense in the NFL. So instead of spending a 1st rounder on a D-lineman, I'd like to see us grab a WR.

    We are in dire need of a WR; it was evident in the playoffs. After Andre, we don't have anybody, and Andre's not getting any younger.
     
  14. badboy

    badboy Site Contributor

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    As Beerlover says, please direct your atention to the draft forum where several of us draft addicts er draftnics postulate daily. Love to have all of you stop in and comment or ask questions.

    I pretty much have thrown Texans history out in regards to the draft other than following McNair's edict of not selecting players with certain off field issues. I have eliminated Michael FLoyd who has had at least 3 drinking incidents & has decided (incorrectly in my mind) to not participate in Senior Bowl.

    I think we will see this draft duplicating 2011 draft but with more emphasis on offense. High motor guys who will swallow the ball and then try to tackle you and that is the WR! lol. Don't be surprised if our picks do not beat out the starter immediately. Other than WR2 & maybe not there, a rook may not start. We all have our opinions on JJ but so does Kubes and Walter is the other half of the WR2.

    Evals must include when you can draft to fill the need. Most of us want a WR first round but I for one think most tier one guys will be gone #26 so we either reach into second round or go another direction with #26. Trades are popular but difficult to do and impossible to mock as most happen during draft as did the one for Brandon Harris.

    Don't worry about the salary cap for draft picks as all are lumped under a rookie pool of money and are most often paid by draft position not so much the player position. In other words a RG like Zeitler will get more at #26 than a QB in second round.Free agency is another horse. Like Steph says grab your britches and hold on as this could be the most important draft our team has ever had.
     
  15. Rey

    Rey Guest

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    In the first round I want Kendall Wright...Period, the end.

    The only way I don't want him is if he's off the board. But I'd trade up to get him.

    JMO, but I think he is that good.
     
  16. badboy

    badboy Site Contributor

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    and you are correct, sir. Pay the man Shirley!
     
  17. GP

    GP Go Texans!

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    If that's the Baylor WR, then "YES! Get THAT guy."

    But I bet he goes before we pick, and we ain't moving up to get him.

    Isn't there a UH Cougars WR that plays pretty big, fast, and has good hands? And is he in the draft this year or is he staying at UH?

    I wouldn't put it past Kubiak to go after Case Keenum in round 2. The guy hustles, he's a local product, reminds me of Drew Brees. Keenum is in the draft this year, right?
     
  18. GP

    GP Go Texans!

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    Getting a bit back to the topic here:

    My positions I see us drafting at, in the early rounds (in no particular order):

    (A) WR...but only if a guy is there that fits what Kubiak and Dennison want.

    (B) Some form of an o-lineman. Not sure what position, but I think Kubiak sees that he cannot rely on backups and expect Foster/Tate to get their yards consistently against good defenses. This will be an ugly pick that Texans fans frown at, but it will be a wise investment if they can find this year's o-line version of JJ Watt or Brooks Reed, depending on which round we get an o-lineman in.

    (C) TE. Yeah, I said it. I peg TE as a pick somewhere in the first three rounds. Kubiak's bread is buttered with a quality TE beating defense's LBs and making them pay for it. If a play-making TE is available, look for Kubiak to grab the guy.

    I think the first three rounds will be very deliberate and very focused on certain positions. I think rounds 4 and beyond will be whatever is on the board that Kubiak thinks shouldn't still be there for us but IS and he'll cherry pick the best player at our spot every time.

    Also, I think Wade Phillips is not as big of a player in this year's draft. He was allowed every pick but one (the TJ Yates pick in round 5) in last year's draft...so he will provide Kubiak his list and he'll be there to lobby for "his guy" each round, but I think Kubiak loads up on offense this year.

    WR, O-Line, and TE. Make a splash in the first three rounds like we usually do, and these three positions will pay off for a team already stocked up pretty good on defense due to Wade's home run effort last year.
     
  19. BullBlitz

    BullBlitz Section 331

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    I'd be in favor of drafting a big nose guard with the same nasty disposition as Watt and Reed.
     
  20. BullNation4Life

    BullNation4Life Hall of Fame

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    This is how I would go with the draft...

    WR
    LB (need depth, get a 4 man rotation on the outside)
    CB (again depth, maybe a starter. Would still like to see what Harris can do)
    DL/OL (more depth)
    DB
    WR
    what ever else....

    This is the first time in 10 years that the Texans can draft for luxury and not necessity...
     

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