Friday, April 26, 2013

TEXANS 2013 DRAFT REVIEW (PICKS 1-9) ~ Craig Shelton ~ 4-28-2013

(PICKS 1-9)
Written by: Craig Shelton

DeAndre Hopkins 

Texans take DeAndre Hopkins with the 27th pick in 1st round:

I’m the first to admit I expected the Texans to trade back Thursday night in round one of the 2013 NFL draft. I’ll also be the first to admit I have no issue admitting I was dead WRONG! In fact, I was doubly wrong in that I also predicted the Texans would move back into the second round to gather additional picks in a bottom heavy draft class at the Texans team position needs. Wrong again Craig! Yes, I could make a viable pro VS. con argument for the Texans moving back that I’m sure many would support. The fact is in drafting the 6-1 214 lbs junior out of Clemson, DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans executed what was likely an intelligent move in an inexact science of NFL drafting at a coveted “skill” position.

DeAndre Hopkins in my view (if healthy) can at minimum produce at a Kevin Walter level as a rookie, but has much more upside with his youth going forward. Do NOT expect Hopkins to consistently threaten NFL defenses over the top, instead expect good YAC production and Red Zone value with his body frame and physical nature. Hopkins posses a strong set of hands and a strong professional conviction I liken to that of a young Glover Quinn.

Safety D.J. Swearinger 
Texans take SC DB, D.J. Swearinger with their 2nd round pick: 

One day you folks may here me say I'm in full #ManModeFootballLove with D.J. Swearinger. The following weekend after he's fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit, you folks may see me go into full #ManModeFootballBitchFitHateMood towards D.J. Swearinger. 

The Texans did great taking Swearinger in a guy who can do what Glover Quinn did high and low in coverage and in the box. He'll cover larger Hbacks and TEs pretty well for a 5-10, but very "game" and physical, free-and-strong defender from the Safety position.

The answer is yes to what your thinking in D.J. Swearinger is similar to former Texan Bernard Pollard, but I'd say Swearinger definitely is a much more versatile defender in coverage. Coaches, and you Texans fans alike, will love Swearinger’s intangibles in that he has a great work ethic reportedly. He studies well and quarterbacks the secondary come game time in a classic manner for a Safety. Good grab for Wade’s defense at a position of need.

I do expect the Texans to grab a more traditional Free Safety in the 2014 draft to set up for life after Ed Reed and D. Manning.

OT Brennan Williams
Texans Draft T Brennan Williams: 

My view on the Brennan Williams pick is he's a glorified supped up version of what Derrick Newton is "projected" to be. I like the pop he posses at the point of contact, and overall strength.  What concerns me initially with the Brennan pick is if he were to be forced to play in 2013, taking into consideration his struggles inside in pass blocking at times. That possibility is somewhat perplexing to me if the Texans find themselves with the undersized Ben Jones, who’s a natural Center, spending more reps at RG, than the ideally sized Brandon Brooks does. I don’t like the possibility of a young tackle who is not solid in protecting inside pass-rush moves as a rookie, giving ground next to Ben Jones, who would already have his hands full in pass protection.
What I do love is Brennan’s ability at the 2nd and 3rd level to key in on assigned defenders quickly in run blocking schemes. That's a promising attribute in my view, whereas I'm really happy about the Brennan pick overall.

I'm a firm believer in that a rookie that must do at least one thing well or at minimum in a serviceable manner, either in run or pass blocking situations, to be expected to have a relevant amount of success on a Playoff caliber NFL team.

Now, what about LG?  Wade Smith was BAD last season and his Pro Bowl selection was a J.O.K.E. in my view.

OLB/DE Sam Montgomery

Texans take Sam Montgomery (OLB/DE-LSU) with supplemental pick:

Let me say right off top about the Sam Montgomery pick, Montgomery is another high motor edition to Wade Phillips’ defense. Montgomery is a bit under sized at 6-3 262 lbs, but he's aggressive and attacks bigger offensive linemen with notable aggression That said, Montgomery attacks those bigger-stronger offensive linemen with a limited repertoire of elite level pass rush moves. To his credit, Montgomery does play with good pad level in the run game in particular and is solid against the run overall. Montgomery's good motor and raw speed makes him really good in run pursuit on plays going away from him.

What ever attributes Montgomery lacks in pass rush moves, he supplements well with good speed and lateral movement in trash or along the defensive line.  Montgomery definitely has a bit of a mean streak too I'm sure Brian Cushing, JJ Watt, Antino Smith, and Ed Reed will appreciate.

Montgomery did have an off the field incident at LSU, and an injury you can look up if that's important to you as a fan. He'll need reps to develop as a three down guy, but will likely never be above average in pass coverage as a 3-4 OLB. All that said, if healthy, Sam can help in Wade's front seven rotation in 2013. Beyond that, time will have to be the confirmation on how Sam Montgomery develops long-term as far as a 3-down, NFL 3-4 OLB option on a championship quality NFL roster.

DE Trevardo Williams  

Texans take senior DE Trevardo Williams out of Connecticut:

The first thing you notice about Trevardo Williams is he’s undersized at 6-1 241 lbs. He has short arms as many of the smaller quicker defensive linemen tend to have, but he's blessed with elite speed for his position. Williams raw speed gives offensive linemen trouble as an edge rusher, but he doesn't bend the edge as well as you may anticipate a player with Williams’ speed to do. I believe this is a coachable area Williams should improve in with his work ethic.

Williams is stronger than he appears and plays with a low base. So when you combine Williams speed advantage with his low center of gravity, together they greatly impact his power. Don't be confused, Williams definitely has to win the quickness battle in the NFL to have success. He won't overpower NFL interior linemen and tight ends consistently regardless of his initial pop.

Wade Phillips should appreciate Williams disciplined history in run defense as far as gap responsibility, as well as being adequate tackling in space, aided his good feet.

Overall all I'd say Trevardo Williams is a better fit in the 3-4 scheme than Sam Montgomery when you add to the equation Williams' potential as a pass defender. By no means is Williams a finished product or a viable option today as a pass defender, but he has the tools necessary athletically to develop, whereas I don't see Sam Montgomery ever defending well as a 3-4 Will or SAM OLB. 

A healthy Trevardo Williams should at minimum contribute on Special Teams right away

OT David Quessenberry 

Texans make OT David Quessenberry from San Jose St. their first of 4 picks in the 6th round:

It’s quite possible the Texans interest in the 6-4, 302 lb tackle David Quessenberry may have began peaking at the Senior Bowl where he showed off his diversity in the ability to move inside to the guard position. Most viewed Quessenberry as a 3rd to 4th round pick so the Texans grabbing him in the 6th round as the 176th overall pick is widely viewed as a steal.

It will be interesting to see how the Texans use Quessenberry, rather or not they see him a better fit inside perhaps at right tackle. At 302 lbs Quessenberry’s body type may not have much room for putting on weight to better support a move inside,  but in today’s NFL of leaner more athletic offensive linemen, 302 lbs is definitely doable at offensive guard. It’s been noted that  Quessenberry may have put on as much as 65 lbs while at

Quessenberry has quick feet but will struggle some as far as timely extension of his arms when matched up with edge rushers. Quessenberry in my view is a better option as a guy who can spell in a pinch short-term at tackle, do to his level of comfort outside and his over compensation in setting up. Quessenberry should be a natural fit in the Texans zone blocking scheme, but like many young offensive linemen, his focus on pad level will be critical early.

The Texans may have done their best work in drafting David Quessenberry with the 176th pick overall, as it’s clear the Texans value building from the inside out.

WR Alan Bonner

Texans make WR Alan Bonner from Jacksonville State their second of four picks in the 6th round:

There was no lack of conversation with Texans fans, media and the Texans themselves regarding the team’s needs at the WR position, so Alan Bonner made sense here for the Texans with the 195th pick.
Bonner is an undersized possession receiver at 5-10, 193 lbs who will best fit inside in the slot. Bonner will not be a guy who stretches the field consistently, as he does not have elite top end, or over the top speed.  What Bonner does have are attributes that may remind you of former Texan David Anderson, in how he does the little things well.

Like Anderson, Bonner is a smart kid in football terms and tough as well. Bonner was pretty healthy throughout his college career at Jacksonville St. He’s more of a crafty athlete than an explosive athlete.. He excels at good route running, and his hands rated out very good. What I personally love is he catches the ball away from his body. This is not a guy who catches everything up against his body as Jacolby Jones did, which drove me insane at times.

DT Christopher Jones

Texans make DT Christopher Jones  from Bowling Green their third of four picks in the 6th round:

In drafting Christopher Jones, DT, out of Bowling Green with the 198th pick, that should put to sleep any notion Wade Phillips or the Texans at large place value on larger-bulkier defensive tackles. With the undersized Earl Mitchell already on the roster, The Texans take another undersized D-tackle in the 6-1, 302 lbs Jones.

Jones did not grade out well in terms of speed and quickness, but he plays at a higher speed than his athletic gifts would appear to allow. Jones is a fighter and classic overachiever who supplements his weaknesses with tenacity and toughness. Jones has close to JJ Watt tenacity, but far from JJ Watt ability, but will give coaches maximum effort.  JONES WILL NOT BACK DOWN! 

Jones will get knocked round on the line of scrimmage whos better technique wise with his hands than you may expect in pass rushing scenarios. He’s not as natural with his hands in run defense, but that can be coached up.

You can expect to hear  of a couple fights in Texans training camp with Christopher Jones cast in the role of the antagonist.


Texans make TE Ryan Griffin  from Connecticut their forth of four picks in the 6th round:

Ryan Griffin is a good looking athlete on paper (6-5, 247 lbs) and in literal terms as well, but “good” is where it stops for me personally. Griffin is not the elite athletic talent you see in many of the 6-5 to 6-6 tight end monsters NFL teams are incorporating into their offensive schemes as feature components these days. Griffin will do most of his damage in the passing game working the seams in the intermediate range primarily. What I would not expect from Griffin is high production in the YAC category stat wise.
Griffin has also shown to have a case of “alligator arms” at times across the middle and has not proved to have the willingness to get nasty in the run blocking schemes. Griffin is a big target that may not always win battles for the football against smaller but more athletic linebackers or defensive backs.

With Ryan Griffin’s body type and pass catch radios, I trust Gary Kubiak to get some relative level of production per Griffin’s 201st selection. 



Joe said...

Your caption under DJ Swearinger is wrong. He is from South Carolina and not North Carolina.

HMW said...

Thanks Joe for the catch. Corrected, thanks for reading. #HMW

Earlis Marks said...

Ok Griffin is the new defensive end he should have made that transition in college..oh wait... maybe he is Jarrett Jack in pads..straight up I guess the Texans avoid the big wide body in the middle because they figure that kind of a guy is a one trick pony..even before the son of bum rode in a that blonde horse they have used small guys....J.J does not fit that description thank goodness...I always wanted them to have a bulldozer coming off the bench to push up the middle..oh ain't my circus..on paper though the draft does look good...