ON THE CLOCK: TEXANS 1st ROUND DRAFT TALK
Written by: Jermaine Every
Date posted: 3/4/2015
There's a lot of time between now and April 30 when the first round kicks off. Lots of things will happen in that time to change the course of what the Texans will do.
Free agency begins on March 10 and could totally revamp their draft board depending on what happens. The Combine, which was held last month has been known to shoot guys down draft boards based on performance in drills, as well as interviews.
There's also a host of school pro days and personal workouts, not to mention teams bringing guys in for a closer look at their facilities with their staff guiding workouts. Going purely off of speculation, assumptions, research, and gut feelings, here's what I think of the Texans' potential first-round targets by team needs with team/coach tendencies also taken into consideration. FYI: they are listed in no particular order. Names are links to game footage of each prospect. You be the judge.
Alvin “Bud” Dupree: 6'4 264lbs/Kentucky...played end and outside linebacker at Kentucky...can drop into short zone, but not a man cover guy...sets edge well vs. the run...explosive athlete who should have made eyes pop at Combine...needs work on pass rush skills, specifically hand fighting...teams will love his length and use of it in setting edge and rushing passer
Dante Fowler Jr.: 6'2 261lbs/Florida...played end and linebacker as well as tackle...was used as a rusher inside/outside & in coverage inside/outside...played 2013 weighing 277, dropped to 261 last year and showed off more athleticism, as he was asked to play different spots along the front and linebacker...undisciplined vs. the run and will rush upfield while ball carrier goes by him...compact frame and aggressiveness help/hurt him off edge…might have to trade up to get him
Vic Beasley: 6'2 235lbs/Clemson...probably the best first step off the edge in this draft...uses speed to set up an effective spin move...undersized and it shows vs. the run, as he's prone to be blocked out by tight ends...when taking on blockers too high, he can be shoved out of play easily because of lack of size...shoulder dip and flexibility allow him to turn corner, speed allows him to close faster than expected…will have to trade up to get him
Brandon Scherff: 6'5 320lbs/Iowa...powerful guy who was known for weight room prowess...might play guard or tackle in the NFL and can succeed at either spot...better run blocker than pass blocker...doesn't waste movement, which makes him look quicker than he may be...recognizes delayed blitz and picks up blocks well from it...leg drive is great and gets to second level when run blocking looking for pancake blocks...kind of stiff, but efficient movement makes up for some of this..tends to have trouble with speed rushers by playing back and is susceptible to inside/outside moves...tough as nails- once finished a game after tearing the meniscus, practiced day after surgery, played following game
La'el Collins: 6'5 308lbs/LSU...able and willing run blocker who gets to second level and looks to dominate...long arms and strength mask technical deficiencies, such as lunging and playing high out of stance...mean as an angry nest of hornets and tries to intimidate opponents...long arms allow him to lock onto defender and uses strength to move them around in pass protection...played guard at Senior Bowl and impressed...sneaky quick feet for his build
Andrus Peat: 6'7 312lbs/Stanford...strength of a right tackle with foot quickness of a left tackle...tall but well-proportioned...takes bad angles vs speed rush and will lunge leading with head & hands...anchors well in pass pro and can cut off opponent's chances when using proper technique...some scouts labeled him soft because he doesn't play with mean streak given his size...works well vs twists and stunts with ability to block defensive tackles well when down blocking
Trae Waynes: 6'1 182lbs/Michigan State...tall, long-armed athlete...slight build is a concern, but he's a willing tackler who drives through receivers to knock the ball loose...will get pushed around by bigger/stronger receivers...labeled a grabber because he won't trust size & skill to make plays...loves playing on an island in bump-and-run coverage and will make it difficult for receivers to get vertical...plays upright in coverage, which leads to bad technique at times
Marcus Peters: 6'0 198lbs/Washington...prototypical size...character concerns may knock him down or completely off draft boards (suspended, then dismissed from team for run-ins with coaches)...may be worth risk if interviews are handled properly...physically tough on receivers...can redirect weaker and less quick receivers...athleticism also stood out vs. top-notch competition...will often win jump balls because he stays on the receiver's hip and can turn and track ball while in air...another guy who has to adjust to not being able to grab receivers downfield
Jalen Collins: 6’1 203lbs/LSU…size/speed combo you look for to defend bigger/faster WRs…length allows him to break up passes…technique not as sound…small sample size of 10 career starts in college…very willing tackler…struggles with smaller/quicker WRs…used to being on an island locked up in man coverage…great closing speed…WRs will beat his jam in press coverage…gets down on himself after giving up a catch, but has a short memory
Kevin White: 6'3 210lbs/West Virginia...goes after the ball at its highest point with tremendous leaping ability...good size for the WR position...good, but not great strength...lacks top-end speed to be a burner...beats press inside to get vertical and can create separation on crossing routes, using route-running ability coupled with size...had issue with drops in 2013...tough to bring down after catch, but lacks short area quickness to break free…will have to trade up out of 16 to get him
Devante Parker: 6'3 211lbs/Louisville...good size for next level...catch radius off the charts due to 80 inch wingspan...route running not as crisp and needs work...no top-end speed to beat guys off the line, so he must improve route running and hand fighting to beat press at the next level...not very strong and it shows in his run blocking and being pushed around in press coverage
Jaelen Strong: 6'3 215lbs/Arizona State...last name is appropriate because he won't be pushed around...won't outrun DBs to get vertical, but does have strength and moves to beat press...basketball background gives him ability to high point the ball and he also feels comfortable with the defender riding his hip...still raw, but uses pacing/start-stop/tempo to create separation...used in various WR positions at ASU, as well as running most of the route tree
As you probably already see, I left the quarterback position off on purpose. In my opinion (as well as with many draft/scouting experts or talking heads), there's a clear drop off between Winston, Mariota, and the other QBs. The best of the rest bunch starts with Brett Hundley, who's projected to go anywhere between Rounds 2 and 3.
There are also prospects at these positions that have been left out for several reasons: either they're simply too good to be around at 16, or they may not be the kind of guys the Texans have traditionally drafted, aka: character problem guys.
Yes, I did list Marcus Peters here even though he has some character flaws, but the CB position will be one of need regardless of how the off-season plans play out with Kareem Jackson and Jonathon Joseph (you really trust AJ Bouye, Andre Hal, or Jumal Rolle?).
The offensive line needs addressing for a couple of reasons: Chris Meyers is a cap casualty; Derek Newton may leave via free agency; and Ben Jones or Xavier Su'a Filo haven't claimed the other guard spot opposite Brandon Brooks.
A couple of the guys listed above have the ability to move inside to guard or play right tackle. Outside linebacker needs addressing moreso than inside because Jadeveon Clowney is coming off microfracture surgery, Brooks Reed is a free agent and hasn't been effective, and Whitney Mercilus is in a contract year and hasn't been effective either.