I never heard from jacquavivajr, so I'm stepping in again here. Next up: New England Patriots, with the pick they acquired from the Saints for Mark Ingram last year, and they'll be represented by VinnySteel.
By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
The Houston Texans have had an offseason of interesting losses, highlighted by the following:
- Mario Williams, DE - Six years for almost $100 million, $50 million guaranteed. (What can he do with that much money?) That's the open-market price for the former 1st overall pick in 2006, who can create and pace a pass rush for anyone (at least, that's what Buffalo hopes).
- DeMeco Ryans, ILB - Swapping 3rd round picks and getting a 4th rounder. That was what the Eagles had to give for a former Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro that has recently had some serious injuries. Williams and Ryans (2nd round, 33rd overall pick in 2006) were two fantastic defensive building blocks for what was once an awful Texans team, and now they're both gone.
- Jason Allen, CB - The former 1st round pick by the Dolphins in 2006 was actually released by them midseason in 2010 (in what I believe was a contract year for him). The Texans immediately claimed him off waivers, and he finished out the season with them and put together a reasonably productive 2011 campaign as their No. 2 corner (4 interceptions, 45 tackles) while playing across from Johnathan Joseph, which earned Allen a two-year, $8.2 million contract from the Bengals (a year after they allowed Joseph to walk).
Needs and options:
Parting with Ryans now doesn't leave as big a void as there would've been a couple of years ago. And with Brian Cushing as a stud at one ILB spot, they can probably find a serviceable replacement already on their roster (between Darryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins, and FA acquisition Bradie James). Last year they also drafted two CBs - Brandon Harris (remember him?) with their second 2nd round pick and Rashad "Roc" Carmichael with their 4th rounder - so Allen's loss should be sustainable (especially if 2010 1st round pick Kareem Jackson starts to put it all together).
Mario Williams missed time the past two years (major time this passed season with a torn pectoral), and with the Texans' defense still able to function at a pretty high level in his absence, Williams' value to them would not have been worth the price he commanded. Another OLB will be needed to rotate with Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, 2nd round pick last year.
Option: Courtney Upshaw
According to the guys at Battle Red Blog (BRB - great abbreviation), Mike Brisiel was also having trouble putting together a complete 16 game season (check the second link under Winston's blurb). The combined losses of Brisiel and Winston will give them an entirely new right side for what used to be very good offensive line and they need depth to shore it up, especially if the presumed replacements - Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler - are not up to the task.
(would've been an option here, but between the baggage that he is carrying from Ohio State and the recent reports that he tested positive for marijuana at the combine, I'm willing to pass on him), Bobby Massie at OT; Kevin Zeitler at G
Andre Johnson's injuries exposed the Texans' passing game to be reliant on him to function, though their carousel of quarterbacks - going from Matt Schaub to Matt Leinart to rookie T.J. Yates (even going so far as to acquire Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia for late season depth) - did them no favors either. Johnson and No. 2 Kevin Walter are both going to be 31 this year and Jacoby Jones has never put it all together, so they could definitely start to reload their passing attack for the future. Only two receivers have been picked so far, leaving a trio of enticing prospects available here.
Options: Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill, and Rueben Randle
In losing Dreessen, the Texans mainly lost a good blocking TE that was also a serviceable receiver. Coby Fleener apparently isn't a fully-realized crushing blocker at this point in his development, but he could get there so I'm on board with potentially taking him to pair with (and eventually supplant) Owen Daniels.
Option: Coby Fleener
After due consideration...
With the 26th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Houston Texans select Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech.
The deciding factor between Courtney Upshaw and a receiver was that since the Texans became a franchise in 2002, they've picked three offensive players in the 1st round and eight defensive players. I just think they're due for another guy on offense.
The deciding factor between Kendall Wright and Hill/Randle was the potential for Hill/Randle (with their size) to be much better blocking assets in the running game, which will remain the Texans' bread-and-butter, while they grow into the offense.
The tiebreaker between Stephen Hill and Rueben Randle came down to... kind of a coin-flip. Hill is 6'4, 215; Randle is 6'3, 210. Randle has more polish as a receiver right now, Hill has serious speed (4.36 40-yard time tied for tops at the combine among receivers). After spending three years at Georgia Tech, where they are far more interested in the run with their triple-option offense, I feel like Hill could really blossom with a team that wants to properly hone him as a receiver (though it's not all bad, because one report I read talked about how Hill was a "focus blocker" with some plays designed to run behind his block specifically). And since the Texans have one of the best "prototypical" No. 1 receivers in the league already on the roster, Hill will have the perfect mentor to look up to.
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
- Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
- New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
- San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
- Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
- Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
- Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
- Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State