If you have kept up with this thread, you've probably have heard me criticize mockers, both in mock reviews and in general, for not truly understanding your Houston Texans. It's certainly understandable, I mean the Texans haven't done enough to truly register on the national radar while most of the local media, frankly, doesn't really get it. I mean we had one writer chiming in for Vince Young in a battle red jersey and another is busy talking about the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Thankfully, Chron.com's Lance Zierlein has come to save the day.
Amongst the Houston media, Zierlein is THE draft guy for those who cover Texans. He comments relentlessly on Twitter during the college football season, puts out an annual draft guide, and is pretty level-headed in his Texans analysis. His is a mock that all Houston fans should check out. You can do so here, but it's time to put his first first round mock pick through the ringer.
With the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Mock Draft, Lance Zierlein, representing the Houston Texans, selects defensive end Cameron Jordan out of the University of California. Tell us why, Mr. Z:
I wanted to put Aldon Smith from Missouri or Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue in this spot, but my guess is that the Texans will see the OLB position as a position that they have covered on their roster currently or as a position they can grab a little later in the draft. It is difficult to find 3-4 DEs who can rush the passer effectively and that might end up being what Jordan can bring to the table. Jordan was one of the most dominant pass rushers in Senior Bowl drills and his father, Steve Jordan, played tight end for the Minnesota Vikings and was a 6-time Pro Bowler.
On the need scale, Jordan's not entirely necessary, but I can't say that I hate the pick.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was majorly impressed with Jordan during the Senior Bowl - as were most people. On Battle Red Blog, the esteemed writer known as bigfatdrunk, among others, suggested that getting rid of Mr. Yellow Flag - a/k/a Antonio Smith - may not be a bad move.
In a sense, I like this pick because it's all about adding the most talented prospect available. I'm not a fan of Houston's need-based drafting process because it does cause you to ignore talent, and this is a franchise that can't afford to do that for another season. Even if you don't trade Smith, you have built yourself a very nice defensive end rotation which could pay off if Mario Williams does suffer another injury. With the second and third round picks, you can then look for outside linebackers, nose tackles, and safeties.
In looking at Zierlein's draft, I'm not desperately wanting someone else at 11. Sure, I would consider Alabama WR Julio Jones or UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers - and my ultimate draft crush in Ohio State DT Cameron Heyward - but I don't wish the pick away as I've done with other mocks.
Low-grade on need but Lance puts together a good pick and sound analysis for Jordan to Houston that is hard to argue against. Over the next few months, I wonder if he'll stick with Cameron Jordan. Next up here? Taking a look at some non-first round options for mock flexibility and, hopefully, some scouring of the many fan mocks over at Mocking The Draft.