NFL Draft 2012: Texans Focus On Replacing Mario Williams

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Nick Perry #8 of the University of Southern California Trojans brings down Tyler Eifert #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Forget about wide receiver in the first round, the Houston Texans need to replace Mario Williams.

It doesn't seem like the Houston Texans are interested in using their first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on a wide receiver, even though it seemed as if they would given the need for a more prolific No. 2 option opposite Andre Johnson, as well as the general desire to build for the future.

But the first round pick? Filling the wide receiver position really isn't that urgent, at least not as much as finding a new pass rusher to play outside linebacker in Wade Phillip's 3-4 system. Think about it. As much as the Texans defense improved under Phillips from the previous season under Frank Bush, it never even touched its potential because Mario Williams only played five games.

Williams recorded just 11 tackles, so roughly two tackles a game, but managed to in five sacks in those five games under the 3-4 setup. The Texans have to be in the first round looking for that guy, but maybe one who has a little better luck when it comes to staying healthy.

So longtime Houston Chronicle NFL writer and Texans insider John McClain has the team taking outside linebacker Nick Perry from the USC Trojans. He says Houston is looking to replace Mario. Perry just so happened to have led an irrelevant Pac-12 conference in sacks last season as a junior with 9 1/2.

Perry doesn't sound like a can't-miss prospect, but if he's an emerging young pass rusher of any kind, he's worth taking with that 26th overall pick. Remember, despite the injury problems with Andre Johnson, the issue at wide receiver was sort of masked by Arian Foster, who is one of the best check down options in the league aside from his rushing ability, and Ben Tate too.

The Texans have an offense that relies on a lot of different pieces besides wide receiver. It's that pass rush on defense that's the driving force of its success on that side of the ball. And if this Perry kid can get five sacks in five games like Mario did, or even better, five sacks in three games like he did against Colorado, Washington and Oregon last season, that my be the worthier risk to take.

Read more about the Texans at the Battle Red Blog.

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