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Houston Texans: Grading The Draft

How they did on every pick

Apr 27, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick defensive end Whitney Mercilus of Illinois poses with a jersey during a press conference at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 27, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick defensive end Whitney Mercilus of Illinois poses with a jersey during a press conference at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

It's obviously too early to grade the Texans draft accurately (that takes 3 to 4 years), but here's a very early look at how the Texans did; just for fun. My early thought is that they did well, but could have done better. I hated the choice of DeVier Posey over other receivers available in the 2nd/3rd round, and felt they reached just a bit for other picks. Overall, they got pretty good talent, but if Mercilus doesn't beat out Brooks Reed, there's a chance the only starter they got out of this draft in year 1 is the kicker they took in the 5th round; that's disappointing.

1st Round - 26th Overall

DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus - Illinois

I had Courtney Upshaw rated higher at OLB who was also still available, but he didn't go until 35th overall, so the Texans weren't the only team to pass on him. You can never have enough pass rushers, so I liked them addressing that need with no offensive lineman or receivers worth taking at 26th, but he's not a lock. Critics question his explosiveness, they point to him being a 1-year wonder; there are some concerns.

Obviously his sack total last season (16) was impressive, but his forced fumble total (9) caught my attention more. With a good offense, turnovers forced become points and he along with JJ Watt seem to be pretty good at knocking the ball loose. The biggest question is, will he start? With a good camp, he could start over Brooks Reed, but more likely he was drafted to give them depth and a possible replacement for Connor Barwin who is in the last year of his contract.

3rd Round - 68th Overall

WR DeVier Posey - Ohio State

This pick didn't make any sense to me; there were much better receivers available (Rueben Randle at their original spot & Mohamed Sanu even after trading back). Even if the Texans loved Posey as a prospect, he was projected to go in the 5th round; they could have traded back, picked up more picks, and still got him later. Posey had pretty good seasons as a sophomore and junior, combining for 113 catches, 1,676 yards, and 15 touchdowns; but I don't see him as having talent enough to start. He has good size and reliable hands according to scouts, but doesn't have great speed. On top of that, he's proven to be a knucklehead after being suspended for all but 2 games last season. He's a slight upgrade to Jacoby Jones, but they could have done better.

3rd Round - 76th Overall

OG Brandon Brooks - Miami (OH)

A player I liked, but didn't think he was a fit for the Texans at 346 pounds. Was good value with some mock drafts projecting him in the 2nd round. Scouts described him as a "mauling road-grader", so I was skeptical that Brooks had the agility, foot speed, and lateral movement to play in the zone-blocking scheme, but the Texans are convinced he's capable. Brooks did run a sub 5.00 40-yard-dash, so he does appear to have plus athleticism for his size. My guess is Brooks will start off as the backup to Antoine Caldwell, but Caldwell doesn't have a lock on that spot, so Brooks could steal the gig with a good camp. Some scouts think Brooks could slide out to right tackle eventually, but in the short term I'd like to see Brooks used in the short-yardage/goaline packages when they need to use more of a straight up, power blocking scheme.

4th Round - 99th Overall

C/OG Ben Jones - Georgia

Much like Brooks, Jones is a lineman that scouts think can play multiple positions. Jones ranked as the 2nd best center in the draft but will also play some guard and will likely compete with Caldwell and Brooks to replace Mike Brisel at right guard. Scouts think he'll be a good fit for the zone-blocking scheme, "Good lateral agility to slide and mirror...Good initial quickness off the snap to turn and seal off the defender." I like the pick.

4th Round - 121st Overall

WR Keshawn Martin - Michigan State

Great athlete, good in space, projects to be a plus slot receiver. According to scouts Martin is quick off the line, is a great athlete, and a good route runner. On top of that, he's a plus return man giving the pick extra value. Martin will push for playing time in training camp and will likely start off as the Texans primary return specialist, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the bulk of the snaps in the slot as the season goes on.

4th Round - 126th Overall

DT/DE Jared Crick - Nebraska

Love this pick. If not for an injury slowing him down last season, I think he would have been at least a 3rd round pick, and probably a 2nd round pick. If Crick had repeated his sophomore and junior seasons (9.5 sacks each year), some scouts would even have him rated as a 1st round talent. Crick played defensive tackle at Nebraska but projects as a 3-4 end at the NFL level. His upside is that of JJ Watt I believe; the Texans could have a dynamite DE combo for the next 5-7 years.

5th Round - 161st Overall

K Randy Bullock - Texas A&M

Would have been better value in the 6th round, but he was a guy they had to have. Bullock won the Lou Groza award last season as the nation's best kicker and will start from day 1. Adding a young kicker not only saves them money over Neil Rackers, but also gives them a stronger leg, giving them the ability to attempt more 50+ yard field goals.

6th Round - 195th Overall

DT Nick Mondek - Purdue

Played both defensive tackle and offensive tackle while at Purdue. Looks like a good athlete, but is a developmental player and is a long shot to make the roster.

Overall Grade: B

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.