We're running out of days until the NFL Draft actually happens, but one thing you can count on is that Missouri defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith continues to be the player that the Texans are given most often in mock drafts. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain says that while a trade-up for Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller isn't completely off the table, it appears likely the Texans will draft Smith at No. 11 overall:
If the Texans stay at 11, I have them taking outside linebacker Aldon Smith again. His stock is on the rise. Two weeks ago, Warren Sapp called him a "DeMarcus Ware type in two years" and said he could help the pass rush right away. Sapp spent a day working out Smith and interviewing him for the NFL Network. As Sapp pointed out, Smith is a third-year sophomore with a lot to learn.
Last week, on the NFL Network, Mike Lombardi moved Smith up to Dallas with the ninth pick.
Let me feel free to point out that it's more than a bit awkward for Smith's stock to go up because Warren Sapp and Mike Lombardi say he's good. Not the direct correlation I was looking for. Either way, it's notable that McClain has the Texans passing on Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara, who would seem to be the more highly regarded player, to fill their 3-4 rush OLB slot early. Particularly with someone who may not be NFL-ready right away.
Want a sign that the Texans are seriously entertaining the idea of letting Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach walk? They're apparently interested in Colorado State fullback Zac Pauga according to Brad Biggs of the National Football Post.
Pauga could be a candidate to be a late round pick if not an undrafted free agent. Whenever those will happen. Plus he's from Colorado State, so we can already write him in on the Texans training camp roster.