With the 2011 NFL Draft taking place
this Thursday tomorrow through Saturday, it's time for my last
If you've been following this thread then you know that I'm more "best talent available" with an eye on need while the Texans tend to think in terms of need and schematic fit. This is why only one name is the same between the two lists. I also am eschewing any rumors about trading up. The roster has too many holes and question marks to warrant sending too many picks away. I think giving up the rumored three-five picks in this year's draft is a move for a team who truly is one or two players away. That team isn't Houston. With that said, let's go to the mock draft.
Round 1, pick 11 - WANT: Alabama WR Julio Jones; THINK: California DE Cameron Jordan
I assume the best talent available at 11 would be Jones. With the loss of Leach and the potential hit to the running game, I'd really go out of my way to ensure that the receiving corps had that second viable threat to keep it chugging along.
Round 2, pick 42 - WANT: Miami (FL) CB Brandon Harris; THINK: Arizona OLB Brooks Reed
In my draft, I hope to land Harris.
Round 3, pick 73 - WANT: Oklahoma S Quinton Carter; THINK: Carter
There's a time where value, need, and schematic fit match up. This is one of those times. Quinton Carter would be a perfect safety in Wade's scheme since he’s good in coverage, competent in dropping into the slot, and an able and willing tackle. Placing him back there with Quin would turn safety from a glaring weakness into a total strength.
Round 4, pick 105 - WANT: Fresno State OLB Chris Carter; THINK: Colorado CB Jalil Brown
I take my OLB in round four with Carter who had one of the Combine's top 10-yard dash times (an indicator of initial burst) and had an impressive season of harassing the quarterback for the Bulldogs.
The Texans want to grab a cornerback and Brown would be nice value here. Jimmy Smith gets all of the attention, but Brown has gone nearly unnoticed. He’s a big kid (6’1’’, 210 pounds) who can make plays on the ball (averaged two interceptions and 7 passes defensed per season at
Round 5, pick 138 - WANT: Stanford DT Sione Fua; THINK: Stanford FB Owen Marecic
I don't think
With the signs that Vonta Leach won't be resigned, the Texans should be thinking about grabbing the draft's best fullback. Marecic has been described as a bulldozer. He also provides significant special teams value as he also started at linebacker for the Cardinal. The guy is a physical football player who would be providing tremendous value for a fifth round talent. I love Leach, but this would be a very nice replacement.
Round 6, pick 178 - WANT: Nebraska P/K Alex Henery; THINK: Notre Dame NT Ian Williams
Matt Turk is a 43-year old free agent coming off a terrible season. Henery possesses the best leg in the draft. Henery could handle punts and long-range field goals, at the minimum. At maximum, Henery’s booming leg could handle both roles of kicker and punter and be a weapon for the Texans.
I believe the Texans will take a nose tackle late to add a body to the position. Williams in round six would do just that. He can hold the point of attack and clog the middle, but that’s about it.
Round 7, pick 214 - WANT: Boise State S: Jeron Johnson; THINK: California OLB Michael Mohamed
I’m not enamored with either Dominique Barber or Troy Nolan. Also, Johnson provides too much value here. He’s a smart football player with solid fundamentals. At worst, he’s a great special teams contributor and able to fill in at SS from time to time.
Mohamed’s the second OLB drafted and really just done to add depth to the position. He played in the 3-4 at
Round 7, pick 254 - WANT: Virginia DE Zane Parr; THINK: Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson
I just needed a DE for my draft and Parr projected to be the best available 3-4 DE with this pick. He’s got decent size and speed.
We all know Gary Kubiak needs a quarterback project and Johnson would be that while Dan Orlovsky thinks about his next job.
With my draft, I’m happy with the talent and think I’ve got next season starters and contributors all the way through the Johnson pick. I feel like the value returned on each pick would be outstanding. Still, I am dependent on getting a top-shelf cornerback to solidify that unit and am thin at the outside linebacker position. Of course, that's how I believe a draft should be run: find talent and fill in any remaining holes with veterans as opposed to trying to fill all holes with young options.
Tomorrow: The real 2011 NFL Draft begins to show how wrong mock drafts often are. Check back with SB Nation Houston and Battle Red Blog for all the Texans news, rumors, and analysis.