Mel Kiper Jr. has released his final 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and for Texans fans it will yield a name we're pretty used to at this point: Missouri linebacker Aldon Smith. There isn't much drama left with the Texans if they are stuck at No. 11 overall, as Robert Quinn seems to routinely leave the board before then and Prince Amukamara seems to have fallen out of favor as an actual option for the Texans at this point.
The Texans have needs all over the defensive side of the ball and I also think they're looking to move off this pick for the right package of picks. But if they can't get a deal done and stick at No. 11, Smith represents a ton of upside for a defense that really needs to add some pass-rushing help opposite the great Mario Williams. Again, a lot of the problems in the Houston secondary started up front. I think they should find the tools Wade Phillips needs to get to opposing quarterbacks in his scheme, and Smith will remind him of Ware, a real matchup headache to be used on the edge of that 3-4.
That's a great point. It's just too bad that Aldon Smith has no actual experience rushing from the outside of a 3-4 and will need to transition into the role, thus not helping the Texans out right away in the first place.
Very interesting that Kiper thinks the Texans may trade down though--I have long thought that this would make the most sense for Houston. But I'm still not sure they'll find a willing trade partner at 11, because to me it seems like the elite talent dries up there. If they can deal the pick for someone trying to draft a QB over Minnesota, that would be ideal.