Perfect Picks: Houston Texans
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Texans have made some ponderous moves in the last couple of seasons, and that’s being generous. While the standoff between Jack Easterby and DeShaun Watson continues, the teambuilding Nick Caseiro has to do remains a mystery. If Watson is dealt then he could have a bevvy of picks to work with. Should Watson remain, he will be left short-handed on high value picks, as per our example below.
Round 3 - Pick 67 - Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
When shy on early draft picks, the best route to take is by adding as much value as possible. USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown fits that criteria. In the third round grabbing a strong, do-it-all receiver is a positive move. Watson may need to be placated and adding another target for him is one way to do that. St. Brown was used heavily in the slot but his smooth route running and strong hands mean he could operate on the outside too.
He will certainly be of use in what has become a porous wide receiving room. The head scratching move to offload DeAndre Hopkins is likely to be followed by deep threat Will Fuller leaving in free agency. Even with the addition of St. Brown, the Texans will have a rebuilding job to do at the position.
Round 4 - Pick 110 - Cameron Sample, DL, Tulane
While the decision to part ways with JJ Watt wasn’t the unexpected move it would’ve once been thought as, it still leaves a large hole. Watt’s injury struggles had led to a decline in play but filling his shoes will be no mean feat. Charles Omenihu will hope to tie down one defensive end spot but finding him a partner will be key.
While Tulane’s Cameron Sample is considered an edge rusher by some, his game should translate to defensive end in a base 3-4 scheme. Allowing him to play defensive tackle in sub packages. While he lacks the bend and speed to be left outside, Sample is stout vs the run and has a consistently hot motor. He gained valuable experience playing inside in the Senior Bowl and could see early reps if he lands in Houston.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 148 - Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
Once again the Texans get great value here by selecting Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard could have been an early day 2 pick if he declared last year. However, a somewhat lacklustre 2020 has led to a drop in his stock. Hubbard’s game is straight line speed, once loose he is difficult to catch. While he doesn’t have great wiggle he is more physical than his frame suggests. His willingness to block means he can eventually become a lead back.
David Johnson recently resigned for the Texans meaning there will be another year for him in Houston. He remains a shadow of when he first burst onto the scene for the Cardinals. With that in mind, Hubbard can provide some athletic perk in his rookie year before aiming to take the starting job sometime in the future.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 201 - William Bradley-King, Edge, Baylor
The Texans are also shorthanded on edge rushers. Whitney Mercilus is another year older and Brennan Scarlett a free agent. They made some provision last year by taking Jonathan Greenard but adding some more firepower in the later rounds would be advisable.
William Bradley-King has had a meteoric rise to get to the pros. After exploding in his junior season at Arkansas State, recording 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, he was a graduate transfer to Baylor. As a Bear he still had success off the edge. Bradley-King lacks the burst that would see him be drafted higher but wins through brute force. That added with his long arms, that he consistently gets up to disrupt the pass, make him a worthy later round pick up.
Draft In Full:
67. Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (WR)
110. Cameron Sample, Tulane (Edge)
123. Benjamin St. Juste, Minnesota (CB)
148. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (RB)
188. Drake Jackson, Kentucky (iOL)
201. William Bradley-King, Baylor (Edge)
211. Matt Bushman, BYU (TE)
230. Tre Norwood, Oklahoma (CB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.