Another mock draft at this point would seem repetitive since everything will likely be different this time next week with the combine underway.
So instead of the usual selection for each round, I want to tackle multiple possibilities for each selection based off of the Texans primary need for depth at five positions: nose tackle, wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line and safety. Why wait? Let's get started.
- WR - Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
- NT - Dontari Poe, Memphis
- S - Mark Barron, Alabama
- OL - Peter Konz, Wisconsin
- LB - Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Picking this late in the first, you'd have to imagine Blackmon, Floyd and Wright are off the board. Therefore, if the Texans decide to go WR, as most expect, it will likely come down to Sanu or Randle. Both could have first-round grades after the combine next week. Alshon Jeffery is still the X factor at this point.
In this scenario, with Konz and Merclius, I am going off of the thought that Mario Williams and/or Chris Myers aren't wearing Texans uniforms in 2012. With a selection of Mark Barron, this would just be taking the best player available, and he is a top-15 talent. With Poe, the Texans fill a huge need by getting the fat, space-eating nose tackle fans have been clamoring for over the entire Kubiak regime.
- WR - Dwight Jones, North Carolina
- NT - Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
- S - Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
- OL - Zebrie Sanders, Florida St.
- LB - Vinny Curry, Marshall
With Dwight Jones, who I originally mocked to Houston in the first round, you get a player who has all of the measurables but still seems very raw. Ta'amu is another load in the middle that has said Houston showed great interest in him at the Senior Bowl. Martin could be the guy they groom to eventually replace Glover Quin, who is a free agent at the end of next season.
With the lack of depth behind Eric Winston and Duane Brown, Sanders looks like a guy who could fit the scheme that Kubiak has installed, and Vinny Curry has been rumored to be high on their draft board.
- WR - Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
- NT - Mark Chapman, Alabama
- S - Winston Guy Jr., Kentucky
- OL - Bobbie Massie, Ole Miss
- LB - Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
After the first two rounds is usually where the good teams start building their foundation of depth for the future. Third rounders are where a lot of gems can be found, and I think this handful of guys could join that exclusive club.
Broyles was considered a first-round talent before his injury last season, and he can also return kicks, making Jacoby Jones expendable. Chapman isn't quite as big as some of the other nose tackles in this draft, but his quickness seems to fit what Houston likes to do at the position.
Guy is more of a depth guy that could challenge Troy Nolan for his spot on the final roster but has a high ceiling. Massie is a load who is an excellent run-blocker and would be a perfect scheme fit. Irvin is one of those guys that has the "high motor" that this coaching staff loves.
- WR - Brian Quick, Appalachian State
- NT - Nick Jean-Baptiste, Baylor
- S - Brandon Taylor, LSU
- OL - Nate Potter, Boise State
- LB - Cordarro Law, Southern Miss
Here is the part where you start trying to find those guys who have slipped some but could be a steal at their position.
A guy like Brian Quick will slide down the board due to playing at such a small school, but he is electric and could be the answer for Houston in the slot. Jean-Baptiste is another big boy that will appease the fans who demand a hometown guy be taken. Taylor is a playmaker who is underrated due to having so much secondary talent around him on LSU's stud defense.
Getting Potter in the fourth would be a serious steal, and, to be honest, I'm stretching here to think he'll still be available. But good talent always slides, and Potter could be the successor to Eric Winston down the road. My fellow University of Houston fans might remember Law as the guy who wrecked shop in the championship game a few months ago.
- WR - Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech
- NT - Delvin Johnson, Marshall
- S - Delano Howell, Stanford
- OL -Adam Gettis, Iowa
- LB - Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy
Boykin is tall and physical and could help with Houston's red zone struggles. Johnson had a big year due to playing alongside Vinny Curry, and Delano Howell was considered high second-round talent the season before last.
Gettis is somewhat intriguing for the fact that he can play guard or center. Coaches love to have guys who are that versatile on the roster. Massaquoi just seems like the kind of guy that Wade Phillips could turn into a monster coming off the edge.
- WR - Jermaine Kearse, Washington
- NT - T.J. Barnes, Georgia Tech
- S - Blake Gideon, Texas
- OL - Antoine McClain, Clemson
- LB - Darius Fleming, Notre Dame
Kearse is another tall, physical guy who has trouble creating separation but could benefit from playing in this scheme. Barnes is a big boy who excels at batting the ball down at the line. Gideon is a little undersized but has an eye for the ball.
McClain is one of those guys who had all the tools but just never seemed to put it all together. He'd be good depth for the guard position, and Darius Fleming had every chance to excel playing next to Manti Te'o but just never seemed to get there. Some good coaching could salvage his potential.
- WR - Derek Moye, Penn State
- NT - Akiem Hicks, Regina (Canada)
- S - Sean Cattouse, California
- OL - Chris Jacobsen, Pittsburgh
- LB - Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest
Moye was en route to having a big season to raise his draft stock before bad quarterback play didn't help him any. He's an extremely tall guy who could be the number two or the slot guy if needed. Hicks is just a big body that could eat up space, and Cattouse had a good senior season but against lesser competition.
Jacobsen looked to be a high mid-round pick before he blew out his knee during his senior season, so this would be a pick based off of potential at this point in the draft. Wilber being graded so low confuses me, as he had a pretty good season last year. He'll need to show up at the combine to keep from potentially going undrafted.
Houston could also possibly be looking for a third quarterback in the late rounds should Matt Leinart not be back with the team, and with Kellen Moore dropping off of draft boards, he seems to be the prototypical "project" guy that Gary Kubiak would love to get a hold of.
More linebackers and corners are always in play, as it is constantly stated that you can never have enough of either position.
A lot of these guys' grades are likely to change after the combine, so we'll revisit it then. But for now, these are the guys I'm keeping an eye on for next week.
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