Houston Texans Mock Draft: Latest 7-Round Predictions Heading into Bowl Season
Bowl season is on the horizon, which means the 2013 NFL draft is just around the corner (kind of). Scrutiny over draft-eligible prospects for the draft amps up this time of year.
The Houston Texans have always been committed to building through the draft under Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith. It's resulted in one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
The Texans have done an outstanding job of drafting top-notch talent without having to mortgage future draft picks. The Texans have a pick in every round of the draft this year.
The team will also likely be awarded a compensatory pick for Mario Williams signing with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason, but that won't be decided until after the 2013 season.
So what prospects will the Texans target come April of next year? Here's a look at who the Texans could consider in each round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Round 1: DT, Jesse Williams, Alabama Crimson Tide
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The Houston Texans are no strangers to drafting front-seven players in the early rounds of the draft. Jesse Williams is a great fit for the style of 3-4 defense Wade Phillips uses.
He's best as a one-gapping, uphill defensive tackle lined up over the guard or center. His experience playing in the trenches in the SEC has prepared him well for the NFL.
The 6'4" 320-pound nose tackle for the Alabama Crimson Tide has the type of motor the Texans look for. He's an effort player with above-average speed for a man his size. His large, square frame is ideal for the nose tackle position in the NFL.
The Texans will eventually need to infuse more youth onto their defensive line. Williams could fit into the defensive line rotation right away.
Round 2: MLB, Alec Ogletree, Georgia Bulldogs
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The tackling machine for the Georgia Bulldogs has the talent to be a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Inside linebackers tend to fall farther than expected on draft weekend, so it's possible he could be there when the Texans pick in the second round.
Alec Ogletree has the size (6'3" 232 pounds) and instincts to be a plug-and-play inside linebacker in the NFL. He's been playing in a 3-4 defense at Georgia under coordinator Todd Grantham, who's coached defense in the NFL. He's a terrific schematic fit for Houston's defense.
The Texans have seen too much poor inside linebacker play since Brian Cushing was lost for the season. They've been playing with house money at the position since then.
Houston should be expected to look for an inside linebacker early in the 2013 draft. Ogletree is one of best of this year's class of inside linebackers.
Round 3: OT, Lane Johnson, Oklahoma Sooners
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Right tackle, the biggest weakness on the Houston Texans offense, will likely be addressed in the early rounds of this draft. Lane Johnson could start at right tackle immediately.
Landry Jones' blindside protector has the arm length NFL scouts grovel over (just look at the picture). He also possesses the type of athleticism the Texans look for in offensive linemen.
Current starting right tackle Derek Newton could develop into a solid NFL player down the line. However, he hasn't played at the same level of the other players on Houston's offense.
With a tackle like Johnson, the Texans wouldn't have to operate with handcuffs on offense, which they've had to at times to protect their poor right tackle situation.
Round 4: FS, Bacarri Rambo, Georgia Bulldogs
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The Houston Texans take another talented defensive player from Georgia.
Bacarri Rambo and teammate Shawn Williams were one of the best safety tandems in college football this season. Rambo would have stood out more on any other defense. Georgia was full of brand-name defensive players this year, with Rambo seemingly getting lost in the bunch.
Rambo has the coverage skills to play free safety in the NFL. He could play on the Texans nickel or dime defense right away.
Houston's third safety, Quintin Demps, has been vulnerable too often this year, especially when asked to tackle in space. His part-time role on the defense could be immediately upgraded with a player like Rambo.
Round 5: CB, Desmond Trufant, Washington Huskies
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It was shocking when the Houston Texans didn't draft a cornerback in last year's draft. It won't happen in this year's draft.
Desmond Trufant has played at Washington for an eternity it seems, and it could play into his favor during the evaluation process. He's played a ton of snaps in a passing conference, and he has some talent to go with his good size.
At 6'0" and 186 pounds, Trufant has the size to play on the edge in the NFL. He's a good fit for the cover 2 shell the Texans use. He won't be asked to play press-man on this defense, or at least not right away.
The Texans take it slow with their young corners, leaving them plenty of time to find the best way to use Trufant.
Round 6: FB, Lonnie Pryor, Florida State Seminoles
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The Texans are one of the few NFL teams that still covets fullbacks. Lonnie Pryor (6'0", 229 pounds) is the type of versatile, thumping fullback Houston's front office will likely target.
Pryor has been one of the driving forces behind a committee of rushers for the Florida State Seminoles. Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman and James Wilder have all rushed for 5.9 yards per carry or better this year behind Lonnie Pryor blocks.
Pryor can catch passes out of the backfield as well, an important quality for any back or tight end on Houston's offense.
The Texans have never hesitated to add weapons to their offense through the draft. Pryor could bring back the bruising presence Vonta Leach brought to the Texans offense for years.
Round 7: KR/PR, Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines
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What's a mock draft without a little fun?
Denard Robinson could be a dynamic returner in the NFL. His best bet of getting drafted, and having an NFL career, is as a special teams standout. It's possible he could be a threat on reverses or bubble screens on an NFL offense, but his immediate value will be on special teams.
Robinson's draft stock is impossible to pin down at this point. If he runs well throughout the evaluation process, he could see his stock rise. He'll likely only be looked at as a return specialist by most teams, which will prevent him from climbing up into the mid-rounds of the draft.
If the Texans have the chance to grab a home run hitter like this in the seventh round, why not take a flier? The upside of Robinson's game-changing speed is worth the risk.