Houston Texans 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions
In each of the past two seasons the Texans have won the AFC South and a postseason game, but now the team is looking to take the mythical "next step" and advance past the divisional round of the playoffs.
That means addressing needs that include the wide receiver and linebacker positions, and the team will look to fill those holes and more at the 2013 NFL draft later this month.
Let's take a look at all the latest news, rumors and pre-draft speculation involving the Texans. This tracker will also be updated regularly as the draft approaches, so be sure to check back often.
Latest News, Rumors and Reports
April 11: Linebacker is certainly an area in which the Texans will look to get better in the 2013 NFL draft. It appears that the team already has at least one potential target in mind, as Aaron Wilson of Scouts Inc. reports that the team will work out Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter.
April 8: Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor is shooting up draft boards as the big day approaches, and the 5'11" senior has apparently caught the eye of the Houston Texans.
Tony Pauline of Draft Insider reported Monday that Taylor, who had 51 tackles and four interceptions in 2012, has visits scheduled with several teams picking towards the end of the first round, including Houston.
There hasn't exactly been a parade of prospects heading in and out of Reliant Stadium, as either the Houston Texans are playing things very close to the vest, or they don't believe that there's a lot to be gained by pre-draft visits.
According to Draftace's draft visit tracker, the Texans have had only a handful of players in to this point:
Trey Diller, WR, Sam Houston State
Jose Jose, DT, Central Florida
David Amerson, CB, N.C. State
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Texans' blog, State of the Texans, adds a few names to that list, including Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and Cal wideout Keenan Allen.
Latest Mock Drafts
Here's a look around the web at what some leading draftniks think the Texans' plans are with the 27th pick of the first round.
ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr., April 24): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, USC
Kiper sees finding a complementary receiver for Andre Johnson the team's biggest need, and states that "Hopkins has great hands, but also an underrated ability to set up defenders and beat them to space, something a play-action offense needs."
Sports Illustrated (Don Banks, April 17): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Banks disagrees with Kiper on the player that the Texans will take, but agrees that wide receiver is the team's highest priority, writing that "Allen catches the ball with physicality, in the mold of Anquan Boldin."
The general consensus certainly appears to be that the Texans will address the wide receiver position with their first selection, with Rang saying that "Patterson is electric with the ball in his hands, making him an ideal complementary threat to Johnson. He's unpolished on and off the field, however, which could push him down the board."
Bleacher Report (Matt Miller, April 22): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
It's a clean sweep to this point, as Bleacher Report NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller also has the Texans taking a wide receiver in his latest mock draft.
Miller agrees with Banks that it's Keenan Allen of Cal who will get the call, writing that "he's a smooth open-field runner and plays with the vision in space to make plays with his feet."
Houston Chronicle (John McClain, April 20): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Houston Chronicle's John McClain recently participated in a beat writer mock draft for The Los Angeles Times, and in that draft McClain sees the Texans drafting the Clemson star, who he says "is a three-year starter the Texans think would be ready to start as a rookie."
Latest Trade Rumors
As last year's NFL draft showed very clearly, the new collective bargaining agreement makes it much easier for draft-day deals to take place involving first-round picks.
However, where the Texans are concerned there hasn't been much news on that front.
Should that change, you'll be the first to know.
Wide Receiver a Mortal Lock?
As you can tell from the mock drafts, the overwhelming majority of draft experts feel that the Texans will look to the wide receiver position with their first pick this year, and with good reason.
For what seems like Andre Johnson's entire NFL career, the Texans have been searching for a wideout to pair with the star veteran. DeVier Posey started to emerge toward the end of last season, but the torn Achilles tendon Posey suffered in the playoffs leaves his Week 1 availability very much in doubt.
With no clear-cut top player at the position this year, opinions vary greatly over who that receiver might be, but whether it's USC's Woods, Clemson's Hopkins or another youngster, it would be something of an upset if the Texans didn't take a wide receiver in the first round of the 2013 draft.
In fact, John McClain of The Houston Chronicle, who is as plugged in a beat writer as there is in the NFL, is "convinced" that is what the Texans plan to do.
If Not a Wideout, Then What?
The NFL draft always contains its fair share of surprises, so although prevailing wisdom has the Texans taking a wide receiver in the first round, there's always a chance that the team could go another direction.
Bleacher Report's Jeffrey Roy theorizes that with no clear top target at wide receiver, the Texans might be motivated to explore trading down, stockpiling extra picks in the process.
As Roy points out, general manager Rick Smith has something of a history of moving back in the draft, so a draft-day trade is a real possibility.
It's also possible—albeit somewhat unlikely—that the Texans might eschew the wide receiver position altogether in the first round.
The Houston linebacker corps was ravaged by injuries last year and watched Connor Barwin depart in free agency, making players such as Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Texas A&M's Damontre Moore candidates to surprise everyone by being the first new members of the Texans later this month.