And no part of the NFL draft is more exciting than the first round. The first round is the paramount round. Game-changers are drafted in the first. Pro Bowlers are drafted in the first. MVPs are drafted in the first.
This year's first-round draft choice will hold high significance for the Texans. Houston is on the brink of becoming a full-blown Super Bowl contender, and a single player can turn the tide in the Texans' favor.
Currently, the Texans' lack of a high-powered offense is what is restraining the team from overtaking the likes of Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Texans' offense, however, is loaded with playmakers. Arian Foster and Andre Johnson are superstars, Owen Daniels is a dangerous weapon at tight end, Matt Schaub is an above-average quarterback and the offensive line is solid and will only continue to improve.
What, then, is the problem? As complex as this question may seem to be, it is really quite simple to answer: the receiving core.
Behind Andre Johnson, the Texans have no proven receivers. The second-best receiver, DeVier Posey, will miss the majority of next season with an Achilles injury. This leaves Schaub with virtually no options to throw the ball to besides Johnson and Daniels, which is a major problem for the passing offense.
That's why it should be no great surprise that the majority of mock drafts have the Texans taking a wide receiver in the first round. And rightfully so.
The three most common receivers that are predicted to go the Texans are DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Robert Woods.
Which one is the best fit? Let's try to find out.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
At first glance, Hopkins appears to be a perfect fit with the Texans. And he very nearly is.
Hopkins possesses the majority of the traits one would want from a starting receiver; he boasts a very large skill set.
Hopkins is an extraordinary route-runner, able to run near-perfect short, medium and long routes. He utilizes quick juke moves and deceptive head fakes to constantly create separation from defenders, which often presents his quarterback with an easy-to-hit target.
Hopkins also possesses a pair of extremely strong hands. He can consistently haul passes in even in the worst of traffic, and he has the valuable ability to snatch balls out of mid-air on a regular basis.
And when he comes down with the ball in open space, he can be very explosive. He easily powers through arm tackles, is able to nonchalantly side-step oncoming tacklers and almost always grinds out as much yardage as possible.
To make it even better, Hopkins is a dangerous red-zone target, an area where the Texans struggled mightily in last season. Hopkins hauled in 18 touchdown passes last season, many of them coming from the red zone where he was able to consistently out-compete defensive backs.
And to top it all off, Hopkins is an excellent run blocker. He has a keen understanding of blocking angles, allowing him to get position on defenders to open up lanes for running backs. On a run-heavy team like the Texans, that trait is extremely valuable.
Hopkins is certainly an attractive option.
Keenan Allen, WR, California
A few weeks ago, it was doubtful that Allen would fall to the Texans. But after a lackluster showing in the 40-yard dash, where Allen failed to run quicker than a 4.7, his stock has been dropping.
It shouldn't be. Allen was nursing an injury when he ran the 40, and his incredibly slow time in no way reflects his true athleticism.
Allen is a highly skilled physical beast who can instantly contribute to any offense in the NFL.
Like Hopkins, Allen is a very talented route-runner, who can run nearly any route that is asked of him. However, Allen is not just a capable route-runner, he is also a physical beast.
Tall and strong, Allen is extremely adept at snatching balls out of mid-air in a Calvin Johnson-like fashion. He is proficient at hauling in jump balls, which makes him a dangerous downfield threat as well as a reliable red-zone target.
Allen, also, is a terror with the ball in his hands. He is able to run over smaller defenders, and he can easily outrun and out-juke larger, less agile ones.
If the Texans were to draft Allen, they would very likely have found their future replacement for Andre Johnson.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
At USC last season, Woods took a backseat to fellow receiver Marquise Lee. Woods was struggling with a right ankle injury throughout the majority of the season, and the more talented Lee took advantage.
Don't let this deter you, however, from not falling in love with Woods.
Woods is incredibly quick, which allows him to effortlessly separate from defenders. Coupled with his natural route-running ability, Woods was consistently able to get open on short and medium routes.
On a team like the Texans which values receivers who can regularly get open for first downs, Woods would be a perfect fit.
Unfortunately, Woods is not yet able to of being a No. 1 receiver. Yet.
He has not proven himself capable of consistently getting open downfield for the deep ball, which could be a major problem when the Texans attempt to stretch the field.
Woods would need to be developed behind Andre Johnson for a few seasons before he will be able to reach his full potential.
Amongst the three receivers listed above, there are also two defensive players that are quite popular picks for the Texans in mock drafts.
Alec Ogletree and Jesse Williams have both been repeatedly been mentioned as potential fits with the Texans.
Ogletree, an inside linebacker, is an athletic beast whose coverage skills could help the Texans remain in their base 3-4 defense more often.
Jesse Williams is a monstrous nose tackle who could help take attention away from J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus and Antonio Smith.
Who do you think the Texans should take? Make your thoughts known in the poll, and argue your case in the comments section below!
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