Houston Texans 2014 Mock Draft with Player Scouting Profiles
And just like that, the offseason is here.
With the Super Bowl over, the Houston Texans will now become everyone's focus as we get closer and closer to draft day. There's now just 20 days left until the NFL Scouting Combine, which means there's plenty of time to get in some more mock drafts before the Texans sit down and check out this year's class of players.
In just seven rounds, it's highly unlikely the Texans will fix all of their problems. But if they target their priorities properly, the could walk out of Radio City a much stronger team.
Here's another seven-round look at what the Texans could have in store, along with a few different predictions at the key positions.
Round 1: QB, Johnny Manziel
If it isn't Teddy Bridgewater, it's definitely going to be Johnny Manziel with the No. 1 pick.
Aside from being a Texas native, Manziel has the excitement factor that probably goes hand in hand with the rest of Houston's offense. He's unbelievable on his feet, and his athleticism allows him to move around the pocket and make quick decisions on the fly.
Just like Bridgewater, there are some concerns with Manziel's size—he only weights 200 pounds. But at the same time, that isn't to say he couldn't morph into a Russell Wilson/RGIII-type quarterback with a few years under his cap.
A lot remains to be seen from Manziel, especially at the pro level, where defenses are technically a lot faster. If the Texans wanted to grab the bull by the horns, though, and draft someone with the excitement factor, they'd still be getting a pretty accurate quarterback who's proved he can win games on his own.
Round 2: DE, Scott Crichton
It's really hard not to be high on Scott Crichton right now.
At the moment, Crichton may still be an early third-round pick, but he continues to impress after a strong finish at Oregon State last season.
Finishing with 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, Crichton is one of the strongest defensive ends available next to Jadeveon Clowney. With the Texans needing some help forcing takeaways, it might make sense to draft a defensive end early, especially with guys like Kony Ealy also available.
Crichton, though, is a perfect fit and a potential steal. He looks to fit in well with a 4-3 scheme, and if the Texans do decide to stick with the 3-4, he could still fit in as an outside linebacker.
There's a lot of strength to Crichton and some quickness there, too. Coaches spent days scheming around him last season, making him a big-time player for Rick Smith to take a look at.
Round 3: OT, Ja'Wuan James
Talent at the offensive tackle position is deep this year, meaning the Texans could leave it until the third round if they really wanted to.
A player like Ju'Wuan James out of Tennessee is likely to still be available by then, and he's definitely one of the more reliable middle-round picks up for grabs.
James started in all 49 of his games at right tackle for the Volunteers, and he is one of the few guys who can say he kept Clowney without a sack. His biggest strength is blocking holes for the running game, and at 6'6", he ranks as one of the taller tackles in this year's class.
If the Texans are going to draft a quarterback who likes to run the football a lot, a strong offensive tackle is needed to stop the ongoing problem of sacks continuing on from last season. James was a rock at Tennessee, and so far, no one has really noticed him.
Round 4: RB, Charles Sims
If Ben Tate walks before May, the Texans might want to choose a running back higher than the fifth or sixth round in the draft to replace what they've lost.
Charles Sims has just about everything Tate offered, minus experience of course. At West Virginia last season, he piled on 1,095 yards and looks to be one of the better receiving running backs available this year.
At 5'11", Sims has a similar build to Tate, and both weigh roughly the same on the scales (213 lbs and 217 lbs, respectively). What Sims has that Tate doesn't is an ability to return kickoffs with some real burst and vision—an area that lacked for the Texans last season when Keshawn Martin struggled.
Sims could use some work with his blocking, but in the fourth round, this is the whole package. The Texans get a guy who is fast and strong, but he also shows a lot of attitude on play-action fakes, which could potentially take some pressure off of Arian Foster.
Round 5: S, Tre Boston
Finding Tre Boston in the fifth round might be a challenge, but his skill set is just what the Texans secondary needs after such a nothing year.
Boston had 94 tackles last year with five interceptions, making him one of North Carolina's top recruits. The best part about him is that Boston can play both safety and corner, which is a big luxury to have if the Texans decide to part ways with Brice McCain or if D.J. Swearinger shows signs of regression in his second year.
In big areas of space, Boston looks comfy, and his athleticism lets him get to the ball-carrier quickly. The Texans aren't in urgent need of safety help, but with Eddie Pleasant due a steep cap hit of $6 million, Houston might choose a young rookie over a big paycheck very soon.
Round 6: C, Gabe Ikard
With Chris Myers in his ninth season and Ben Jones showing a lot of struggle, the Texans could do well to take a center late in the draft.
Gabe Ikard out of Oklahoma is one of the better late-round picks, even though a few of the top names could fall down the list.
Ikard's strength is in the run game setting up holes, and he's faced some pretty tough defenses in 2013. Against Notre Dame's Louis Nix he held his ground and has continued to add some weight since the middle of last year.
Pressure up the middle didn't just cost the Texans sacks last year, it cost them interceptions too. Drafting a center Bill O'Brien can condition through training camp isn't a bad move.
Round 7: CB, Deven Drane
Losing McCain and possibly even Kareem Jackson creates a lot of depth on the defensive roster. Romeo Crennel has a lot of repairing to do after Wade Phillips' mess, and adding another cornerback probably helps the situation.
Deven Drane out of Cincinnati is one of the better late-round picks. He could slip into free agency if no one takes note, but after three interceptions and a reputation of jamming receivers at the line, it would be a shame if he did.
Drane is only 5'11", making him a small corner, but lets his tackling skills make up for his height. Last season's efforts to wrap up guys like Russell Wilson left the Texans defense in disarray, so a corner who can lasso up runners is a pretty nice addition.