We all remember the days of David Carr and the Houston Texans (please don’t remind me).
Luckily, it seems like those days are behind us and the Texans are headed down a much brighter path. They finally finished their first winning season and seem to have a different attitude in the locker room.
The 2010 NFL draft is going to be huge for the Texans. They have some big needs to fill and cannot afford to miss with the first two picks in the 2010 draft.
Ideally, they would love to find a playmaker like they found in Brian Cushing last year who can contribute right away.
Four out of the last five Houston Texans' first round picks are currently starters and they expect to draft someone in the first round who will be able to start from day one.
If free agency would have played out a little differently, then the Texans would not have to rely so heavily on the draft, but with the current management’s philosophy it doesn’t look like they are going to take a chance on free agents.
The Texans could have easily been a lock as a playoff team if they would have made any significant moves in free agency, however their ideology doesn’t allow them to offer a contract to someone who is older than 27.
The Texans must really have those Ahman Green nightmares in the back of their head because it seems like I am just now hearing about this "no veteran" free agent philosophy.
Whatever the case may be, if they are trying not to make the same mistakes that have burned them in the past, they would be advised to stay away from selecting a defensive tackle in the first round again.
Who would have thought it would take a 19-year-old three or four years to develop into a decent player? Seriously? He's just now turning 22, but that is a totally different subject.
Anyways, let’s get back to the matter at hand.
For the past couple of years, there is always one NFL analyst that picks the Texans to be the dark horse for making the playoffs, and every single year they say, "Wait until next year, this team is going to be really special."
You can't blame the guys for thinking the Texans were ready to win more than nine games in a season but it seems like every year there is always a pretty good excuse.
Injuries! If Matt Schaub can stay healthy...If Yao Ming can stay healthy...(Oops sorry, wrong sport but what is it about Houston and injuries?).
Matt Schaub was finally able to play through all 16 games and we were finally able to see what Gary Kubiak was talking about even after we were booing Schaub and asking for the Rosencopter.
It’s obvious the Texans are a better team and they keep improving every year, but eventually you have to have results.
Honestly, the Texans were a couple of missed field goals, goal-line stuffs, and teams resting their players away from making the playoffs.
They were ultimately knocked out by the team that beat them in the first game of the 2009 season, the New York Jets. But this season, there is no room for excuses.
Explaining to the fans why you haven't made the playoffs in five years might be hard for head coach Gary Kubiak, but he might have to explain that to them after this season.
Just when you think the Texans actually have a legit shot of making the playoffs, the NFL decides to give us the toughest schedule of all. Why do the football Gods hate us so much?
Based on the 2009 season, the Texans have the toughest schedule in the NFL ahead of them.
On top of playing the AFC South, NFC East, and the AFC West, the Texans will have to face the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets. They do not have a lot of room to slip up if they plan on making the playoffs this year.
That is why it is going to be tough to rely on rookies to step up and take starting roles next year, but that is the way it looks like it is going to be.
With the 2010 NFL Draft only one day away, I can only hope that the Texans will be fortunate to come away from it with some starters who can contribute right away. I am just tired of saying, “The Texans will be a playoff team next year.”
When I started making this mock draft all I could think about is what I would do but I do not think like the Texans front office.
Therefore, I spent a lot of time trying to understand what exactly the Texans will be looking for in the draft and where they might take them.
We all know that the Texans biggest draft need is a cornerback followed by a running back but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will draft them in that order.
Houston is a big fan of "value" and they may not take a player at a need position if they feel they can find a player with better value later on in the rounds.
Don't believe me?
When asked about looking for cornerbacks in the draft, Rick Smith was quoted as saying, “We're not depleted at the position, but you still are looking for impact players whenever you lose a player of his (Robinson's) caliber...You don’t reach because you might need a position.... If the guy can play football, you take the football player at the right value as opposed to maybe reaching for somebody at a need position.”
That sounds to me like my wish for us to draft a corner in the first round and big running back in the second has just about the same chance of happening as a black person being elected President of the United States. Oh wait, that did happen.
Well, I guess it could happen if Joe Haden happens to fall to pick 20 or the Texans think Kyle Wilson is the next Darrelle Revis, but I just don’t think that is the case.
As of right now, Glover Quin and Jacques Reeves are our starting cornerbacks. Brice McCain is the nickel back and Fred Bennett and Antwaun Molden will be competing for playing time.
That really scares me but it seems that the Texans are not going to go for a cornerback in the first round if they think they can get someone who can contribute in the second.
I have been working on this mock draft for over a week and I really feel that this is what the Texans are thinking and what you might see come draft time.
"With the 20th pick, in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Ryan Matthews, running back, Fresno State."
Does anyone else think that it is funny that with one of the most important drafts in Texans history, they are taking a guy from Fresno State?
I'm sure Ryan Mathews will be better than David Carr, but it just kind of scares me that they went to the same college.
Kubiak feels that for the Texans to be successful long-term, they have to be able to run the ball.
Despite some of the playoff teams having a lot of success passing and the league turning into a quarterback's dream, the Texans still believe they need to run the ball to be successful.
I think it has to do with the fact that Kubiak and the Texans rely so much on the play action and that anytime he can give Matt Schaub a clear look at a guy, it is going to be better for our team (that is one thing Matt Schaub has to improve on, his decision making).
We know Kubiak wants to keep his defense off the field and having a great running game helps that objective out a lot.
We also know that Kubiak wants to be able to run the ball in the final minutes of a game when the other team has everyone in the box.
We also know that Kubiak needs a running back that will hold on to the football.
For all those reasons, I have the Texans selecting Ryan Mathews with the first pick.
Rick Smith says he is looking for players that are smart, physical guys with great character and a passion for the game.
That happens to be exactly who Ryan Mathews is.
I also think he will be the highest-rated player left on their board and the Texans will go with the best player available.
There is a chance that Earl Thomas or Maurkice Pouncey could fall to the 20th pick, but I just don't see it happening.
Ryan Mathews is first and foremost exactly who the Texans are looking for.
He is smart, a physical runner, has great character, and a great work ethic.
According to the Fresno State coaching staff, there isn’t a player in this draft that will enter the NFL with higher character and/or a stronger work ethic.
Aside from his intangibles, Mathews could be the best back selected in this draft.
He is a good-sized running back who runs hard and shows a good burst through the hole.
He fits into the Texans' zone blocking scheme because he is a one cut runner that does not waste a lot of time dancing around in the backfield.
He has great upper body strength to stiff arm his way out of a tackle as well as balance on contact to stay on his feet and fight for extra yards.
As bad as the WAC conference is, (Boise State has proven they can compete with the best of them) Mathews still went up against some pretty stiff competition.
In the 2009 season, Mathews faced Wisconsin and Boise State who were both ranked in the top 50 in rush defense.
Wisconsin was a top-five defense against the run and he ran for over 100 yards and averaged 5.6 yards an attempt.
Against Boise State and cornerback Kyle Wilson, Mathews ran for over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns. He ended up with an average of 12.3 yards an attempt.
He is also a reliable runner who is capable of being a starting running back in the NFL. He holds the ball high and tight to his body and has only had three career fumbles despite 535 carries (He didn’t fumble at all his senior year).
Now if it were me, I would much rather take Toby Gerhart in the second or third over Mathews in the first.
He is a much better blocker and I think he would be thunder to Steve Slaton’s lightning. The Texans came up short in short-yardage situations and that's why I would much rather take Toby Gerhart in the second or third round.
The only problem with waiting until the second or third to find someone to fill your running back need is that there is no guarantee that Gerhart or Ben Tate (two backs the Texans would love) are left on the board when you pick.
If the Texans have a chance to get a great back who fits their system perfectly then they will definitely take the sure thing.
Sean Weatherspoon, Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty, Kareem Jackson
"With the 51st pick, in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle, Cal."
I really wanted to pick a cornerback right here but when you look at the guys projected to go in the second round, I just don't see a guy who is a playmaker.
The Texans have stated that the are looking for playmakers and if they decide to pass on a corner in the first round they may wait untill the third or fourth round to fill that need (value).
One of the Texans main problems last year was their inability to get pressure on the quarterback. I know a lot of people are looking for that big defensive tackle but I'm not sure that we need "big" as much as we need "penetration". The Texans were pretty pathetic against the run during the first three games of the season.
However, the remaining 13 games, the Texans were a top five run defense. Also, you got to think that if the Texans can get more pressure on the quarterback, then they won't leave their secondary that vulnerable.
It might be more important to find a player that can create havoc and push the pocket, than to find a cornerback who as a rookie is going to need time to develop.
Tyson Alualu is the man. I'm not even sure that he will be there when the Texans pick but if he is, it would be fantastic.
He actually played defensive end in college but he will transition to the defensive tackle position at the next level. I really like the fact that he played defensive end because you know he has the skill set to get to the quarterback.
Although Alualu doesn't have the greatest size, he is a physical player that packs a lot of power for his size. He can push the pocket as a pass rusher as well as penetrate the line of scrimmage as a run defender.
Although he looks lighter on film than his listed weight, he plays with good strength at the point of attack. He doesn't give up much room and has the quick, strong hands to disengage to make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.
He had 15 career sacks, a bunch of pass deflections at the line of scrimmage, and he even had an interception. Frankly, the man is a playmaker.
Chris Cook, Jon Asamoah, Dominique Franks, Toby Gerhart
"With the 81st pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Myron Lewis, cornerback, Vanderbilt."
I know you are thinking that this is way too late to draft our biggest need and frankly it probably is.
A third round corner will never start? A half safety/half corner back is not a safe pick?
Well maybe not.
Last year, the Texans selected a tweener (Glover Quin) in the 4th round and a speedster (Brice McCain) in the 6th. Now Glover is the best corner on the team and Brice might be the second best.
You also have to understand that if the Texans really believed that cornerback was an area of weakness they would not have let Dunta Robinson go. Now granted they tried to sign one cornerback in free agency but that is it. Basically, they are relying on a corner coming in through the draft.
That is the only reason I see them waiting this long to find their corner. I'm not saying it is what I would do, but what I think the Texans will do based on what I've heard from them.
I can remember Rick Smith talking about value, and not reaching if you need a position. With the draft being deep at corner, it only makes sense that you can get value later in rounds.
I also remember Kubiak saying, “If we find a player we think can have the impact (linebacker Brian) Cushing had last year, I don't think it matters where he plays. If you know you're getting a chance at a kid that can have that type of impact on your team, and you may have a weakness somewhere else, you better take that player, because they don't come along very often.”
Ultimately, the Texans are looking to get more physical and get more playmakers and that sounds like Myron Lewis. Some people have Myron as a fifth round draft pick but he has been moving up draft boards as high as the third round. From what I've read he sounds like a Texans guy.
Myron Lewis is a guy who has ball skills and can make plays. I really like the fact that he has the potential to play safety or cornerback. I think that versatility really helps you as a player. He is able to read and recognize the motive of the receiver and puts himself in position to make plays. He is able to read the action in the backfield and can make a jump on routes.
He is a reliable open-field tackler who can deliver the big hit. I think he would fit in perfectly with this defense. Most importantly he is a physical player and is a great leader.
For his career he has 169 tackles, 10 interceptions, more than 10 TFL, five sacks, and three forced fumbles.
He is a playmaker and steps up the most when he is needed. He had game-winning interceptions against Auburn and Boston College.
Amari Spievey, Ben Tate, Torrell Troup, Jerome Murphy
"With the 118th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Mike Johnson, offensive guard, Alabama."
The Texans got more physical on defense last year with the additions of Bernard Pollard, Brian Cushing, Glover Quin, and Antonio Smith. Kubiak plans to do the same with the offense.
We all remember our tiny line getting manhandled by big defensive lines. That was one of the main reasons we were able to pick up those crucial fourth and ones.
Mike Johnson is a guy that can really help our line immediately. He helped propel Mark Ingram to the Heisman Trophy and should be a productive guard at the next level.
Mike uses excellent hand placement and rarely slips off blocks once locked on. He is a hard worker and always finishes his blocks.
He is quick and masks a lack of ideal body control in space by taking sound angles to second-level blocks. He will be a good fit for our zone blocking blocking scheme because of his skill set.
Although we signed a guard this offseason, I think Mike should be able to sure up our offensive line. Also if we pick up a bigger guard then we can move Caldwell back over to center.
We all remember this play and we would benefit greatly from having the beef up front.
Alterraun Verner, Anthony Dixon, Mike Neal
"With the 150th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Robert Johnson, free safety, Utah."
Safety has been a position of many problems for Houston since their 2002 inception. Eugene Wilson appears to fill that void at times but he never lasts that long. He is great when he is healthy but I don’t know if we can rely on that. In the last four years Wilson has only played 35 games out of a possible 64 due primarily to injuries.
We have to live with going up against Peyton Manning dismantling our defense every year and apparently the Texans are changing their strategy for how to beat him. They want to keep him off the field as much as possible so I think they will look to beef up the offense. However, I wouldn't rely on that for sure and I think the Texans will definitely address this need unless they want John Busing to be on the field again.
Robert Johnson is a solid looking safety. He has good height, track speed, and ball skills. He can make the big hit and is a smart and physical player. He has great length and vertical leap to get after jump balls in the end zone or break up high passes over the middle.
He also plays big in big games which is something the Texans love. He is one of the heroes of Utah's stunning blowout of Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl as he made two interceptions to seal the historic win for the Utes. He also made an interception against California in the bowl game they had this year.
Throughout his career he has 13 career interceptions, 148 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles.
Sounds like a play-making safety to me.
Myron Rolle, Shaun Lauvao, LaGarrette Blount, Ciron Black, John Skelton
"With the 187th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Mike Kafka, quarterback, Northwestern."
I know Matt Schaub just finished a season where he threw for more yards than anyone in the NFL but lets not forget that this was his first season where he played all 16 games.
Think about it. If Matt Schaub goes down this year do you really think we have a chance with Dan Orlovsky. Well we probably won't make the playoffs regardless if Matt Schaub gets injured but we need to start thinking about a back-up plan.
We got rid of Rex this offseason and I think Kubiak will find a quarterback that he can develop and sit and learn behind Matt Schaub.
Kafka is an intelligent quarterback that will definitely be a project at the next level. He has good size, intelligence, mobility and fair accuracy.
As a full-time starter last fall, Kafka turned in a second-team All-Big Ten season, completing about 65 percent of his 492 passes for 3,430 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also ran for 299 yards and eight scores, giving him 891 career rushing yards.
Kafka is versatile with his ability to maneuver in the pocket and make the quick throw. He will take time to develop but he might have the time if Matt Shaub can stay healthy.
David Pender, Andre Dixon, Kavell Connor, Darrell Stuckey
"With the 197th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Stephen Williams, wide receiver, Toledo."
I don't know how many time I have to say that the Texans are looking for playmakers. That is exactly what this guy is.
Stephen Williams had over 3,000 receiving yards and more than 20 touchdowns in his career at Toledo. Now I know you're thinking he was that successful because he was playing against lame competition. I think he made so many touchdowns because of his skill set.
He is a 6' 5 and ran a 4.48 at the combine not to mention he has a 38 inch vertical. This guy can be something special at the next level. He has a great height advantage on most corners and he knows how to use it.
He is great at jumping and catching the ball at its highest point and the Texans sure could use him in the end zone.
Although the Texans had a pretty stellar offense, they are known for not being able to get the ball in the end zone. Williams could add an extra threat in the red zone because you could basically just throw it up and let him go up and catch it.
David Gettis, Simoni Lawrence, Trevard Lindley, John Conner
"With the 227th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Stevenson Syvester, linebacker, Utah."
This is from a scouting report I found online:
"Sylvester runs well for the position and does a nice job dissecting plays in front of him. He showcases good instincts, consistently is able to find the ball and generates good power on contact as a tackler. Sylvester does a nice job breaking down in space and is an efficient open-field tackler. He looks like a guy who could certainly carve out a niche as a weak-side/run-and-hit linebacker at the next level."
This guy is just a great all around player. He can rush the passer, he is good in coverage, he has great range, and is a sure tackler.
I don't know why he is not rated higher but he looks great on film. See for yourself.
Nick Polk, Ben Burney, Bryan McCann