2011 NFL Draft: Houston Won't Trade With Denver To Pick Patrick Peterson
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The Houston Texans gave up 267.5 passing yards per game during the 2010 season.
That was dead last in the league and almost 100 yards per game more than the team ranked first (The San Diego Chargers gave up 177.8 yards per game). Subsequently the team were 23rd in the league in sacks as opposing quarterbacks didn't need much time to find an open receiver.
The fact that Mario Williams only had eight and a half sacks for the season is startling. That total was recorded in only 13 games but with the amount of talent that Williams possesses it is still considered an underwhelming season.
In fact Williams hasn't hit double digit sacks since the 2008 season. You can't let a player with the physical tools to take over a football game suffer like this. Just ask new defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips about the importance of getting the best out of not-so-super Mario, "Your best players, you have to feature them and you have to try and put them in situations to succeed...When you have a great one, you try to utilize their ability."
Why have I started off an article about Patrick Peterson's prospects of landing in Houston talking about Mario Williams? It's simple.
The reasoning why the Texans won't trade up to the second overall pick and select Patrick Peterson has very little to do with Peterson himself. In fact he fills a glaring need. One of many glaring needs
The biggest problem for the Texans is that they need as many of their draft picks as possible to fix the defense on a number of levels.
Mario Williams' struggles are reflective of the two biggest problems the defense faces overall.
Firstly there is no Robin to his Batman, no Woodley to his Harrison, no Mathis to his Freeney...You get the idea. The Texans need a second pass rushing threat to stop offenses keying in on Williams.
Secondly the coverage is just plain awful.
There is no doubt that the team needs another addition, or two, in the secondary. They lost previous starting corner Dunta Robinson in free agency before last season. Robinson looked like a liability in Atlanta (Which makes you think that maybe he only looked so good in Houston because of how bad his teammates were?).
Kareem Jackson was drafted 20th overall in last season's draft as his replacement. Jackson didn't exactly compel himself to Texans fans as he struggled for most of the season.
It is too early to judge Jackson as all rookies struggle to some degree. Not many people outside of Green Bay will know that Tramon Williams was almost into his fourth season before he became a starter for the Packers. Now he is a play making sensation with a Super Bowl ring.
Williams didn't play a single snap during his rookie season before starting one game in his sophomore season. The Packers had the luxury of grooming him behind starters Al Harris and Charles Woodson—A luxury that the Texans do not have.
While it is much too early for the team to give up on Kareem Jackson. What should be worrying for the Texans is the fact that when he struggled there was nobody reliable enough to come in and take his place.
This is a major reason why the team cannot trade up to draft Patrick Peterson.
Consider the fact that they would need to move up from nine places to second in the draft order. Their first, second and third round selections would probably not even suffice for that sort of jump.
The Texans have too many needs on defense to give up that many pieces never mind anything else on top of that.
Under Wade Phillips the team is transitioning from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 scheme. As I already alluded to the team needs to find a better compliment to Williams' blitzing in the front seven. There is a hope, rather than expectation, that Connor Barwin can bring that much needed fire up front.
Retooling the defense doesn't stop there. Depending on what Phillips decides to do with Cushing, apparently he will be tested as an inside backer first, they will either need another middle linebacker or outside linebacker. Cushing is likely to stay inside which means that Jesse Nading will be pencilled in on the outside.
Should the Texans trade places with Denver in the draft?
Nading was a defensive end in college. He has never put up impressive sack totals, even in college, while most defensive ends struggle in coverage when transitioning to outside linebacker. This would give the team two untested former defensive lineman playing outside linebacker.
Taking a defensive lineman's hand from the ground and putting him on the outside is not an easy move for any player. The Pittsburgh Steelers are probably the best at doing this but even they don't have a great ratio. For every LaMarr Woodley there is a Bruce Davis (who? you ask..exactly) while James Harrison took years to actually perfect the position.
Not to mention the fact that the team doesn't yet have a defensive tackle big enough to play nose tackle. Phillips' defense doesn't use the typical Vince Wilfork type of gap plugging defensive tackle that most 3-4 teams use. Jay Ratliff was the starter in Dallas for Phillips and he isn't exactly small.
Standing at 315 pounds Amobi Okoye should be first in line to take over that position. Texans fans won't exactly be excited to hear that Okoye is set to take on an even more important role in the team. He has to this point in his career flattered to deceive with his play.
Realistically the Texans will need to draft a defensive tackle for their new defensive scheme. Paul Soliai was the only realistic option for the Texans to pursue in free agency before he signed his franchise tender to stay with the Dolphins.
Patrick Peterson won't solve all of the Texans' defensive problems and the price to trade with Denver would be too great for them to get a deal done.
Even if the Texans do decide to break the bank and offer the Broncos everything for Peterson, why would the Broncos accept?
The Broncos need to retool their own defense.
New head coach John Fox will likely want a staple for that defense and to assure himself of a marquee draft choice he won't want to drop the team further than Tennessee's number eight spot. The Texans' choice at 11 would be worthless to the Broncos unless someone like Nick Fairley slides, which isn't totally out of the question considering the concerns over his attitude but nonetheless remains a long shot.
Patrick Peterson may end up in Houston but he will need to fall to at least sixth in the draft.
It would cost the Texans too much to move into the top five while Peterson won't be available after the sixth selection. The 49ers will jump at the chance to sign him while Cleveland is in an ideal position to trade down.
For any feedback, article updates or to simply talk sports, I am tweeting @Cianaf
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