Cushing will need some help if the 3-4 scheme is going to work in Houston.
2010 Record: 6-10 (.375)
Team Needs: CB, S, LB, DL
Matt Schaub has helped turn the perennial bottom-feeder in the AFC South into one of the more potent offenses in the league. But after being predicted to finally break the barrier the past few seasons, the Texans have yet to make any postseason waves.
While Houston is addressing the front seven by switching to a 3-4 defensive front, they still need to shore up the porous secondary or risk handing the division over to the Colts again. These Texans can definitely compete if they get a defense that can slow Peyton Manning down a bit, with the Jaguars wallowing in mediocrity and the Titans in rebuilding mode for the next few years.
To assure the 3-4 transition flows smoothly, the Texans need to draft a solid nose tackle and a more consistent OLB to play opposite Brian Cushing. If they can alleviate these needs in the draft or spend a little money to pick up an established veteran, the Texans defense— which already has Super Mario Williams coming off the line, could be deadly
Unfortunately, the Texans also need a bunch of help over the top in both safety positions as well as in the CB corps.
With few safeties coming out this season, it's doubtful that Patrick Peterson or Price Amukamara will still be hanging around at 11 for the Texans. Their chance to land a dominant tackle in Nick Fairley rests primarily on the decision the Titans make in the eight-spot— The Titans need a lineman, but they also need a QB badly as well.
Where do the Texans go in the draft?
Also not in the Texans' favor is the lack of linebackers available. Akeem Ayers out of UCLA could be a tremendous talent, but isn't projected to go until the late first round. Are the Texans prepared to reach that deep?
Houston has been active in drafts before and with a deep defensive class that will see many good prospects drop into the second round, it may be wise to trade down for some extra picks and help fill the majority of its defensive needs.
It may not be a bad idea to scoop up Ayers and Colorado CB Jimmy Smith or Texas standout CB Aaron Williams, keeping him in his hometown by moving to the bottom of the first round in near consecutive picks.