Happy Draft Day! We’ve all been waiting for this day since...well, since the last regular season game against Jacksonville in Week 17. Some who wrote the season off before that have been waiting even longer.
The wait is over, though, and the 2011 NFL Draft is finally here, commencing tonight with Round One.
There have been a lot of rumors swirling around the Internet about the Houston Texans as with every other team in the final hours before the draft kicks off, but the Texans have been receiving national level attention from draft analysts, which is rare for the team not used to the spotlight.
With the draft getting ready to get started, I thought it might be prudent to lay out a few last minute thoughts about the first round as it pertains to the Texans.
First of all, I think there is still an outside chance that the Texans may move up for Patrick Peterson, but not as likely as I thought yesterday. In the end, I think that the chances are higher that one of the following things happens:
1. The team(s) the Texans are in dialogue with about trading spots will ask too much for Rick Smith.
2. The Texans will get outbid by another team looking to trade up.
3. Peterson will already be off the board (maybe three to Buffalo) before we can trade up.
All of that being said, pay close attention when Cincinnati and Cleveland come on the clock if Peterson is still there. I think these are by far the most likely trade partners for the Texans. If Peterson gets past Arizona at five, it becomes much more of a possibility.
If the Texans choose not to trade up, the best option by far is trading down. There is so much talent in the second and third rounds of this draft at positions of need for the Texans, most notably outside linebacker and defensive back. Smith has shown adeptness at moving down, so don’t put it past him.
If there are no trades to be made, up or down, I think the pick is going to be Aldon Smith, the defensive end conversion project from Missouri. I hated this idea until just recently, when I heard an interview of NFL films employee Greg Cosell by Lance Zierlein.
He pointed out that Wade Phillips’ defense is essentially a 4-3 under defense like the one that the Texans ran last year, but the fact that the WOLB rushes from the standing position categorizes it as a 3-4.
Cosell pointed out that DeMarcus Ware, who played WOLB in Wade’s Cowboys defense, always lined up over the weak side edge, or the side without the tight end, and he rushed almost 80 percent of the time. In this role, I could see Smith doing well with his length and athleticism.
I still have lingering doubts about Smith’s edge rushing ability, but if Wade Phillips, the first real defensive coordinator that the Texans have ever had in my opinion, thinks that Smith can excel in that role, who are we to argue?
What do you think, though? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below, and hit me up during the draft with comments or questions on twitter (@JakeBRB).