2012 NFL Draft: Houston Texans Latest News, Rumors and Storylines

Matt Goldstein@mattgoldstein5Contributor IIApril 15, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Houston Texans Latest News, Rumors and Storylines

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    As the Houston Texans inch closer and closer to the NFL draft, they must begin to fully figure out what positions they want to address in the draft, and what players they want above all others.

    In order for the Texans to improve their chances of winning the Super Bowl, they must make the right picks in the right situations, and they need to make sure they effectively fill the holes in their depth chart.

    Should the Texans trade up in the draft to get a player they really want or should they remain content with what they have? The Texans must make the right decisions.

    If they are going to address their wide receiver need in the first round, which one should they take? Stephen Hill is certainly a freak of nature, but is Kendall Wright more reliable? Or, should the Texans take Coby Fleener, a player that reminds many of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski?

    Also, have the Texans attended Pro Days for any stud prospects?

    Read, and find out.

Pro Days and Individual Workouts

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    The Houston Texans are one of the few teams who do not usually attend pro day or host individual workouts for players that they will draft in the first round. Last year, the Texans did not go to Wisconsin's pro day, nor did they invite J.J. Watt to a workout before the draft. This list from profootballtalk.nbcsports.com exemplifies the fact that the Texans are not putting much emphasis on meeting with their potential first-round draftees. 

    There are a few exceptions to this, and their are some players that the Texans visited who might be an early-round pick. Expect the Texans to have interest in some of these players in the upcoming draft.

    1st/2nd Round

    Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

    Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

    2nd/3rd Round

    Mychal Kendricks, LB, California

    3rd/4th Round

    Brandon Brooks, OL, Miami-Ohio

    Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia

    Derek Wolfe, DL, Cincinnati

    Brandon Hardin, FS, Oregon State

    Ron Brooks, CB, LSU

    George Iloka, S, Boise State

    4th/5th Round

    Donnie Fletcher, DB, Boston College

    5th/6th Round

    Tavon Wilson, SS, Illinois

    6th/7th Round/UDFA

    Mario Louis, WR, Grambling State

    Ronnie Cameron, DT, Old Dominion

    Lionel Smith, DB, Texas A&M

    Desmond Morrow, DB, Toledo

    Jeremy Lane, DB, Northwestern State

    Kelcie McCray, S, Arkansas State

    Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M

Trade Rumors and Speculation

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    When the Houston Texans select their first-round pick, many expect and hope the player to be a dangerous receiving threat. Of these receiving threats, three stand out as players that can make an impact for the Texans right away: Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill and Coby Fleener. If the Texans are able to draft any of these players, the offense will be much improved heading into next season.

    The only problem is that the Texans will not be the only team looking to add one of these players. There is a very likely possibility that all three of these potential Texans could be gone before the 26th pick.

    Therefore, if the Texans are intent on drafting one of these players, they would have to trade up in the draft. Now, the obvious question arises, is it worth it?

    Say the Texans were steadfast in drafting Kendall Wright, and the Chicago Bears were planning on taking him with their 19th overall pick. In order for the Texans to trade up to the Bears' pick, they would have to give away their first rounder, third rounder and possibly a sixth or seventh round pick as well.

    If the Texans were to do this trade, it would hurt them more than it would help them. The Texans do not have the greatest depth right now due to their free agency losses, and they must focus on improving their team as a whole, not at one position. The Texans need to draft depth in this draft, not give it away. 

    The Texans have many needs they must address in the draft, and any trade that includes them giving away picks will most likely be a harmful one.

    The rumors discussed in this slide are purely speculation

Kendall Wright vs. Stephen Hill

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    Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill are both outstanding wide receivers, and they could both be a huge part of the Texans' offense. The great debate, however, is which one will be a more valuable pick?

    Stephen Hill brings a tremendous upside to the table. He's big, strong, and incredibly fast. He has the potential to become a superstar in the NFL if he could hone his skills. The only problem with Hill, though, is that he does have many areas to improve in.

    Hill struggles with catching the ball, and his route running ability is not very polished. One could attribute this to the offense that Georgia Tech ran, where the wide receiver position was rarely utilized. Hill became rusty because he would not get thrown to very often, and he would drop easy passes. Georgia Tech also never had him run any complex routes, usually just screen passes and go-routes. Therefore, Hill never got the chance to really work on his route running, and it remains to be seen if he can become an experienced route runner.

    Kendall Wright, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Stephen Hill. He is a very polished route runner, and one of the strengths of his game is being a reliable pass-catcher. Wright is small for the receiver position, but his speed and skills allow him to overcome his size. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands, and he can become a play-maker in the NFL. 

    Wright is better suited for the Texans' offense. He can be a great compliment to Andre Johnson in the slot, and he can give the Texans' passing game some consistency. The Texans' offense requires its receivers to run perfect routes, and Wright could certainly do that. Hill, however, may struggle in being successful in the Texans' scheme.

    Furthermore, the Texans are lacking a receiver who can contribute from the slot position. Wright is a pure slot receiver, while Hill has to play from the outside. Wright will be much more successful in the Texans' offense, and Houston must take him if they were to decide between him and Hill.

On Drafting Coby Fleener

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    If Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill were to be drafted before the Texans pick, then Coby Fleener from Stanford would be the next best option. Fleener, actually, might be an even better option than Hill or Wright.

    The Texans lost Joel Dreesen in free agency this offseason, a scoring machine that caught six touchdowns in the red zone. Dreesen was essential to the Texans' red-zone offense, and the loss of him will certainly hurt.

    Enter Coby Fleener, a complete tight end who could very well surpass Dreesen's positive impact on the Texans in just his rookie season. Fleener is a receiver in a tight end's body. At 6'6" and 247 pounds, Fleener runs an incredible 4.45 forty yard dash time. He is a freak athlete that is just as accomplished athletically as he is in his skills. He runs great routes, and he is a very reliable pass-catcher. 

    Fleener will be much more than just a red zone weapon for the Texans. He can become a premier receiving tight end in the NFL, and he should easily be able to step in for Owen Daniels should he succumb to injury.

    Furthermore, Fleener is a very skilled blocker. In Stanford's power-running offensive scheme, every single player had to be an effective run-blocker. Fleener was no exception, and he can easily fit into the Texans' offense, where blocking is extremely important.

    Coby Fleener is a great tight end, and he would be a perfect fit for the Texans at the 26th pick. The Texans should draft Fleener over Wright and Hill if they have the opportunity to do so.

Where Should the Texans Draft a Cornerback?

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    No where on the Texans' defense is an upgraded needed more than at the cornerback position. With the unreliable Kareem Jackson starting, the Texans weakest position on its defense is clearly at cornerback. 

    Also, the Texans lost Jason Allen in free agency this offseason; a security blanket for Jackson. Allen had four interceptions and was able to step in for Jackson whenever he began to struggle. Now, without Allen and no other viable backup behind Jackson, the cornerback position also has the worse depth on the Texans defense.

    As the draft comes closer and closer, it has become apparent that the Texans must draft a cornerback. The only question is when should the Texans draft one? In order for the Texans to fill this depth problem effectively, and also possibly find a replacement for Jackson, they must draft a cornerback early. 

    There are a multitude of high-quality cornerbacks in the draft, and many of them will be off the draft board early. The Texans must pick a corner with their second round pick, as most of the best corners will be gone by the third. The Texans, however, could wait till the third round to find a quality corner. But it would be risky to wait that long, considering how desperate the Texans are for one. 

    In the second round, the Texans can draft guys like Stephen Gilmore, Jayron Hosley, Josh Robinson and Casey Hayward. All of these guys can provide quality depth for the Texans, and they might even be able to start over Jackson after they get some experience. 

    The Texans need to address their cornerback need, and they must do it early in order for them to find a solution to their problem.

Should the Texans Draft a Fullback?

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    When the Texans cut Lawrence Vickers this offseason, they were left with a glaring need at the fullback position. They still have the starter from last year, James Casey, but he will have to assume more of a tight end role this season due to the loss of Joel Dreesen in free agency. Also, Vickers was the primary fullback for power running situations, as Casey was not that effective in short-yardage formations.

    The Texans have also lost two of their offensive linemen in free agency, and Houston needs players who can efficiently block for Arian Foster. The Texans, however, have many needs they must fill, and it might not be wise to spend a pick on a fullback. In this draft, the Texans must address their needs at wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, outside linebacker, offensive line and nose tackle. If the Texans were to pick a fullback, it would hinder them from being able to draft one of their more dire needs.

    There is no doubt that the Texans need a fullback, so lets examine if there is an undrafted free agent who could effectively fill in for Vickers. Out of Northwestern, Drake Dunsmore could be a very productive lead-blocker in the NFL. Furthermore, Dunsmore has the potential to go undrafted. Although it is a long-shot, Cody Johnson from Texas could also be another fullback who might not be drafted.

    The other fullbacks behind Dunsmore and Johnson are nowhere near as talented, and it would be extremely risky to pick one of them up as UDFA. Therefore, if there is any reason to believe that Johnson and Dunsmore will certainly be drafted, then the Texans must pick one of them and address one of their other needs in the undrafted free agency market. 

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