NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans Select Clemson RB C.J. Spiller

James WilliamsonSenior Writer IApril 13, 2010

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Running back C. J. Spiller #28 of the Clemson Tigers rushes upfield against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the 2009 ACC Football Championship Game December 5, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are a franchise that had mountain ranges to cross from day one really. They come into a city that is tired of losing. They had been a horribly snakebitten city when the Oilers were there.

Then Bud Adams moves the Oilers to Tennessee and they become the Titans. I've been a Texan all my life, so I can actually speak to the environment and football culture here.

The Texans have been trying to dig out of a giant hole since they were started. The town I live in has a very good population, and when I go to the clothing stores to the sports apparel section; I see A&M shirts, UT Longhorn caps, Texas Tech toy helmets, and Dallas Cowboys jerseys.

Yet, I cannot recall seeing any Texans material at all. The main reason is because they don't sell. Texas is pretty much all Dallas Cowboys fans or isn't interested in football. While the Cowboys are on my television every Sunday regardless of where I am; the Texans are not always on.

There is very little interest in the Texans outside of Houston and even Houston is divided.

When the NFL gave Houston the Texans, they made the huge screw-up of putting the team in the AFC South that also has the Titans.

Many fans here still hold allegiance to the Titans because of the past. It doesn't help that the old coach of the Oilers is still the coach. Jeff Fisher has been there 15 years and that just makes it harder for Houston people to embrace the new franchise.

The Texans also had a terrible start with David Carr as the first draft pick ever. He set records for most sacks taken by quarterback with 76 in his rookie season. The team had no linemen to protect him, and it went down the hill from there.

They just now figured out how to do things right.

They now have a stronger defense with Pro Bowlers Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans, and Mario Williams.

On offense, they have the number one passing team with Pro Bowlers Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and wide receiver and other great players like Owen Daniels at tight end and Kevin Walter as an alternate receiver.

They've lost Dunta Robinson to free agency, so cornerback is an option at this pick, but I believe, as does Houston Chronicle writer, John McClain, that running back is at the top of the list now.

They ranked 30th in yards rushing this past year, so they've had constant problems at running back. Ahman Green was a bust, Steve Slaton has been struggling beyond belief, Ron Dayne was another bust, and Ryan Moats and Arian Foster are not my picks to be starting this next season.

Texans need to take the best running back available and that guy is after about an hour of wearing my eyes staring at film, I’m going to pick C.J. Spiller of Clemson.

My gut says Jahvid Best of California, but when I reviewed the film, I realized that he was more of an east-west runner, and I think the Texans need a guy who can do it all.

A guy who is not afraid to pound through the line as well as bounce outside is the perfect description of C.J. Spiller. He’s got great speed as shown by his 4.37 40 time at the combine. He’s a tremendously explosive player.

He’s probably the most explosive offensive player in the draft as shown by his threat in the kicking game.

He’s taken back seven kickoffs and one punt back for touchdowns, and he took five of those back just this year. His career totals are 2,052 kick return yards on 74 returns. That’s an average of 27.72 yards per kick return. He also had 569 punt return yards on 87 returns for 6.54 yards per punt return.

This guy is a guy who when he is in the open field, he’s a dangerous weapon. The Texans need a guy like that for their team.

His signature return was against Maryland where he’s taking a kick back inside the five minute mark of the third quarter. He runs out to the 27 yard line and gets popped, but drags the guy past the 35; two more Terps dive toward him to help bring him down, and he manages to wiggle out and runs the kick back for a touchdown.

The return game though is a bonus. This young man is a real threat at running back. He ran the ball 216 times this season for 1,212 yards. That’s 5.6 yards per carry, and he had 12 touchdowns to go with it.

His career totals are 606 rushing attempts, 3,547 rushing yards for a 5.8 average, and 32 touchdowns.

Awesome career for a player from Clemson, no question about that. I took a look at the film to analyze his style. He’s got great speed to compliment his willingness to be physical, so he’ll run up the middle and fight for yardage. I like how he can go out of the backfield and catch a deep pass like a wideout, so he’s versatile and is not afraid to help out in pass protection which is key for an offense like the Texans.

His feet are quick. They are the quickest though like Jahvid Best, but he can juke and make people miss. He likes to take the sweeps and go outside and try to get around the corner to daylight with his speed. Very good at doing that in college, but the NFL is the NFL.

The Texans need to really evaluate this pick because I’m not too entirely sold on C.J. Spiller and they could use a defensive tackle or cornerback.

If I’m the Texans, I’m watching to see if anyone drops and look to possibly trade up to get a player like Kyle Wilson or Joe Haden or Dan Williams.

But, if they stay at this pick, then according to who is left on the board by my mock, I believe Spiller should be the guy to go with.


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