Filling the voids. I bet you'd like that, huh? Get it in there, nice an' deep like. No, wait, no, not what I meant. I haven't even seen the new Indiana Jones movie! I don't even mean filling the huge void left by the collapse of Dunta's puffed up ego, or even BFD's appetite for Filipino tranny pr0n, which is an abyss comparable to the space representative of Chris Johnson's inability to think coherent thoughts or perhaps the place where Al Davis currently keeps his sanity. Nope, this time we are talking about the Texans. They are who we thought they were, which was a great offensive team hampered by a garbage secondary and by lacking a strong nose tackle presence.
Wait. We've been here before. Oh ya! Last year, and the year before that. Yup, and the year before that one too. I predict, nay, I proclaim, that this shall be the year our benevolent dictator Rick Smith takes us to the promised land of drafting talent to fill our needs. Please Rick, do it for the kids.
Today we are gonna take a look a first and a few second round safety prospects. We are looking at first and second round safety prospects because, I swear to Durga and all that anyone else considers holy, if we take a late round flier at safety, the piercing vile screams you hear as the physical manifestations of hate and rage explode from my body and fly to Houston to torment and then subsequently eviscerate Rick Smith in public will be nothing compared to the ensuing aftermath. Think Dogma church scene, plus Pitch Black, plus Constantine, with a little bit of that one movie where Arnold impales himself on the statue of the sword to get away from the demon. Something along those lines. Ahem. Anyways, your potential 2010 safety prospects follow.
Eric Berry, Tennessee
I hear the name, and my knees tremble a bit. Eric Berry is probably the best safety prospect since Ed Reed. 5'11, 203, and probably going to run a 4.3 at the combine, he is one of the most statistically dominant players in the NCAA. Compared to Ed Reed, but faster, he is a guaranteed top 5 lock. He just turned 21 in December, and he has already won -
(copy pasted from his wikipedia )
Fantastic ball skills. Great hands. Phenomenal return ability. Plays great deep or can man up over receivers and excel. Will come down hill and knock you out. Leader on the field. I know it seems a little much, but he is that good. This kid has it all. He is probably the top talent available in this draft, and basically a guaranteed top 5 pick. You're thinking, "Well, the Texans are picking 20th, what is our interest here?" Our interest here, folks, is that this kid is worth trading up for. I'm generally not a big fan of trading up, and even with our troubles at DT, CB1 and 2, WLB, interior offensive line, and RB, Eric Berry is worth it. Eric Berry plus Bernard Pollard playing the way he did this season would be a force to be reckoned with.
For your viewing pleasure.
Earl Thomas, Texas
This beast of a safety from Texas is projected as a late first round pick, which puts him in our draft range. I'm pretty sure the only reason he is not a top ten pick is his small frame. At 5'10, 200 lbs, he is slightly smaller that what you want, but his production and skills make up for it in my mind. Great speed and great instincts, he closes on receivers quickly and eliminates space, preventing YAC. He comes down hill and is solid in run support. Not as fast as Berry but still very fast. Other than his size, some of his biggest set backs have been him getting excited and going for the big hit as opposed to the sure tackle. Great upside and great talent, he would be very worthy of the 20th pick in the draft.
Taylor Mays, USC
Taylor Mays is an athletic freak. At 6'4, 225, running a 4.4, he is almost a guarantee to the Raiders, as Al Davis is obsessed with height, weight, and 40 time. Mays is a big hitter, coming down hill and more than willing to stick his nose into contact. He causes quite a few drops by hitting you really, really hard. If Texans scouts are any good, he will NOT be a Texan come April.
Wait, whaa? Yeah, you heard me. The kid has no ball skills. He will never make it as a free safety in the NFL unless something magical happen between the draft and the field. He's not very instinctive in coverage. Mays isn't a good tackler, almost always going for the big hit instead of the sure tackle. In the last three seasons, he has only one forced fumble and two interceptions. For someone with incredible size and speed, he should be able to create more turnovers than that. I am not a big fan, but he is a 1st/2nd round talent, so keep your eyes open.
Other than those three, there are a couple late second round, early third round-ish safeties available that we will gloss over pretty quickly.
Chad Jones, LSU
At 6'3, 220, and running a 4.6, Jones is a big strong (strong) safety. 2nd Team All-SEC in the AP and Coaches poll, he has good return skills, to go along with good tackling. A big hitter, and solid over the top, he does struggle a bit in man to man coverage. Will be a 2nd or 3rd round pick and will probably become a pretty good strong safety in the NFL.
Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech
Morgan Burnett is a solid free safety for the Yellow Jackets. 11 INT's over the last 2 years, he has good ball skills and good hands. At 6'1, 210, he is sized to play both free safety or strong safety. Better natural instincts than a lot of players, he is simply not that polished coming out. A ton of upside for this kid, but you just have to be aware you aren't drafting a finished product. I would be happy with Burnett if we got Williams/Cody/Haden in the first round.
This is a basic preview of who might be a Texan this upcoming April. Any questions, arguments, obscenities, threats? What do y'all think of these kids? And what do you want to see next?