ATHENS GA - NOVEMBER 27: Justin Houston #42 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after returning a fumble for a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27 2010 in Athens Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
After a one day absence, I've been cleared by the trainers and am back in the game. I want to thank Kerns for filling in on Friday. The offseason has been quiet so far, and in what I can only guess was an effort to keep your Houston Texans in the news, General Manager Rick Smith did a radio interview on Friday to discuss the team. He claimed that DeMeco Ryans is just fine, and as Alan Burge noted, he said that this is his first time personally dealing with personnel issues pertaining to a 3-4 defensive scheme. As Burge correctly pointed out, this just means that Wade Phillips will be picking his own defensive players in the draft and free agency.
I personally see this as a good thing. The Texans' track record for evaluating defensive personnel speaks for itself. Brian Cushing, Ryans and Mario Williams have all been nice picks, but the first round is scrutinized so heavily because you're supposed to be successful. Effective GMs make their money on days two and three of the draft, something that Smith has failed to do. Again, I don't like how this system of Wade running the defense along with player acquisition for that side of the ball came to be, but I truly believe that it will be a case of a broken clock being right twice a day sort of thing. Apparently, as Diehard Chris points out, the scouts don't know 3-4 players either. Now that I can't spin. So who will Phillips be eyeing for his new defense? Follow the jump for the daily links.
First off, Wade is going to have to evaluate what holes he wants to fill and what the priorities are. Paul Kuharsky breaks down Football Outsiders' take on the needs of the AFC South to include the Texans, and puts his spin on it.
The Texans will have to strategize a lot in order to be successful next year as they do not know whether they will play a shortened season or the new 18 game "enhanced" season. Stephanie Stradley breaks down how it should be done.
This month at the Scouting Combine, much will be made of individual workouts performed by potential draftees. Rob Rang points out that the most overlooked process of the combine is the team interviews, and highlights 15 players that need to make a good impression. On that list is defensive tackles Phil Taylor, Kenrick Ellis and Marvin Austin, all of whom the Texans may be eyeing.
Wes Bunting is one of the best draftniks in the business, and he recently published his first mock draft on Friday. He has the Texans picking Alabama's Marcell Dareus, who will likely play the five technique at the next level if he gets drafted by a 3-4 team. I'm not sure why, but I'm not entirely in love with this pick. Even though he obviously has talent, he wasn't a difference maker this season after losing key supporting cast members like Terrance Cody. Dareus also has a rough past and has had people question his work ethic. I need to get smarter on him, as a lot of people are starting to discuss him slipping out of the top 10, but for right now my gut isn't happy with this pick.
Alan Burge also continued his draft watch series with analysis of Georgia OLB Justin Houston. Aaron Aloysius of Draft Breakdown did a tale of the tape piece on Houston this weekend in which he included game footage from three separate games. Aaron believes Houston played better with his hand in the dirt, and after watching the game footage I have to say that I didn't see much that would make him warrant a first round pick, much less a high one.
By the way, we will have an interview with Aaron up later today. Stay tuned.