SAN FRANCISCO CA - JANUARY 09: Dontay Moch #55 and Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Wolf Pack hold up the trophy after they beat Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9 2011 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
In years past, draft season wasn't necessarily fun for Houston Texans fans. As a draft guy, you could analyze all the prospects you wanted and hypothesize about who would fit great into our system, but in the end you remembered that the Texans were predictable and all of your prognosticating (read: wishing) was for nothing. Every year it seemed that the Texans had zeroed in on a position before the draft, and sometimes a particular player, and however you tried to change it with your wishing, what is going to happen is going to happen.
This was the case in 2009. Everyone had shoehorned Brian Cushing to the Texans with the 15th pick. I and several other writers tried to explain why this wasn't going to happen, and then inevitably, it happened. I'm not bringing that up to rekindle the Cushing debate, I bring it up as a prime example of the phenomenon I mentioned above. I don't think anyone saw Kareem Jackson coming last year, but everyone pretty much knew it would be a cornerback, despite John McClain claiming it would be
Ryan Mathews Devin McCourty.
This year is different. Between an incredibly deep defensive draft class, where we pick and a new guy calling the shots for defense, anything could happen this year. I know several people that prescribe to the "seeing is believing" mentality when it comes to drafting outside the Texans box, but I believe that the fresh injection of Wade Phillips and the desperation of Kubiak and Smith possibly losing their jobs will make this year different. The possibilities, for once, are numerous. So who are those possibilities? Follow the jump for the daily links.
One very slight possibility is Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. Yesterday, Lance Zierlein said that it was so unlikely that he falls to 11 that he didn't even want to discuss it. Doug Farrar, however, wrote his first mock draft and that's exactly what he sees happening.
John McClain has been beating the "trade up for Miller" drum since the Senior Bowl. He's broadened his horizons and now thinks the Texans are zeroing in on Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara. He hasn't completely changed his tune, as he thinks the Texans will have to and should trade up to get the Nebraska defensive back.
Lance Zierlein wrote yesterday about the most significant Combine events thus far. Headlining his post was Nevada DE/OLB Dontay Moch, who Lance believes is a second-round pick after running a 4.44 40 and generally wowing during drills and events yesterday. I will have more to say about Moch soon.
Daniel Charles posted his latest installment to SB Nation Houston's draft thread, in which he discusses the Texans meeting with Arkansas tight end DJ Williams and Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson. Please, I implore you to avoid the obvious tight end joke and focus on the fact the Wilson would be a great pickup in the second round if he lasted that long because of his athleticism and versatility (he played ILB in college but is projected by many as an OLB in the NFL).
Diehard Chris fielded questions pertaining to the draft, free agency and... (sigh)... trading Mario Williams. He also discusses Kris Jenkins, who was released by the Jets. I remember watching Jenkins dominate Chris Myers and every other interior lineman in 2009 before he was hurt, but I think the writing is on the wall for the defensive tackle, who finds himself on the wrong side of 30. As nice as it would be to have a veteran nose tackle on the roster before the draft as a backup plan, I don't think Jenkins is the answer.
Barret Walton noted that a couple of Wade Phillips' former players are being released from the Cowboys, and wonders whether the Texans will make a run at Gerald Sensabaugh and/or Marcus Spears. I personally remember the last time we signed a free agent defensive back from the Cowboys, and that didn't work out so well, although you could make the case that Jacques Reeves shouldn't have been cut.
The lack of free agency has made this year's draft different than any other. Patrick from the Texans Tribune discusses why that is so and what the implications might be for draft strategy.
The Texans have many potential free agents, especially if the new CBA (whenever that comes) goes back to players becoming unrestricted free agents after 4 years versus the 6 years that they currently have to serve. Rick Smith has begun discussions with several of their potential free agents, but no deals are looming, says John McClain.
Vonta Leach is one of the more prominent free agents that the Texans have, and as Alan Burge notes, Leach had his knee scoped recently. Burge also writes about the Texans potential free agents in more depth.