PALO ALTO CA - NOVEMBER 27: Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers loses his helmet as he tackles Tyler Gaffney #25 of the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 27 2010 in Palo Alto California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Before the Scouting Combine, possibilities for what prospects will be drafted by what team vary greatly. This time of year, as players start to complete their last workouts at their pro days, the clamor of draftniks with different theories becomes more and more a voice of unison. You will start to see more mock drafts that look like everyone else's in greater frequency all the way until the last week of April.
Mock drafts are usually bittersweet for me this time of year because I have one, maybe two, prospects that I not only hope fall to the Houston Texans at their draft slot, but that the Texans also take said player(s). This year is different, because while there are a couple of players that are possibilities at 11, there are a handful of prospects that I would be thrilled to see in a Steel Blue uniform next season. For links on those mock drafts and some of the players that are possibilities, follow the jump.
Nick Scurfield at the official site compiled the statistics of 15 mock drafts in order to try and determine who might be available at the 11th slot. He plans on doing several of these and invites a guest to each edition to make the pick for the Texans. This edition it was Mark Vandermeer, voice of the Texans on Sports Radio 610. Vandermeer picked UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn, who I'd be ecstatic with.
Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft completed a two round mock draft as well. Here's round one, in which he has the Texans selecting Missouri DE/OLB Aldon Smith, and here's round two, where he has the Texans selecting Utah CB Brandon Burton. I'd be ok with Smith as long as the Texans do their homework. Smith came back freakishly fast from a broken leg and many people believe that he was still greatly affected by the injury at the end of the year. If he can regain the burst he showed as a freshman when he had 11.5 sacks, it's a good pick. I'm not as jazzed about the Burton pick, simply because of who was available around him; namely Oregon State DT Stephen Paea, who Kadar had picked with the next selection.
Speaking of Paea, Aaron Aloysius posted a new prospect video of the former Oregon St. defensive tackle. If you don't follow Aaron (@AaronAloysius), you should.
Another prospect I like for the first round is CAL DE Cameron Jordan. Wes Bunting also likes the Senior Bowl standout, and thinks his versatility for a 3-4 defense is unmatched. While 5-technique isn't a huge position of need, I think that Wade Phillips could make Jordan a force opposite of Mario Williams.
If something other than an OLB is taken in round one, the Texans will quickly have to consider one in round two or three at the latest. Chris Watkins quickly discussed some of the options for OLB in the second round. I myself have a few to add, and I'll try to have that up later today. Spoiler: Watch out for Dontay Moch.
One way to take advantage of some of the talent in the second round would be to trade down in the first. John Hallam crunched the numbers on if that is an effective use of picks judging from rates of players turning into stars, starters or busts at different spots in past drafts.
Amobi Okoye hasn't lived up to his tenth overall selection yet, but he has done great work with the money that he got for being picked that early. Every year, Okoye goes to his native country of Nigeria to do charity work through his Amobi Okoye Foundation. This year Connor Barwin accompanied him to hold a football camp for youth in the country. Check out the video.
Teams are always looking for diamonds in the rough either late in the draft or with undrafted free agents, even though this year there will be no signings until after the CBA is settled. The Texans reportedly worked out two defensive backs from Central Michigan, Vince Agnew and Bobby Seay.
*Thanks to Alan Burge, who's Twitter account (@AlanBurge) I got the last two links from.