Lay it out here for all the world to see. Be reasonable on who is going to be available during each pick, and don't engage in any
ridiculous trades. Now, let the hate flow:
Yea, I went there. I'm banking on Quinn and Prince both being off the board at this point. With my fear that Mario will test free agency next year, the Texans will be in need of a new 5-tech. Jordan is intriguing as well given his experience in the 3-4, but since he'll be part of a rotation in 2011, I'm not afraid to take a more developmental player in Watt. He's a solid pass-rusher for a guy his size, plays stout against the run, and has a knack for batting down passes at the line. But there's no more I can do to convince you, so, in the words of Fidel Castro, la historia me absolverá.
2) Ras-I Dowling -- CB, Virginia
Nobody is sure who will be available here; odds are, Brandon Harris and Aaron Williams will be gone. Rahim Moore could be off the board as well. There's a lot of LB talent available that probably won't be there any more in the third, but I couldn't come out of this draft without one of the better DBs. Were it not for his injury-riddled 2010 season, Ras-I would be a surefire first-round pick. His measurables are solid and his college resume is as good as any CB in the draft. He's excellent against the run, knows how to jam at the line, and plays tight coverage on slants and short routes. If the injuries linger, he might have trouble keeping up with speedy receivers deep, but if he can get healthy, he might just be the second-best CB in this draft.
3) Marcus Gilchrist -- FS/KR -- Clemson
Gilchrist is a project, a gamble, and probably a one-round reach at this point. That said, I've seen him go late in the third before, and I wouldn't risk losing him. He'd be an immediate contributor on special teams (having returned kicks and punts in college), and could turn into a serviceable free safety in a year or two.
4) Shiloh Keo -- SS/PR, Idaho
Keo is a high-motor, combine-crushing Samoan. I couldn't pass on those three attributes. There wasn't another DB at the combine who looked as fluid and polished coming out of his backpedal as Keo. Whatever top-end speed he might lack (4.70 40-meter), he makes up for with his ability to change directions seemlessly. He'll need to work on his tackling technique lest he be a liability against the run, but he's a hard-worker, an athlete, and he'll play special teams. He might not be a long-term starter in this league, but there's always gonna be a place for him.
5) Alex Henery -- K/P, Nebraska
This one has been beaten to death around here. And new rule: no more taking Henery in the 6th. He probably won't be there.
6) J.T. Thomas -- LB, WVU
Thomas is my favorite late-round prospect in the draft. He's a good athlete, very versatile (could play ILB or SOLB), played for a solid WVU defense, and just looks exceptional on tape. If I could take over our drafting duties for just one pick, it would be this one. You don't expect much from a 6th-rounder, but Thomas looks like a guy who is going to be a contributor on an NFL team very soon; and depending on the depth present, possibly a starter.
7) Chris Neild -- DT, WVU
Here's our project nose tackle. 6'2", 320 lbs., and as agile any other NT prospect in the draft. He anchored WVU's stout defense last year. With any luck, Wade can coach him up, and he'll be a two-down run defender in a couple years to replace Shaun Cody.
7) Mike Person -- OT/OG, Montana State
Person had a good NFL career, has average size, and very good quickness. He played RT in college and has the height to do it in the NFL, but he'll need to add to his frame. For now, I see him as a back-up OG. If he bulks up and improves his technique, he could be a replacement for Winston at RT down the line, or a swing tackle at the very least.
Overall goal? 2012. Depending on DeMeco's health, this team might need five new starters on defense. You can't possibly get it all in one season, so I'm not going to reach on players just because they fit a position of need (outside of Gilchrist for his return abilities, but even he is a developmental position player). This gives you D-line depth, secondary depth, a special teams boost, a rotational LB, and developmental talent in the trenches on both sides. Gimme the three-year rule for evaluating the draft, and I think this'll be a good one.