One of the problems I find with talking about the NFL Draft is how locked in people get when talking about a prospect. Everyone is guilty of falling for a prospect and putting blinders on in regards to others (as well as forgetting team drafting philosophy, team schemes, the idea that team big boards look vastly different than those of "draft experts," and that value is determined by a mix of need and position class depth but all of this is neither here nor there).
As a result, the conversation gets a bit stale and starts to sound the same…which would be a terrible development since the calendar has yet to hit March. Not only that, but when we focus on a few names we tend to forget about the draft class as a whole. It is also how we get to the draft reactions of "Who," "WTF," and "Didn’t even think about that guy," to name a few.
After you jump, I try and introduce five new names into the conversation mix. Some have been touted by a lone commenter and others have not been talked about as the debates have been wide receiver versus nose tackle and which receiver should be taken. Let’s give the Poe/Jeffery/Sanu talk a rest, shall we?
Iowa WR Marvin McNutt, projected as a second-to-third round pick
It’s no secret that I’m on a route-runner kick. Route-running beats deep speed, especially in the NFL and the West Coast Offense. Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Rod Smith, and Ed McCaffery were route-runners. The offense is about efficiency, consistency, and moving the chains – this ain’t no Madden game.
McNutt is not getting as much publicity due to Iowa’s run-heavy reputation, no famous last name, and lack of 4.3 speed, but he’d fit in very well with the WCO due to his dependable hands, good size, and blocking abilities. If the Texans opt to wait until the late 2nd round to add a receiver, McNutt could be the guy.
Baylor NT Nick Jean-Baptiste, projected as a third-to-fourth round pick
There are, according to multiple mock databases, eight prospects who project as a nose tackle. Given the need of NTs due to the many 3-4 defenses in the league, they will be at a premium, as always.
Jean-Baptiste caught my eye with during the East-West Shrine Week. Big and stocky (6’1’’, 335 pounds), NJB was difficult to block. Being shorter, he was able to constantly get underneath the pads of an offensive lineman with his bull rush. The big man isn’t just a clogger; he had 8.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks last season.
Louisville TE Josh Chichester, projected as a fourth-to-sixth round pick
Of course, for the Texans to need a tight end in the draft they would have to (a) lose Joel Dreessen in free agency (to Washington?) and (b) be strong in their commitment to James Casey at fullback. If that happens, a tight end becomes draft-worthy.
Chichester used to be a former wide receiver, so he has the receiving part down. The big question mark with him stems from the fact that he has only been a tight end for two seasons and is raw. Why is he intriguing to me? You’ve got a 6’8’’ tight end with low 4.6/4.7 speed. There’s a lot of potential there – especially with that kind of size in the red zone. The Texans would be able to develop him behind Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham.
Iowa G/C Adam Gettis, projected as a fifth-to-sixth round pick
When you look for potential Texan offensive linemen, you are looking for the usual keys: athletic, quick, good feet, and potentially "too light" or "needs to add weight." Gettis fits all those descriptors, coupled with the fact that interior linemen usually are drafted in rounds 3-6 and you get why he’s got a lower-end projection. Iowa’s a running team and Marcus Coker had a strong season, so Gettis was a contributor to that. He could add depth at two positions, which may be needed if the Texans don’t bring back Mike Brisiel and/or Kasey Studdard.
Cal DE Trevor Guyton, projected as a sixth round pick
Tim Bulman’s a free agent. While he works hard, I believe the Texans should look for a young DE, with potential, to help build depth. My draft crush on Nevada’s Brett Roy aside, Guyton could be that valuable depth. Over the past two years, Guyton has 26 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks. A guy who can get upfield and be disruptive would thrive in Wade Phillips’ one-gap 3-4 defense.
What about you guys? Are there any new names we should add to the draft party or should we skip the formalities and get back to Poe vs. Sanu vs. Jeffery? Any of the above guys intrigue you?