Let's see if we can get away from the Stephen Hill discussion for a few minutes. Like the title suggests, the goal is to select three players you think might wind up on the Texans in a couple weeks. Note, the goal isn't to choose players that you would necessarily take (though obviously there's going to be considerable overlap), but rather, players you think Rick Smith will draft.
Explain your selections in terms of how they fit with our scheme, front office tendencies, and current and future needs. Try to get some new names out there if you can. And the later they're projected to go, the better. Nothin' quite like looking back on a draft and knowing that you nailed it on a 6th-round pick. So let's get some predictions out there.
I'll start with Tyrone Crawford -- DE, Boise State:
Crawford is a raw, physically-gifted DE with the length to play outside in a 3-4 and the quickness to get around the edge or slip by an OG. He's short on technique right now (having only played one year of college ball), but he's a high-motor guy with the physical attributes to be a perfect fit on Wade Phillips' defensive line. He's unlikely to contribute much in 2012, but with the proper development he'd rotate in for a few hundred snaps in 2013, and then replace Antonio Smith in 2014. While I think Rick Smith would be hesitant to spend a high pick on most defensive ends (Crick or Chandler Jones, for instance) due to Antonio Smith's remaining contract years and production, Crawford would make sense due to the development he'll require. His upside is enormous, and the value makes sense for us in the third round.
Next up, another tremendous athlete I've mentioned a couple times: Brandon Mosley -- OT, Auburn:
Mosley spent some time at junior college playing defensive end and tight end (is there any way we don't draft him?). But despite only playing two years at OT, he's not far from being ready to contribute in the NFL. He has prototypical size at OT, and the quickness to excel in our ZBS. Butler will be a free agent next year, and while Zierlein insists that the coaching staff likes Derek Newton, a little competition wouldn't hurt. We'll need a swing tackle as well, and Mosley has experience playing both tackle positions. He's unlikely to be there when we pick in the 4th round. I envision some mid-round maneuvering from the Texans, but crazy as it might sound, they might consider him in the second round to avoid losing him.
Lastly, I'll take a flyer on Justin Bethel -- the safety and special teams dynamo out of Presbyterian:
Bethel didn't blow anybody away with his 40-yard dash time, but he showed some good quickness, and he has that 6'0, 200 lb. frame that Kubiak loves to plug into his secondary. His college production obviously came against lesser competition, but he has upside at SS and could immediately contribute on special teams. I think the Texans wouldn't hesitate to take him in the 6th, and might have him on their board in the 5th.
Who ya got?