With the bulk of the big free agency moves done and compensatory draft selections doled out, this is a perfect time to toss out another entire Houston Texans mock draft. Did I also mention that the draft is exactly one month away? We're one month away from being confused by general manager Rick Smith's moves and tossing out barbs of hate towards whichever first round pick we'll despise and then grow to love.
Like last time, I'm using a variety of draft sites to craft the round slot of prospects. Will it actually play out this way? Absolutely not. There are always draft day surprises and slides that no one can predict. Heck, mock drafters are deemed successful if they hit on more than five picks in the first round. That's batting, as we tie into baseball, .156. I don't even know a player bad enough to make a joke here. Let's just get to it.
1st Round: Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins
I'm not changing my opinion from last time. Hopkins seems to be the guy people attach to Houston because it just makes sense.
With Kevin Walter gone, for now, the Texans need an upgrade outside. As I said last month, and Lukayyy discovered recently, Hopkins is a physical receiver who uses his body well and runs sharp routes. He would thrive in a West Coast Offense and could be the Reggie Wayne to Andre Johnson's Marvin Harrison. If Hopkins is there, I can't see how he's not the pick.
2nd Round: Louisiana Tech OT Jordan Mills
It may be a bit earlier than projected, but tackles with starting potential often go earlier than projected. I was always of the belief that the Texans would bring someone in to push Derek Newton in training camp, but the news of Newton's rather serious surgery makes me bump the tackle position up in importance...even if I took a tackle in round two last time, too.
Mills, as was pointed out to me by a good draftnik, had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl. Looking back over that time, I concur. He did a good job of taking on speed and power. Even when he struggled, Mills showed an aggressive attitude you want out of a lineman. Mills may need to drop a wee bit of weight to get a bit quicker in the feet, but he'd be a good option to have if Newton can't start for injury or performance related reasons.
3rd Round: Oregon ILB Kiko Alonso
With Darryl Sharpton's tendency to be on the injured list, Brian Cushing returning from a season-ending injury, Tim Dobbins still a free agent, and Bradie James being wildly ineffective, inside linebacker is a position that could use some new blood.
Alonso's a bit on the lighter side at 238 pounds, but he can move and cover. During his senior year, Alonso filled out the stat sheet in the Pac-12 with 81 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, and six turnovers forced. He needs to add some muscle and just get more on-field experience, but there's potential there.
3rd Round: Connecticut OLB Trevardo Williams
I'm not one of those people who thinks Brooks Reed is actually switching positions, but defensive coordinator Wade Phillips does prefer a rotation of three outside linebackers, and Bryan Braman is strictly a special teams player. Enter Trevardo.
Williams is being touted as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but he's got 24 sacks and 28.5 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons. There is an explosive (4.57 40-yard dash) and strong (30 reps) edge rusher here who is getting lost due to size concerns. This is the kind of nose-for-the-ball guy Wade likes and it'd be a smart use of a comp pick.
4th Round: Fresno State S Phillip Thomas
I know. I didn't want to draft a player from Fresno State either, but at least he's not a quarterback. Houston did sign Ed Reed recently, but he's about to turn 35. Danieal Manning could be a 2014 salary cap casualty and Shiloh Keo sucks. If Phillips wants to continue his third safety scheme, Phillip could be his man.
A Senior Bowl standout, Thomas led the nation with eight interceptions in 2012 and showed up in the box with 82 tackles, 14 of them for a loss. While Wade's moving to a more structured safety set, Thomas could fill either role with his knack for tackling and coverage. This would be a solid move to lay the foundation for the next ten years.
5th Round: Tennessee-Martin NT Montori Hughes
I was on the Hughes bandwagon last month, and I don't change that here. As of today, the Texans still only employ Earl Mitchell at nose tackle (no, I'm not counting or depending on the undrafted guys who were on injured reserve and neither should you). Despite the obvious need, I don't imagine the Texans would think nose tackle before the fifth round anyhow.
As I said last month, Hughes brings a nasty streak to the middle and could pair nicely with Mitchell.
6th Round: Tennessee WR Zach Rogers
With DeVier Posey potentially out until the middle of the season and the other reserve options being Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean, I think the Texans would be wise to add another young receiver to the mix.
You've heard about Corrdarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, and former Tennessee WR Da'Rick Rogers, but probably not Zach Rogers. The overshadowed Rogers served as the third receiver but is no slouch at all. Z. Rogers has 4.4 speed, stands at 6' flat, and lit up South Carolina (AN SEC TEAM!!!) for 107 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, Rogers had seven touchdowns last season as the third guy. In the sixth round, that'd be worth taking a shot on. It also adds some more speed to the offense.
6th Round: Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy
With Ben Tate in the final year of his rookie contract and Justin Forsett gone to Jacksonville, the Texans could stand to add to their running back stable. While history may show a tendency to bring in undrafted free agents into the Shanahan zone-blocking scheme, I think they'd be wise to snag Stacy here.
There's the obvious fact that he had over 1,000 yards and five yards per carry as an SEC running back, yet there's more to Stacy than that. While a smaller back, Stacy does not shy away from contact and finishes a run hard. He also, in that linked video, displays a one-cut-and-go mentality that would serve him well in Houston.
7th Round: Vanderbilt CB Trey Wilson
Apparently, I'm a secret Vandy fan because Wilson's the third Commordore I've taken in my two mock drafts this season. Go figure, right? As for this pick, the Texans are likely going to take the best player on the board or some wacky big potential project. Who knows who will be here in round seven?
Between a potential Brandon Harris-to-safety move and Roc Carmichael's inability to see snaps, there is a need to create competition for the fourth corner spot. I'll take Wilson because he brings some size to the cornerback corps (5'11'' and 195 pounds) and had a solid showing at the East-West Shrine Game against similar prospects.
Thoughts, BRBers? Is this the worst mock ever or did I fill some of you with some hope that the Texans could fill the rest of their holes in the NFL Draft?