I know what you're saying, faithful readers.
"Didn't you do a full mock draft for the Houston Texans earlier this week? What gives?"
That is true, but the fun of mock drafts is that you can always change picks and tweak it using different criteria. Last year, I had a mock draft where I tried to insert new prospects into the mix. None of those guys actually turned into anything; I suppose that's why they weren't talked about much. However, that doesn't stop us this year. That's the goal here: find and introduce prospects that haven't been talked about at all or much here or to the Texans in general. I'm attempting to force myself away from the DeAndre Hopkinses, D.J. Swearingers, Kyle Longs, and Trevardo Williamses of the world.
Before we jump into it, I'll briefly touch upon the process I used here. I tried to be realistic in the 1st round and pick a name that's been available in at least half the mock drafts I've seen. I'm an avid reader, so that's a pretty robust list of sites and varying opinion. With the 2nd through 7th rounders, I tried to stick to ranked average. As an example, if someone's being pegged as a 5th through 7th rounder on sites, I assumed he'd be more of a 5/6 than a 7. If someone is being touted as a 3rd rounder, they're only viewed at as a 3rd rounder in this practice, and so on and so forth. Is this scientific? No, but the draft never plays out to any site's predictions so *kanyeshrug*.
With that said, let's get some new blood into the discussion.
1st Round: California WR Keenan Allen
What's that? You know about Allen? Well, this is kind of cheating because I selected him under the basis that no one has talked about Allen being a Texan. This is somewhat due to the fact that Allen's been the oft-described "most polished receiver in the NFL Draft" and going in the top-15.
Whether it's knee concerns or the lack of unsexy potential, Allen's slid lower and lower in mock drafts. It's fully within the realm of possibility that Allen, the man with the best route-running skills in the draft, could be a Texan. 6'2'', 205 pounds, runs in the 4.4s, and runs routes sharper than tack. What more could you what?
2nd Round: Missouri Southern NT Brandon Williams
I know some talked him up and then talk got quiet when Williams' stock rose to the second round and/or when head coach Gary Kubiak told everyone that NT Earl Mitchell was ready to take the next step.
For this mock, I'll bring Williams back into the equation. He performed very well at the Senior Bowl against top competition to help reinforce the notion that those 25.5 sacks he racked up in three years at Missouri Southern were no fluke. A NT with a pass rusher's mind set? Maybe he's the 340-pounder that Wade Phillips has been looking for.
3rd Round: North Carolina OT Brennan Williams
This may be a bit low for the second Williams, if his labrum was given the thumbs up by Combine doctors, but it's a stretch I'll be forced to live with in this fake draft world. Williams could potentially be the second round pick, given Houston's need for a right tackle. Williams is a massive 6'6'' and 318 pounds and he brings two years of experience as a starter in a BCS conference.
Williams needs to polish up the technique, particularly his hands, and could benefit from an NFL strength and conditioning program to improve his second-level agility, but his arm length, power, quick kick-step, and attitude make him a very enticing prospect for a tackle needy team.
3rd Round : UCONN ILB Sio Moore
I talked about his teammate, Trevardo Williams, last time, but Moore's in the spotlight here, although this could be low for a guy who has seen his name in the second round in some mocks.
Moore filled out the stat sheet last year with 72 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, and 11 passes broken up. His 2011 and 2010 weren't too far off those numbers either. As someone who has been eyeing a linebacker to help in coverage, the three years of coverage stats make Moore highly appealing.
Moore's been a steady riser due to good performances in the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl due to his speed, physicality (despite smaller size at 6'1'' and 245 pounds), and instincts. Some draftniks even think he could play OLB or ILB in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. That kind of versatility is a huge plus for a guy like Wade Phillips.
4th Round: Georgia CB Sanders Commings
I have been wondering if the Texans may push Brandon Harris into the third safety role. A sign that they could do that would be if they drafted a cornerback in April. If they draft a safety, as many have mocked, then Harris remains at cornerback.
I could talk about Commings myself or I could just type out words so I can link to a draftnik who is all over Commings. The short story? A big cornerback, to combat the Calvin Johnsons of the world, who has starting potential.
5th Round: Mount Union WR Jasper Collins
Mount Union has given the NFL Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts over the past few years, so why not go back and see if lightning strikes thrice with Mr. Collins?
Collins did what you want from a lower-level prospect and absolutely dominated his competition (92 receptions for 1,694 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior). He's a bit limited due to size (5'10'' and 185 pounds), but he is Mount Union quick and is earning marks for his route-running abilities. Collins also brings some returning ability to the fold. Yes, the Texans have Keshawn Martin, but they would do well to bring in competition for him and LeStar Jean and build some more depth in the receiving corps with DeVier Posey being a PUP-list candidate.
6th Round: Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy
I know. I talked about Stacy in my last mock, so why is he here? No one's talking about Stacy as a Texan, plus he's a sleeper fit with his running style. Watch the video linked in the last article or read those comments left by Commodore-Texan fans. Stacy would be the perfect third back to step up when Ben Tate leaves.
6th Round: Washington State OLB Travis Long
"...while not explosively athletic, locates the ball quickly and plays with a terrific motor. He has experience as a 4-3 defensive end but may project better as a stand-up outside linebacker." Does that sound familiar? Maybe like a certain linebacker who just left town? A guy who is similar in size to Long's 6'4'', 250 pound frame? That's why Long should merit discussion in the latter rounds.
Washington State did switch to a 3-4 last year and Long flourished with 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss before suffering an ACL injury late in the season. Long, like Connor Barwin before him, will have to improve his strength and rehab from an unfortunate injury, but he could be a shrewd pick for the third OLB in coordinator Wade Phillips' defense.
7th Round: New Mexico TE Lucas Reed
There will be an E. Reed and a B. Reed on the roster next year, so why not an L. Reed? Yes, Lucas is the brother of Brooks, so there's inside information here for general manager Rick Smith to grab.
Given his combine performance, Reed has the potential to be explosive. The 6'6'', 250 pounder led the tight ends in bench press reps (27) while he put up a 38 inch vertical leap and timed out well in the 40-yard-dash (4.65 seconds), short shuttle (4.08 seconds), and three-cone (6.97 seconds).
The downside? Reed is raw as a tight end and has seen his numbers decline as a tight end since his sophomore year where he caught 33 passes for 459 yards and five touchdowns. Still, with some development and coaching, there's potential here. A lot of it for a seventh rounder.
That's the final unknown pick here. Thoughts, BRB? Any new names you'd like to throw out?
A practice in draft mockery with a focus on grabbing players that few, if any, have talked about for the Houston Texans.
I know what you're saying, faithful readers.