Now that roughly half of the NFL season has passed, draft needs and selection orders are becoming clearer and clearer. The Texans may or may not be starting their long term option at quarterback next weekend, but signal caller is not the only weakness that his holding this team back. Cornerback, free safety, inside linebacker, and even outside linebacker can use a tune up (again) going into 2015. With all those deficiencies in mind, here is a quick roundup of what the internet thinks the Texans will do in the 2015 Draft as of this week.
11/5/14: D.J. Boyer (Draft Site)
Commentary - none
11/5/14: Donald Wood (Bleacher Report)
The Houston Texans have the pass rush covered with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, but the secondary has been abysmal. The team needs a change of mentality at cornerback, and Michigan State’s Trae Waynes would bring a hard-nose style.
11/5/14: Behind The Steel Curtain (SB Nation)
Teams Needs: QB/RT/RG/WR/S/RB
Houston needs to worry about their future at QB. Bill O'Brien drafted Tom Savage in the later rounds, and traded for Ryan Mallett, but with a defense and a running game that can contend now do they have the time to wait? They also need a replacement at WR for Andre Johnson who will be 34 years old next summer and is looking to skip town, not wanting to wait through a rebuilding phase on offense. Also a free agent, Derek Newton has been terrible this season and Houston will likely replace him at some point.
Defensively their front seven appears to be set for the long term but they still have issues in the secondary. Kareem Jackson will be a free agent, so if he leaves they will most likely spend an early round pick on his replacement.
Kevin White has exploded this season out of relative obscurity. He could be a one-year wonder but with the season he is having he could challenge Amari Cooper to be the first WR drafted. He has a lean but muscular build, smooth acceleration, and the strength and tenacity to out-muscle defenders.
11/5/14: Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football)
The Texans have won too many games to be in contention for one of the top three quarterbacks. Instead, they'll have to make an upgrade elsewhere, and one area they could consider is the right tackle position. Derek Newton has looked like a human turnstile this season, so Houston could consider bolstering its blocking.
11/6/14: Rob Rang (CBS Sports)
With JJ Watt leading the way, the Texans' defense has been impressive even with Jadeveon Clowney struggling with injury and thus far failing to live up to expectations. Peters' combination of length, athleticism, physicality and ball-skills has him in contention to be the first defensive back selected in 2015. Pre-draft interviews will be critical after Peters was dismissed from the Huskies on Nov. 6 due to reported multiple clashes with the coaching staff.
11/6/14: Dane Brugler (CBS Sports)
In two years at Penn State, Bill O'Brien never faced Michigan State, but you can bet he will be well familiar with the Spartans' talented cornerback by next spring. While he does get in trouble freelancing at times, Waynes has the height, length and athleticism that NFL teams value at the position to best match up with the tall trees at wide receiver at the pro level.
11/7/14: Charlie Campbell (Walter Football)
The Texans have a good team, but quarterback play will probably keep them from the playoffs this year. Landing a quarterback prospect like Jameis Winston could immediately elevate Houston into being one of the AFC's elite. The problem is Houston probably won't be picking early enough to snag him. If the Texans miss out on a top quarterback, they could target a receiver to replace Andre Johnson or a running back who can follow Arian Foster. While making that pick, keep in mind that Houston prioritizes elite talent over need and positional value, i.e. Jadeveon Clowney over Blake Bortles.
As predicted, Cooper is on his way to a huge season that could easily propel him to being a high pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is the feature receiver in Lane Kiffin's West Coast offense and clearly has the size/speed combination to present a constant mismatch. Kiffin has a tendency to lean on his No. 1 receiver and send a ton of targets their direction (see Marqise Lee 2012, Robert Woods 2011). Thus far in 2014, Cooper has 71 receptions for 1,132 yards with nine touchdowns. He has had a string of dominating performances that have shown off his great route-running, speed, hands, run-after-the-catch ability and skills to fight for 50-50 balls.
Cooper collected 45 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns in 2013, but was dealing with a toe injury that really slowed him down. He had a great freshman season in 2012 and helped Alabama repeat as the National Champion. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder carried the Crimson Tide passing attack. He caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns for the year. No other Alabama receiver notched 30 receptions or 500 yards through the air.
11/7/14: Chris Burke (SI)
Assuming Ryan Mallett does not light the world afire, the Texans have to find Bill O'Brien a quarterback. Cook comes with some rough spots, mainly of the "gunslinger" variety -- i.e. he trusts his arm over making good reads at times. He also stands 6-4, carries a strong arm and frequently attacks defenses downfield. Cook has said he plans to return for his senior season. We'll see if he still feels that way in a couple months.
What do you think, BRB? With three different cornerbacks slotted to the Texans in the first round, how likely is it that Rick Smith with look to bolster his secondary next Spring? What position or player are you looking to as an armchair GM?