Jadeveon Clowney, Xavier Su’a-Filo, C.J. Fiedorowicz, and Louis Nix – those are the first four picks by your Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft. Contrary to what virtually the entire football world thought would happen going into this year’s annual selection meeting, Bill O’Brien did not take his quarterback of the future in the first three rounds. The Texans clearly have a plan, and that plan is to annihilate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Even if there are still massive question marks at the most important position on the team, I have to say that I am a big fan of building the team from the inside out.
Su’a-Filo has been highly touted as the best pure guard in this class for several months, and nabbing him at the top of the second round might go down as one of the steals of the draft. I believe he can immediately slide in between Duane Brown and Chris Myers on day one and improve both the run blocking in front of Arian Foster and the pocket integrity for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
C.J. Fiedorowicz was another "sneaky good" pick at the top of the third round as a terrific blocking tight end who wins with size and strength as a receiver. Fiedorowicz, who is known as "The Polish Hat" among Iowa faithful, was phenomenal at the point of attack for the Hawkeyes' offense. Between his ability to secure the edge with power and Su’a-Filo’s quickness to seal off the back side of a run, the Texans’ stable of running backs might finally have some room to work for once. I, for one, am excited to see the return of the run game to Houston.
On the other side of the ball, how can you not love a combination of Jadeveon Clowney and Louis Nix on the first two days of the draft? I wrote about the possibility of taking Nix with the 33rd overall pick earlier today. Taking him a whole fifty picks later at 83rd overall after trading back up into the third round might be one of the biggest pure talent values for any team thus far. I wrote the following this afternoon:
The fact that Houston will be in nickel so often (as much as 70%, according to Bill O’Brien) means that the importance of having a good nose tackle is rather mitigated at this point. However, for the 30% of snaps that the Texans are in base, it would sure help to have someone who can dominate the point of attack in the middle of the offensive line and force teams to try to handle J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney with single blockers (good luck). Not only that, but I would not be surprised to see a nose tackle like Nix take some snaps in nickel packages against teams that like to have three wide receivers on the field regardless of down and distance. Having that extra beef on the field to eat up blocks from offenses that run the ball from shotgun would be an immense help to Brian Cushing and whatever linebacker lines up beside him next season. I certainly wouldn’t be upset at this pick, even if it isn’t what I personally would do.
To top it all off, who could talk about domination up front without mentioning the acquisition of Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick? With Whitney Mercilus, J.J. Watt, Nix, and Clowney all on the same line of scrimmage, offenses will have no way to double everyone at the same time. Somehow, someway, someone is going to be given a one-on-one. I like the sound of that.
A first round quality guard, a dominating blocker at tight end, a space-eating nose tackle, and a generational pass rusher. The Texans might not have their signal-caller yet, but you will never, ever catch me complaining about getting better on the line of scrimmage.