If the Texans are looking to bolster their defense early in the 2015 NFL Draft – as they have most of the time in the past – then today might just feature Bill O’Brien’s next first round pick. Will it be yet another edge rusher to replace Brooks Reed and/or Whitney Mercilus? Perhaps a capable inside linebacker who can actually survive in coverage? Hell, maybe even another 5-technique defensive end to throw into the rotation with J.J. Watt and Jared Crick? In a year so wide open for the Texans as far as draft needs go, fans could be in store for almost anything. Anyone and everyone who is running through their drills in the defensive lineman and linebacker groups today will be up for consideration. Here are a few of the top story lines to keep an eye on today:
1. Shaq Thompson’s 6’0", 228 lb frame is very small for a linebacker, but some have speculated that he is a perfect fit for a hybrid safety/linebacker role. How well does his athleticism on tape show up in the field drills, and can he make yet another position change?
2. Between Dante Fowler, Shane Ray, Bud Dupree, Randy Gregory, Vic Beasley, and a host of other pass rushers in this class, somebody is bound to fall to 16th overall. Who will end up being the odd man out in field drills and inevitably take a hit to their stock?
3. Lots of good 5-technique DEs of all shapes and sizes are going to be performing today, including Arik Armstead, Carl Davis, Leonard Williams (fat chance), and Joey Mbu. Who among them makes the most sense to be brought in to possibly replace Jared Crick as he enters the last year of his rookie contract?
4. Despite the Texans drafting a nose tackle in Louis Nix last year, Houston still might consider going that direction early if there are concerns about Nix’s long term health (no signs point that way as of yet, but still). Are Eddie Goldman, Malcom Brown, or Danny Shelton worthy of mid-first round selections if they are available for the Texans?
What story lines are you following today, BRB? Make sure to tune in on NFL Network or watch the live stream on NFL.com and give your impressions as the day rolls on.