Dan Kadar’s latest Mock Draft is out, and this one covers two whole rounds. Would MTD’s resident draft expert go back to the linebacker well one more time? In short, yes, but not with the one you would expect.
16. Houston Texans: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
I still view a player like inside linebacker Eric Kendricks being a better choice for Houston, but wanted to switch things up a bit. Ray is a pass rush specialist, so it’s reasonable that he would pair well with Whitney Mercilus, a good run defender. Drafting another pass rusher would be a little excessive after taking Jadeveon Clowney last year, but his knee injury should be a concern.
Mr. Kadar wasn’t done sending linebackers to Houston, however, as he stayed in the front seven in round two with the selection of Shaq Thompson.
51. Houston Texans: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Thompson is a good coverage linebacker with an unreal level of athleticism for the position. He could be a hybrid linebacker/safety for the Texans.
I don’t know about y’all, but I would be okay with this pairing. Sixteenth overall is a bit early for a player like Ray in my opinion, considering his questionable coverage and run stopping abilities, but he provides an immediate upgrade to former Texan Brooks Reed as a pass rusher. Thompson, meanwhile, would give Houston a physically gifted prospect at inside linebacker who can drop in space and make plays in Romeo Crennel’s zone-heavy Cover Two.
While I personally would have gone after Melvin Gordon in the first round in this scenario, I can’t fault anyone for trying to nail down the Texans' pass rush once and for all (again).