With the Senior Bowl now over and the top prospects moving on to preparing for the 2016 NFL Combine, news has been coming out about who the Texans were most interested in meeting during their week in Mobile, Alabama. Based on multiple reports from the Twittersphere, it seems as though Houston has made an effort to get to know some of the best 3-4 defensive end prospects as Jared Crick approaches free agency this March.
One such prospect, Alabama standout Jarran Reed, built his draft stock during the 2015 season as a punishing presence against the run that could theoretically help get J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney into favorable third and long situations. With a robust 6’3", 311 pound frame, he may even be stout enough to play nose tackle after Vince Wilfork’s eventual retirement. Reed sat down earlier this week with the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson to discuss his Senior Bowl experience.
"It was a team effort, it was never about me," Reed said. "It doesn’t matter about getting sacks or anything as long as we were all out there doing our job. As long as we were all out there together winning games that’s what it’s about."
"I had a good meeting with the Texans," Reed said. "It was fun talking football with them and letting them know what I’m all about."
Bill O’Brien wasn’t just looking at stout run-stoppers, however, as he also met with a tall, lean pass rusher he once personally kicked off of his own Penn State team for shoplifting several years ago – Baylor star Shawn Oakman.
"Hopefully, they see I changed my life around," Oakman said. "I've got no bad karma on me. The people around me love me. My coaches love me. I'm just working."
"I met the Texans, and it went pretty well," Oakman said. "There's no bad blood between me and the Texans or coach O'Brien. It's a job opportunity.
"I want to dominate. I want to be a dynamic pass rusher and run-stopper. They want to see me go full-tilt. I'm my toughest critic. No one puts more pressure on myself than me."
With so much interest in emerging defensive line talents this past week, perhaps the writing is on the wall that Jared Crick’s time in Houston may be coming to an end. What do you think, BRB? Is this all an elaborate smokescreen, or are Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith planning to invest yet another high draft pick in the defense this Spring?