As I said last year, we’re pretty big John Harris fans here at BRB. Harris puts in hours and hours watching film and breaking down prospects, so it’s always enlightening to read what he thinks about players who are available in the upcoming NFL Draft. As he does each year, he has released “The Harris 100,” which you can pore over in all its glory by clicking here. In the interest of keeping the conversation going, here’s a preview of Harris' rankings on some players who have been linked to your Houston Texans in pre-draft chatter.
7. Deshaun Watson (QB—Clemson): I’ve gone back and studied nearly every single one of Watson’s throws the past two years. There are some questionable throws on tape. There are some definite “What the ----?!?” throwing decisions in his repertoire. However, what makes him a top ten candidate are the impressive throws into tight windows and clutch throws late in games. The obvious example was the clutch performance in the fourth quarter against Alabama for the National Championship victory. However, that’s just the starting point when assessing Watson. Sometimes the analysis can be as easy as answering the question: what guy do I want with the ball in his hands with the game on the line? That’s Watson.
16. DeShone Kizer (QB—Notre Dame): Kizer was the epitome of inconsistency throughout the 2016 season, making an NFL level throw on one play then a JV level decision and throw on the next. There’s little question about his elite traits: size and arm strength, but the pieces of the puzzle have yet to completely come together. But, are his tools too much to pass on, given the importance at the quarterback position?
18. Ryan Ramczyk (OT—Wisconsin): After only one year as a starter, Ramczyk declared for the 2017 Draft. That wasn’t just a good decision; it was a great one. The former Badger star latched on to the starting job early in 2016 spring practice and turned in one of the best seasons for a Wisconsin lineman in some time. Because of the Wisconsin ties, he’ll be compared to Cleveland Browns star Joe Thomas. He’s not quite in that class (who is, really?), but he’s a future Pro Bowler at either tackle position. He has better than average feet, athleticism and movement skills to be an outstanding edge protector at the next level, no matter whether he plays left side or right side.
20. Garett Bolles (OT—Utah): As a former defensive tackle, Bolles plays the left tackle position a lot like he’s still playing defense. He’s ornery and finishes defenders in the run game, but his feet, agility and flexibility help him stay square, in perfect position, to block edge rushers. This is not a deep tackle draft, so he’ll be highly coveted by plenty of tackle-needy teams at the next level.
23. Forrest Lamp (OG/OT—Western Kentucky): The former Hilltopper star left tackle will more than likely end up at guard at the next level. His 31 inch arms will more than likely keep him from being a tackle in the future. But, he’s sitting on a 12 year Pro Bowl career at an interior spot. He’s built like a tank with little fat on him. He’s barrel chested, quick, strong and nasty out of the gate. His performance against Alabama slowing down each and every star Alabama pass rusher really put him on the scouts’ radar screen.
33. Cam Robinson (OT—Alabama): Get ready for the up and down roller coaster of your draft life, with Robinson riding shotgun. I’ve seen him get knocked on his tail attempting to protect the quarterback by outside linebackers. I’ve seen him stumble on his feet on his kick step and pass drop. I’ve also seen him destroy anything in his path on a run play. That maddening inconsistency is what keeps Robinson from being my first tackle on the board. Quite simply, his great moments are awe-inspiring but the bad moments are just undrafted free agent brutal.
34. Patrick Mahomes II (QB—Texas Tech): Some art aficionados revere photorealistic portrait artists. Every stroke of art perfectly and adroitly painted on the canvas. The attention to detail is minute but necessary. Then, there are the Jackson Pollak’s of the world, breaking every rule when it comes to painting, marching to the beat of their own drum. Mahomes is clearly a Jackson Pollak type. The footwork is nearly never on point. He’ll throw back across his body to the middle of the field. He’ll scramble ten yards backwards. He’ll hold the ball too long. Then, when you’re ready to write him off, he throws a laser for a first down or drops a dime 45 yards downfield for a score. He reminds me most of Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who seems to appreciate the no rules approach to art, I mean, quarterbacking.
64. Taylor Moton (OG/OT—Western Michigan): Moton had a solid season for the 13-1 Western Michigan Broncos. The main question is whether he plays guard or tackle, ala Oakland Raiders guard/former tackle Kelechi Osemele. He played both positions in his career and played both down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He’s not what the kids would call fleet and his feet are a little heavy to remain at tackle. But, his size and demeanor seem to fit perfectly at guard. He can envelop rushers into his space and swallow them whole; however, speed rushers on the edge often get him out of his comfort zone. He tends to reach with his outside arm to bring much lighter rushers back into his front. He won’t be able to do that in the NFL with the size and strength of NFL rushers. All in all, he’s a versatile player in a draft weak on the offensive line. Therefore, expect him to get drafted much earlier than he might in other deeper drafts.
99. Brad Kaaya (QB—Miami): His arm is decent, but not a laser. As with most quarterbacks his age, his footwork needs plenty work but one bad habit is that he throws with almost all upper body. He doesn’t drive the ball off his back leg and will open his whole body to get rid of the ball quicker. He can destroy with option routes in the short passing game. He reads zone well to get ball to receiver in the hole. He’ll stand tough against the pressure. Overall, though, his decision making is questionable, highly so, at times. He can be ultra-streaky, both good and bad. When it’s good, he looks like a day one selection. When it’s bad, he’s spraying the ball all over the yard.
What’s your reaction to Harris’ rankings? Anyone he’s high on that you’re not? Or anyone he’s not as big a fan of as you are?