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Red Zone Play: Mock Prospects

February mock drafts rarely tell the tale of who teams will take in April, but let’s look at some of the names linked to the Texans right now anyway.

2011 NFL Draft

With the 2017 season officially over, Mock Draft Season is in full swing. While there have been plenty of mock drafts already by all the fashionable mockers, history tells us preliminary mock drafts created in February are rarely correct. If anything, they’re more a way for a writer/on-air personality to play general manager for a moment and show what they would do were they anointed Emperor of the NFL Universe for a few days in April.

So far, the Texans have had some fairly interesting picks mocked to them in the various and sundry fictional drafts. If Houston takes any one of them and they play to their full potential, it’s a home run. But, for every Whitney Mercilus, there’s a DeVier Posey. Thankfully, for Texans fans at least, rarely does Houston miss on the first pick or two in the draft.

From J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Duane Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Kevin Johnson to Will Fuller, Nick Martin and Braxton Miller, it’s hard to know what you have right away. But that doesn’t stop people from working up a lather over mock drafts and the actual draft as prematurely as humanly possible.

Let’s take a look at who some of the Mockers-That-Be have Houston taking so far:

Daniel Jeremiah ( – Deshaun Watson (QB-Clemson)

Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN) – Budda Baker (S-Washington)

Bucky Brooks ( – Cam Robinson (OT-Alabama)

Matt Miller (BleacherReport) - Jarrad Davis (LB-Florida)

Steve Palazzolo (Pro Football Focus) – (Jamal Adams S-LSU)

Dieter Kurtenbach (Foxsports) - Malik McDowell (DT-Michigan State)

Dan Kadar (SBNation) - Cam Robinson (OT-Alabama)

Luke Easterling (USA Today) - Patrick Mahomes III (QB-Texas Tech)

With so much uncertainty still in the air, it’s hard to guess who will be left, who will rise ,and who will fall between now and the 2017 NFL Draft.

Scanning through the mountain of mock currently available, Cam Robinson and Budda Baker’s names are linked to Houston quite often. Looking back on Houston’s draft history, however, it’s hard to commit to the idea that Rick Smith will pull the trigger on either and expect them to be around for any amount of time.

Duane Brown notwithstanding, names like D.J. Swearinger, Brennan Williams, Brandon Brooks, Ben Jones and Antoine Caldwell come to mind as guys taken in the first three rounds that either didn’t pan out or weren’t around long enough for Houston to get a full return on investment.

Should Deshaun Watson still be around by the 25th pick, has he fallen due to something that comes up between now and draft day? Would he be a good scheme fit for Houston? He’d certainly be a great character fit, possibly the only signal caller who could step in and supplant Brock Osweiler immediately.

Jarrad Davis and Malik McDowell are interesting picks, solely because they would be a “best man on the board” sort of pick, not necessarily a “biggest need” pick. While some teams roll with the draft to fill a need angle, other use the best player available approach. The best drafting teams use a hybrid that requires great scouting, quick decision making and a solid understanding of what you have, what you need, and where you’re going.

While it’s tough to fully evaluate last season’s draft, it’s clear that none of the players taken had a dramatic impact on the team’s 2016 campaign...unless you count Tyler Ervin’s multiple muffed kick returns that put Houston in a hole early and often.

If the Texans are to move into their metaphorical Red Zone, they can’t afford to have that same level of contribution from the 2017 draft class.

Who those players are and what they will contribute remains to be seen.

Who would you want Houston to take in the early rounds? Have a ‘can’t miss’ prospect in mind that Houston just has to snag? Do any of the players mentioned in mock drafts so far ring your bell? Do any of them give you that D.J. Swearinger feeling? Let us know in the comments below.