Your Houston Texans are currently without a pick until the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Whitney Mercilus, assuming a healthy return from the torn pec that ended his 2017 campaign, is a pass rushing asset in a league where dudes who can get after the quarterback are always at a premium, and presumably Mercilus’ stock is enhanced by the two years left on a very reasonable contract. In his latest piece for ESPN, Bill Barnwell proposed hypothetical trades involving each selection in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. One such imaginary transaction involved the Texans. Consider the following deal:
20. Detroit Lions
Lions get: DE Whitney Mercilus; 2019 first-round pick
Texans get: 1-20
The Texans desperately need to find a way to protect budding superstar Deshaun Watson. They currently have the league’s worst tackle situation -- if not its worst offensive line -- and are without first- and second-round picks, preventing new general manager Brian Gaine from drafting a replacement who is likely to start Week 1.
Houston’s most expendable asset with value is Mercilus, a talented pass-rusher who is a luxury on a team with Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt. The Lions would love to have a second pass-rusher across from Ezekiel Ansah, and while it means waiting a year for Houston’s first-round pick, they can look to the Browns, who are reaping the benefits of their patience with that fourth overall selection acquired in last year’s draft trade with the Texans.
Barnwell has suggested the Texans trade Mercilus before, so this isn’t breaking new ground. But I believe is the first time there’s been a tangible 2018 pick suggested, and this permutation includes the Texans also parting with a 2019 first rounder to make it happen.
Would you do this deal if you were Brian Gaine? Or is the cost too prohibitive?
What if Houston’s 2019 first-rounder wasn’t involved? Would you trade Mercilus for the Lions’ 2018 first-rounder straight up?