It’s draft week in America. What better way to follow up ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary than by celebrating 255+ football players entry into the NFL? No flashy suits or booing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but all of the excitement, emotions, and potential wrapped into a three-day ceremony of football.
The idea here is simple. Each writer is assigned a pick to select a player allotted to their projected draft slot. There’s no Derrick Brown or C.J. Henderson available at #40. Zach Baun isn’t sitting there at #90. This is as real as a hypothetical scenario can get.
Here is a list of who made each selection.
2 (40): Matt Weston
3 (90): Mike Bullock
4 (111): Texans Thoughts
5 (171): Kenneth L.
7 (240): BFD
7 (248): Carlos Flores
7 (250): Kenneth L.
Since we can’t predict what Bill O’Brien will do on a minute-by-minute basis, we have not included any trades in this mock draft. Personally, I suspect the Texans will trade down in the second round to stock up on picks in a three-round top-heavy draft. I can also see them packaging several of their late round picks to move up into the fifth round. The only thing I know is that we have some football to talk about!
There’s a myriad of mock drafts to look at heading into the draft just two days away. Only here will you find the intelligent, in-depth, and dedicated Texans writers putting their collective heads together for a Houston Texans Mock Draft.
With the 40th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Matt Weston, on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
Marlon Davidson, DT/EDGE - Auburn
I don’t know if Davidson would be the best second round pick, but dammit, he would be the most fun pick. He played defensive end in Auburn’s 3-3-5 and popped out as a stand up pass rusher by using rips and long arms to get around tackles. He pulled off the same moves against Minnesota’s left tackle that A.J. Epenesa did in his 2.5 sack game against them. The difference is Davidson weighs a little bit more than 300 pounds.
In the NFL, I think Davidson can play 3-4 defensive end on run downs. He has the size and strength to stand up blockers, sit, and crowd rush lanes, and then play the ball. On passing downs, he can pop out as a EDGE defender. He can even be used as a stand up ‘3’ technique rusher over guards or a stand up ‘0’ over centers. There are dozens of ways Davidson can be used. He could immediately replace Angelo Blackson and offer some sort of interior rush, which Houston hasn’t had from the defensive tackle position since Antonio Smith, unless you want to count Jadeveon Clowney’s drunken monkey snap timing and dive bombing and the five weeks D.J. Reader could rush the passer in 2019.
Everyone wants versatility. Davidson offers it in a way nobody in the league really does. If he can figure out how to turn his strength into power and develop a consistent bullrush, he can be Jurrell Casey-ish.
With the 90th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Mike Bullock, on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
Cameron Dantzler, CB - Mississippi State
At 6’2” and 188 pounds, Dantzler has the size to get over smaller wide receivers, the ball skills to stop passes thrown his way, and the ability to seize opportunities and generate turnovers. He fits Bill O’Brien’s “multiple” mold as well and the height-length-strength mantra Houston bantered about last off-season. Not only can he play zone, but Dantzler excels in press man coverage, showing solid route recognition and a nose for the ball. His detractors point to his slim build as potential for injuries, but that’s what Brian Cushing is on the team to develop. With the proper nutrition, training regime and work ethic, the 6’2” Dantzler has the potential to become a beast in the NFL.
He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which might drop him down or off some NFL big boards, but he put up a 4.38 at his Pro Day (albeit that run was hand-timed).
He’s all over the board in various mock drafts, with some having Dantzler going as high as the first round while others have him falling past Houston at the 90th pick. Oddly enough, many have compared him to former Texans first rounder Kevin Johnson, with the expectation that Dantzler will grow to become the player Johnson never did, because, you know, injuries. Maybe this is Bill O’Brien’s chance to get the Kevin Johnson type player without the Kevin Johnson type performance.
With the 111th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Texans Thoughts, on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB - Appalachian State
With our top two needs (DL and CB) taken care of, I had the luxury of going best player available. I was inclined to add yet another wide receiver, a guy like Van Jefferson from Florida, whom I’ve completely fallen in love with. I also thought about the offensive line, and replacing Zach Fulton with someone like Damien Lewis from LSU was an extremely tempting offer. Another prospect I was considering was Geno Stone, a safety from Iowa. He’s a versatile player who can line up in the box, as a single high or even man the nickel. I scrapped those ideas and decided to further invest into a horrendous pass defense.
At 6’1” and 224 lbs., ADG is built like a rocked-up strong safety, and he moves like one too. Since he’s a S/LB hybrid, he’s got sideline-to-sideline speed and great instincts in coverage, two things Houston sorely lacks from their linebackers. He’s great at diagnosing plays in front of him, a master of reading the quarterback’s eyes, and reacting accordingly. ADG has such a quick trigger that once he sees the quarterback winding up his arm for a throw, he’s already halfway to where the ball is supposed to go. He’s got the hip fluidity and speed to stay with tight ends and running backs in space. Where he really excels is covering horizontally. What I mean by that is running sideline-to-sideline, stopping all sorts of screens and quick passes into the flat. When he is able to see the play in front of him and run downhill, he’ll make a play.
ADG brings versatility that I’m sure the coaching staff will love. Appalachian State lined him up all over the defense, manning all three LB spots in a 4-3 and even rushing off the edge in a 3-4.
It’s his pass rush potential that makes me even more giddy about this selection. His elite athleticism provides great burst off the snap and elite bend around the corner. He can twist and contort his body like very few pass rushers I’ve seen due to his fluid hips. While he is raw in terms of technique, he has a nice speed rush and counter move inside. His inside counter consists of a two handed swipe where he knocks the OL’s hands down, and bursts past them before they can even get their hands back up.
ADG is a weapon on defense. On running downs, with three linebackers on the field, he can take over Brennan Scarlett’s role. On passing downs, with two linebackers on the field, Cunningham can play MIKE while ADG plays WILL. He could blitz and also rush off the edge.
ADG’s impact will be evident, but he still has some limits. His ceiling is capped as a weakside LB because he doesn’t have the strength to take on blocks and shed them. Instead, he twists and contorts his body to avoid the blocks rather than take them on. We just need to make sure we always play him in a role where he rarely has to deal with blocks. Just let him read and react, running sideline to sideline and make plays. If we do that, he’s gonna be a huge boost to the defense.
With the 171th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Kenneth L., on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
Shane Lemieux, OG - Oregon
After going defense with three straight picks, I feel compelled to turn the tide and focus back onto the offensive side. This offseason has been focused on rearranging the weapons around Deshaun Watson via free agency. With this pick, the Texans will be looking to add depth to the interior of the offensive line. Someone to come in and learn under Zach Fulton, who will be a free agent in two years (if not sooner). In the fifth round, you are looking for either your perfect height-weight-speed position fit you can coach up or a one-dimensional scheme fit that solves a problem on your team.
Lemieux does and does not fit the mold of a Houston Texans’ offensive lineman. He would have been a perfect fit among the 2012 offensive group. He’s a true offensive guard. Wide-bodied. Pure run blocker. Lemieux is going to give you maximum effort in the run game but maximum liability in pass protection. Watching him run block in Oregon’s zone scheme is like watching a rhino rampage down a floodplain. He’s nasty at the point of attach, and will lift defenders up out of their technique if they aren’t ready.
A four year starter at Oregon, he was the both the calm in the storm and the storm itself. The offensive line group moved and swapped around while he remained at left guard. Their offensive line was one of the best in football and propelled Oregon to a Top 15 ranking at one point this past season. His play against Washington, USC, and against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl built his resume to be a mid-round pick.
Lemieux won’t wow you physically or in the pass game, but he is going to blow some players off the line. He plays left guard, but would fit better on the right side of Houston’s line. As the offense pivots to prioritize pass blocking over run blocking, Lemieux could bump in and support the run game when necessary.
With the 240th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, BFD, on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
John Hightower, WR, Boise State
By the time we are at this point of the draft, it’s time to draft on pure athletic ability. In this round, there ain’t much left.
Hightower runs a blazing 4.43 40. He can come in and compete with DeAndre Carter as the primary kick returner. I think there are plenty of us who no longer want to see Carter on the roster. Hightower’s SPARQ score is fairly middling, but again, we are grasping at straws at this point of the draft, and he’s the closest thing to a freak left on the board.
That said, I did not check to see how many baby mamas he has, whether or not he uses a murse, or if he has been sufficiently retweeted by Jack Easterby to be in a position to be drafted by this Texans’ front office.
With the 248th pick in BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Carlos Flores, on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
Jordan Fuller, S Ohio State
With the recent run on offense, the focus will now be shifted back to the secondary.
Fuller can provide depth at the safety position and possibly contribute on special teams. He was a captain the last two years with THE Ohio State University. He garnered first-team All Big-Ten honors last year while starting 14 games. Fuller plays well against the run, but most see him having issues in man coverage and passing situations at the pro level. He is also a BOB kind of guy—a leader on and off the field. Clean as a whistle.
Fuller is a good addition and most likely could fit in a backup or special teams role. In this round, guys are given a shot in training camp to see what they can contribute to the squad. I think Fuller could find a niche if given the opportunity.
With the 250th and final pick in the BRB’s 2020 Houston Texans Mock Draft, Kenneth L., on behalf of the Houston Texans, selects:
LaDarius Hamilton, EDGE - North Texas
Ending this draft at the same position we started with. In a draft without many Pro Days, teams will opt for players they know well, guys who performed at the NFL Combine and have a wealth of tape to show. At this point in the NFL Draft, the Texans are looking for special teams players who have the ability to rotate in at times when necessary. We’re past the point of drafting for ideal height-weight-speed and raw talent. These players are ultimately priority free agents the Texans want to ensure they keep.
Hamilton was a highly productive 3-4 end from North Texas, but he may be a better fit in Houston. From Corrigan, which is about two hours north of Houston, Hamilton is a tough-nosed prospect whose production leads his resume over his physical gifts. Clocking in with a 4.89 40 yard dash at the Combine, Hamilton won’t wow you with his speed around the edge.
When the actual draft takes place, I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton comes to the Texans as an undrafted free agent. In the hours after the draft, high-quality local players are often prioritized, as it’s easier and more enticing to bring in a prospect from around the area.
There you have it. Here’s the full mock draft class for you to keep on hand during the draft.
2 (40): Matt Weston: Marlon Davidson, DT/EDGE - Auburn
3 (90): Mike Bullock: Cameron Dantzler, CB - Mississippi State
4 (111): Texans Thoughts: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB - Appalachian State
5 (171): Kenneth L.: Shane Lemieux, OG - Oregon
7 (240): BFD: John Hightower, WR - Boise State
7 (248): Carlos Flores: Jordan Fuller, S - Ohio State
7 (250): Kenneth L.: LaDarius Hamilton, EDGE - North Texas
Three straight defensive players, another wide receiver to the roster, and a couple more defensive players to round out Day Three. Your reaction?