If everything goes the way Texans fans wish it does, General Manager Rick Smith will be picking 32ndoverall in the 2013 NFL draft. Despite
having one of the most explosive offenses and defenses in an NFL designed around the promotion of league-wide parity, there are still a couple major needs on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Andre Johnson has rounded into form the second half of the season. But at 31 he is entering an age where receivers typically regress in somewhat dramatic fashion year over year. Even if Johnson still has two or three dominant years left, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison desperately needs a quality No. 2 wide receiver to draw attention away from blanketing Johnson and to a lesser extent, discouraging opposing defenses from adding another defender in the box to stop Arian Foster. Kevin Walter is more suited as a No. 3 or 4 possession receiver. They could also look to bolster the offensive line.
Defensively, Wade Phillips has almost an embarrassment of riches at his disposal. Furthermore, they are extremely young and have been without the services of All-Pro linebacker, Brian Cushing for most of the season. Consider for a moment the ages of Houston’s key defensive players:
- LB Brian Cushing, 25
- DE J.J. Watt, 23
- ROLB Whitney Mercilus, 22
- CB, Johnathon Joseph, 28
- CB, Kareem Jackson, 24
- LOLB, Connor Barwin, 26
- LB, Brooks Reed, 25
- LB, Darryl Sharpton, 24
- S, Glover Quin, 26
- DE, Jared Crick, 23
- CB, Brandon Harris, 22
Admittedly, not every player on this list is currently contributing but its only a matter of time before they have an opportunity. These include talented depth guys who are likely starters on another roster in Jared Crick and Brandon Harris.
With Cushing’s return in 2013 and assuming Watt can maintain at his current level of play, the Texans could still use some help in the secondary, especially at Safety.
1st round – Matt Elam, S, Florida
Height – 5-10
Weight – 205
What’s most exciting about this redshirt senior is any perceived shortcomings in his game are coachable or will such as taking better angles or learning when to wrap up instead of exploding into ball carriers or would-be receivers.
Blessed with rare athleticism which combined with his aggressive style, will make Elam a fan favorite. He is versatile enough to play either safety position and will instantly upgrade his future employer’s secondary while providing a bit of swagger. He is reminiscent of a mix between Bob Sanders, the pre chronically-injured version, and Ed Reed.
2nd round – Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Height – 6-2
Weight – 205
Dobson has improved each year despite a lack of an upper echelon quarterback throwing him the ball. Above all else, wide receivers that earn the title of a dependable do so first and foremost with outstanding hands. Throughout his career Dobson has continuously shown a knack for making acrobatic catches look easy and routine catches looking, well, routine. With excellent size and good, not great, speed Dobson will make a living in the NFL as a chain-moving receiver on short to intermediate routes.
He has been described as a humble and hard-working leader. Coaches have raved about the little things he takes pride in such as the effort he gives in blocking downfield for teammates.
3rd round – Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Height – 6-7
Weight – 375
One of the bigger prospects in years, McCullers could be a fantastic fit at nose tackle for a 3-4 defense on a team that can afford to groom him for a year or two until he can drop about 20 pounds and acclimate himself to the rigors of an NFL conditioning regimen.
Based on sheer size alone, he should repeatedly accomplish the number one priority on a defense like the Texans use: clog up the middle of the line demanding constant double-teams .
Other needs for 4th round and beyond: OT, CB