The first in a series over the next few months, the Houston Texans hold the #1 pick. Here is an exclusive 2014 NFL mock draft for them.
Round 1 – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Make no mistake. The Texans need a quarterback more than anything else to reignite their playoff hopes. But an opportunity to pair a talent like Jadeveon Clowney with a proven star like J.J. Watt doesn’t come around very often. Holding the first pick in the second round should enable them to get a quality quarterback, so this is a move that has plenty of logic behind it.
Round 2 – Jimmy Garoppolo – QB – Eastern Illinois
He’s been the darling of the pre-draft process thus far and why not? It’s a great story. A young kid from Rolling Meadows, Illinois comes up through the local college system at Eastern Illinois and step-by-step turns himself into small school sensation. Jimmy Garoppolo has got the attention of the pro football world. His size falls within desired parameters as does his mechanics but it’s his rapid release, compact delivery and accuracy that has scouts and coaches buzzing. Houston must see the upside as well and should not hesitate to take him in the second.
Round 3 – Ahmad Dixon – SS – Baylor
They tried the veteran approach with Ed Reed and that was a disaster. The Texans have to bolster their safety position in order to not only help in coverage but also against the run. Ahmad Dixon has been largely overlooked because he played on a Baylor team widely known for their explosive offense. Meanwhile Dixon brings good size, range and a physical mentality that allows him to deliver hits and make tackles all without sacrificing his ability in coverage.
Round 4 – JaWuan James – OT – Tennessee
Offensive line was the cornerstone of success for the Houston Texans on offense the past few seasons. Keeping that area bolstered is a must. JaWuan James has experience against top competition, great size, surprising athleticism and the required strength to drive defenders off the ball in the running game. He had more good than bad moments at the Senior Bowl and is a nice upside pick.
Round 5 – Marion Grice – RB – Arizona State
Ben Tate is a pending free agent who has voiced his desire to start elsewhere and Arian Foster has a very clouded future thanks to injury concerns. Houston must not let the running back position fall apart, especially if they plan to bring in a young quarterback. Before an injury impacted his 2014 NFL draft stock, Marion Grice was a rising star out of ArizonaState. Big, strong and possessing good vision and acceleration, he is a solid running back who also showed ability in pass protection and receiving.
Round 6 – Michael Campanaro – WR – Wake Forest
Every team needs this kind of player. From a talent standpoint Michael Campanaro won’t win any awards but he is a proven producer who will burn defenses if not respected. He’s very smart, tougher and stronger than he looks and finds ways to get open. That much was proven at the Senior Bowl. He could become a quality option for Houston in the slot.
Round 7 – Carrington Byndom – CB – Texas
His lean frame and 5’11” height will scare off teams initially but Carrington Byndom has the tools to become more than a seventh round pick. He produced some highlight reel plays at Texans, has the required speed and athleticism according to scouts and showed the hand-eye coordination to make quarterbacks pay for putting the ball anywhere near him. The Houston Texans will like working with that.