The Texans filled major holes in the draft last year with the additions of JJ Watt, Brooks Reed and the surprising TJ Yates, but the rest of the draft will likely wait until 2012 to show their wares. Defensive backs Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael played sparingly or not at all (Carmichael), but Yates filled in admirably after Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart had their campaigns ended early. Derek Newton and Shiloh Keo figure as immediate depth along the offensive line and on special teams, respectively.
Here is an initial trio of players the Houston Texans could target with their first round pick this year, number 26.
Kevin Walter is most valued for his blocking, but is miscast as a number two wide receiver. Jacoby Jones has shown brief flashes, but he has yet to emerge as the playmaker the Texans have waited for five years. Beyond that, journeyman Bryant Johnson and undrafted free agent Jeff Maehl fill out the depth chart. Kendall Wright gives the Texans another deep ball threat and loosens the middle of the field for tight end Owen Daniels to work. A selection of Wright could require a trade into, at least, the middle of the first round.
The Texans have Antonio Smith and 2011 first-rounder JJ Watt as starters in the 3-4 scheme. Crick would be added to a rotation of Smith, Watt and Tim Jamison.
The two-time All-Big 12 defensive lineman would add a versatile pass-rushing skillset and lock down the ends for outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed to penetrate the offensive backfield. He wouldn’t be a luxury pick, but the team would definitely be adding to a perceived strength. Injury concerns stemming from his season-ending pectoral injury could allow Crick to fall to the Texans at number 26.
If it wasn’t for Darren Sproles, Johnathan Joseph would be talked about as the best free-agent acquisition of the abbreviated 2011 offseason. That said, the team still needs help on the other side. Kareem Jackson still has problems locating the ball as it reaches the receiver, but wasn’t as bad as his rookie year. Dennard would provide competition for the number two cornerback spot as 2011 draftees Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael look to regain their footing in 2012.