The jury is out on what the Texans are going to do when it comes to the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but ideas are floating around. A trade may be possible, a quarterback is needed; and so is a dynamic outside linebacker. Houston uses a heavy 3-4 defense and new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel does not seem as if he is going to change to a new scheme. Jadeveon Clowney is the most sought after pick in the draft and it may not be too hard to find a potential suitor for the potential, once in a decade, pass rusher. The cost for the number one overall draft pick is very steep, and whomever desires the pass rushing talent out of South Carolina is going to pay a fool’s ransom to get it. Either way, the first round may be quick and exciting for the Texans, but the following rounds have many wondering who Houston should be looking at in the following rounds.
A quarterback is badly needed, but it all depends on what first round move Houston does decide to make. Everyone knows about the A.J. McCarrons or the Zach Mettenbergers who float around as potential second or third round picks, but the real challenge for the Texans is finding someone they can draft in the later rounds who could have starter potential. One name that has been quietly moving up the draft ranks is Tom Savage. The strong-armed quarterback bounced around from school to school until finding a home with Pittsburgh. He produced solid numbers as a starter, throwing for 21 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. Savage would provide the adequate size at the position and the pocket poise to be a credible late-round pick. Another quarterback who has flown under the radar and may be a decent pick up in the 5th or 6th rounds is former Texas Longhorns quarterback, Garrett Gilbert. After a few rough years in Austin, Gilbert finally found a home at SMU. He is a prototype quarterback who stands 6’4 with great arm-strength. The Texans do not have to go all-in on a quarterback if they don’t feel it is necessary, as there are a few other options available in the later rounds.
If Houston does decide to go the route of drafting someone like Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles with their first pick, an outside linebacker or a safety could be the next position up. An outside linebacker like Kyle Van Noy out of BYU would be ideal for their 3-4 scheme. A safety like Deone Bucannon would be a valuable pick-up and could start from day one. Honestly though, those late gems are players you cherish only if they come onto a team and produce from the get-go. A big sleeper that may be available in the 3rd or 4th rounds is North Carolina free safety Tre Boston. Boston is very reliable in pass coverage and covers a wide distance at his safety position. With 13 interceptions in four years of college, the defensive star has shown a knack for creating plays when the opportunity presents itself. Another notable defensive player is linebacker Yawin Smallwood out of Connecticut. He can play both positions, possessing the speed to play in coverage and the strength to be a dynamic pass rusher in blitz packages.
There are more players who could become more than just another pick in the NFL for Houston. An offensive lineman in the later rounds would be a valuable pick-up, and another tight end would not hurt at all either. All in all, the record of last season does not resemble the talent that is on this team. A turnaround under Bill O’Brien is near, and with a great draft under his belt, who knows how far a few gems in the draft would carry this team.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer covering the Houston Texans