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Since Marc Vandermeer and John Lopez put together Texans-only mock drafts, I’ll have to follow suit and give my predictions for Thursday’s NFL Draft. Obviously, we can debate who will actually be available at these picks, but I’ll take a best guess based on a couple of internet mock drafts.
Round 1 (11 overall) – Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
Aren’t you getting the vibe this is the way the Texans are leaning? Wade Phillips has engineered huge turnarounds at each of his stops as the defensive coordinator. The key to those quick starts? Pressure on the quarterback. The easiest way for Houston to improve on defense will be to rush Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, and Smith around the edge for sixty minutes. That can help protect a weaker secondary.
Round 2 (42 overall) - Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
If the Texans go with an edge rusher in the first round, they’ll almost certainly need to start picking defensive backs in the second round. I like that Williams has the versatility to play on the outside or at safety, because we know this team needs depth at both positions. He’s 204 pounds, so you’re not getting one of these lithe DBs that needs to put on a lot of weight.
Round 3 (73 overall) - Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State
Yes, you could say I think the secondary is a big need for the Texans. Chekwa is more of a speed merchant than Williams, and is a pure cornerback on the outside. I like players who have competed at the highest levels against good wide receivers, and Chekwa fits that bill.
Round 4 (105 overall) - Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame
I buy the idea that Phillips believes in what he says on the defensive line with Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell. Still, the Texans need to add some more players inside, especially switching to a 3-4. Williams has enough size (319 pounds) to be an anchor inside, and he’s known as a very high-effort player, which this front office will like.
Round 5 (138 overall) - Mike Mohamed, LB, Cal
At some point, Houston will need to add more players at the linebacker spot, since they will now be starting 4 players at that position. This is really a guessing game here, but Mohamed has size (6-3 and 209 pounds) and played in a 3-4 with the Bears. I’m strongly guessing the Texans will pick a linebacker at some point throughout this draft.
Round 6 (178 overall) - Ronald Johnson, WR, USC
Johnson was a huge recruit coming out of Muskegon, MI a couple of years ago. He always flashed lots of ability with the Trojans, but never put together a high level of production. He has excellent speed, but only decent size. The Texans must add a WR to develop behind Andre Johnson, and round 6 is a decent place to do just that.
Round 7 (214 overall) - Darius Morris, OL, Temple
Offensive line isn’t a huge need for the Texans, but you always want to add some depth in that area. Rashad Butler could leave via free agency, which would leave a gaping hole at the swing tackle position. Morris has good size and versatility.