March 20, 2018

SOTT’s Texans Seven Round Mock Draft 2.0

To determine which players would be available for each pick, I used the prospect rankings from CBS Sports. The draft obviously won’t go in the exact order of any website’s rankings, but to avoid guessing on availability in the late rounds, I will go by the list from CBS. As long as a player is ranked within three spots of the Texans pick, I will consider them available. Some players were selected a little early, but since I’m not factoring in trading back (endless possibilities), I had to choose between taking them early or losing them to another team. Note that the rank listed for each player is as of the time this article posted on 04/04/2014. Also note that I made picks based on what I think they should do, not necessarily what they will do.

For a scouts take I asked for the opinion of Jayson Braddock on most of these players. Braddock is a scout, NFL draft analyst, and a great follow on twitter. In particular his tweets busting the Clowney work ethic myth were very good and should put that non-sense to bed. Read that article compiled here and check below my selections for Jayson Braddock’s take. Jayson and I don’t agree in our evaluation of every player but I thought it was important to get more than just my own opinion when posting this mock draft.


jadeveon-clowneyFirst Round, 1st Overall – Jadeveon Clowney (DE/OLB – South Carolina, 1st overall prospect)

Quarterback is not only the most important position in football, but the most important in any sport in my opinion. If there was a quarterback in this class that I loved, I wouldn’t even consider another position, but sadly that isn’t the case. Of the quarterbacks available, Teddy Bridgewater is the closest to being that guy, but questions about his size, arm strength, and ceiling have me worried enough to go in a different direction. If I had to take a quarterback number one, it would be Bridgewater.

With Jadeveon Clowney, the Texans are getting the best overall prospect in the draft and an impact player on the defensive side, where they had more holes going into this off-season. Coach O’Brien has said Clowney will move around and play different positions if the Texans select him. I expect most of his snaps will come as a stand up rush linebacker, but he’ll likely also spend a decent amount of time with his hand on the ground when the Texans go into their nickel package or some sort of 3rd down special pass rush package. The brilliance of J.J. Watt has hidden some of the Texans flaws, but there’s no doubt that they need another pass rusher. No other player besides Watt has gotten more than 7 sacks over the last two seasons.

No matter how great Watt is, a one-man pass rush isn’t effective because it’s too easy to game plan against. Double team Watt and have a tight end or running back chip him, and no matter great he is, his production will slow down if the entire offense focuses on him. By adding maybe the best pass rushing prospect over the last decade, you not only add his individual talent, but with attention going to Clowney, more one on one situations will open for other teammates to exploit, including Watt who should face fewer double and triple teams.

Pro-days don’t boost my opinion of a player, I moved Clowney to the number one spot several weeks ago as I started to think about potential changes to the last mock draft; well before his pro-day. If this was a choice between Clowney and Andrew Luck as a prospect, no question, I’d take the quarterback. CBS has Blake Bortles ranked as the top QB prospect and I have more questions on him than Manziel and Bridgewater combined. If it was close, I’d take the best quarterback, but it’s not close; Clowney is by far the best overall prospect in this draft.

On Manziel, he did several things very well at his pro-day but a few of my biggest questions on him weren’t answered. The way he holds the ball with one hand by his waist while running, and his tendency to be impatient in the pocket and run after making just one or two reads can’t be answered by a pro-day. The flaws with his mechanics like throwing off his back foot looked better, but lets see what happens when he has a linebacker chasing him down; muscle memory seems to kick in when pressured and forced to react quickly. Manziel also had a tendency in college to overlook easy completions and instead force a pass into coverage in an attempt to make a big play; that question can’t be answered during a pro-day. Manziel may turn into an All-Pro, but why take the risk when a prospect like Clowney is available?

Other Option – Teddy Bridgewater (QB – Louisville)

Scouts Take by Jayson Braddock:

Crennel’s recent defense in Kansas City isn’t the ideal fit for JJ Watt or Jadeveon Clowney.  It doesn’t have to be.  It’s April!  After meeting and being around Watt on the practice field and IF they draft Clowney, he’ll dig into his bag of tricks and pull out mismatches.  What does that mean?  Glad you asked.  It means that the team will have Clowney with his hand down at times, standing on occasion, move him into the center of the defense or “floating” / “roaming” to dictate to the offense how they’ll play defense.  Wade Phillips shortcomings came at the hands of not being willing to adapt.  Crennel’s strength is to put pressure up front on the offense in a multitude of way and demand his “centerfielder”, or the free safety in this defense to band-aid the back end.  Having 10 men in the vicinity of the action allows Crennel to dictate what he wants to do with any of his players.  Great coaches adapt to the talent that they’re provided with, instead of asking the talent to adapt to a scheme.

Too much is made of 3-4 or 4-3 in today’s NFL.  It’s a pass happy league.  At the end of the day, you need a player that can stress the quarterback quickly, stop the run, and allow players on the back to take risks due to limited coverage time.  Jadeveon Clowney fits that role, perfectly.


th (94)Second Round, 33rd Overall – Stephon Tuitt (DT/DE – Notre Dame, 40th overall prospect)

My pick here in the first version of this mock was OLB Kyle Van Hoy from BYU. My opinion on Van Hoy hasn’t changed, I still think he’s an undervalued prospect who will turn into a very good player, but with the selection of Clowney in the first round, it would be wise to address a different position. With Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus already on the roster, adding a fourth outside linebacker would be a poor use of their assets over adding a player at a position of greater need. Watt will obviously occupy one of the defensive end spots, but the starter on the other side is still a question. Jared Crick could be that player, but even if he is, they still need quality defensive line depth.

Tuitt I believe will be a nice fit as an every down 5 technique with his good combination of size (304 pounds), length (6-6), and quickness (played as an edge rusher at times in college). He’ll also provide nice versatility by being able to slide over to the defensive tackle position in special pass rush packages like Antonio Smith did in previous seasons.

Other Option – Kyle Van Hoy (OLB – BYU)

Scouts Take by Jayson Braddock:

The Texans are lacking for a true defensive end in a 3-4 scheme that can utilize the 2-gap that Romeo Crennel has ran predominantly in Kansas City.  Tuitt is a first round talent, in my opinion.  He definitely can hold the point of attack and uses his strength / arms well to bench press the offensive lineman off him to create separation to tackle the ball carrier.  He’s agile for 300+ pounds, but what sticks out in his game is how he uses his 34 ¾” arms to dictate the trench battle.

Tuitt has a great swim move that catches offensive linemen off guard.  He didn’t show great balance on getting the edge as a pass rusher at Notre Dame, but that wouldn’t be a concern with the Texans for the bulk of his reps.  Tuitt is a great fit for the Texans as a talented 5 tech that can set the edge and force running back to the holes he dictates, allowing his linebackers to make plays.  There’s just two big problems.  1)  I don’t think Stephon makes it to pick #33.  2)  His best position in my mind is as a 3 technique in a 4-3 scheme.  His ability to penetrate a gap and disrupt in the backfield, combined with the ability to hold the point, makes him a difficult player to pass on for a 4-3 team.  However, if he’s there at #33, Houston would definitely have to kick his name around in the bullpen.

th (95)Third Round, 65th Overall – Zach Mettenberger (QB – LSU, 89th overall prospect)

Has prototypical size (6-5, 224 pounds) and arm strength; he definitely looks the part. Mettenberger made huge strides during his one year with former NFL coach Cam Cameron as his offensive coordinator and I think he has big upside if paired with another quarterback guru; Bill O’Brien is that guy. At Penn State O’Brien took a below average college quarterback named Matt McGloin and turned him into a quarterback who made six starts in the NFL last year. McGloin completed 54% of his passes with 8 TD/5 INT and a 118.3 QB rating during his junior season, the year before O’Brien arrived. The next season, McGloin completed 60.5% of his passes with 24 TD/5 INT and a 137.7 QB rating during his senior season with O’Brien as his coach. Mettenberger showed flashes of being a very good quarterback last season, I think O’Brien can get the best out of him.

All that said, there is a reason he’s ranked as a third round prospect. Mettenberger is a statue in the pocket, only had one good season of production, and is recovering from an ACL injury in December. The injury may work some in his favor by forcing the team who drafts him to be patient and let him stand on the sideline for maybe a half a season; I don’t think he’d be ready to start day one even if he was fully healthy. Ryan Fitzpatrick will most likely be the starter going into the season but I think Mettenberger could take his job by November if O’Brien is open to it being a true competition.

Other Option – Chris Borland (ILB – Wisconsin)

Scouts Take by Jayson Braddock:

This draft screams draft a quarterback in the 2nd or 3rd round.  If I were to take a quarterback in the first round, it would be Teddy Bridgewater.  The problem is, I believe you can find players of a higher caliber or at least equal to Bridgewater in the next 2 rounds at quarterback.

Mettenberger has been my #4 quarterback since early February.  He has great size and frame.  He doesn’t lack for arms and routinely showed the ability to throw from the far hash to the field sideline.  Throws with anticipation outside of the numbers.  The velocity and anticipation prevent defensive backs from jumping these routes.  At LSU, Zach took a ton of reps from under center, ran a bunch of play action and is comfortable with his back to the defense.

Mettenberger places the ball on the outside shoulder on sideline routes from 20-45 with ease.  He can scan partial to the full field when going thru progressions.  I believe the offense held him back as he showed tremendous growth from 2012 to 2013 and should be a much better pro that collegiate quarterback.  Has the ability to fit the ball in closing windows and showed touch and/or velocity throws.  Has controlled touch in the red zone.

Negatives, Zach sometimes doesn’t show up big in key moments.  He tends to make crucial mistakes that lead to an unfavorable outcome.  During some games, I saw unexplainable inaccuracies on quick slants that came out of nowhere.  His pocket awareness was lacking, as was his mobility and these traits led to unnecessary sacks.

He struggled with rolling out and throwing to his left.  These were hit or miss throws, even inside of 10 yards.  He has to become more dependable in the accuracy department.  Slight misses are still misses and he tends to throw the ball a tad too far, behind, high or low.  These “minor” misses turned into interceptions and this flaw gets magnified at the next level.

4th Round, 101st Overall – Shayne Skov (ILB – Stanford, 114th overall prospect)

A physical play-maker who is straight out of central casting at the inside linebacker position. Displayed excellent instincts and an aggressive nature at Stanford which also led to one of his few flaws when he’d get too aggressive and take himself out of plays. There aren’t many things in his game to knock, surprised he’s rated as only a 4th round prospect. That might be partially due to him being limited in what schemes he can play in; he’s pretty much only a 3-4 ILB, perfect for the Texans. Skov is physical, aggressive, instinctual, and make plays; everything you want out of a linebacker.

Other Options – Phillip Gaines (CB – Rice)

Scouts Take by Jayson Braddock:

I called Skov, Cushing Junior.  He may not have the ceiling of Brian Cushing, but the animalistic mindset is definitely apparent.  If the world went back into the dark ages tomorrow, there is no question that Skov and Cushing would be the first two guys to suggest devouring people as a source of meat.  They already do it on the gridiron.

Skov is aggressive!  He brings the contact to the ball, instead of passively waiting for the action to come to him 2-3 yards pass the line of scrimmage.  He shows the ability to spy a quarterback and reads the blueprint of the offense.  He slams into the line with reckless abandonment, just looking to make a play at all cost.  He looks good dropping and reads the quarterback’s eyes but is at his best attacking.  He’s smart and allows the play to show itself to him and then attacks.

4th Round, 135th Overall – Jon Halapio (Guard – Florida, 135th overall prospect)

Strong run blocker who had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. Halapio made 43 career starts at Florida and was twice named at team captain for the Gators. Scouts say he had some up and down moments in pass protection but I don’t mind taking a middle round risk on a guy who is physically imposing (6-4, 323 pounds) like Halapio. With Wade Smith gone, the Texans have a big need at left guard.

Other Options – Offensive tackle

5th Round, 141st Overall – James White (RB – Wisconsin, 161st overall prospect)

The Texans have to grab a young running back in the draft. With Ben Tate gone, they’ll at least need another option to lighten the load as Foster returns from back surgery and is starting to reach the end of his prime. Scouts praise White’s speed, vision, and hands as a receiver, but his size (5-9) is a concern. White put up big numbers at Wisconsin (averaged over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns per year over four seasons) but only went over 200 carries once because he was asked to split time with other good backs like Melvin Gordon and Montee Ball. His average of 160.75 carries per season would have ranked him 85th in rush attempts last season; he still has plenty of tread left on the tires.

Other Option – Jalen Saunders (WR – Oklahoma)


6th Round, 177th Overall – Max Bullough (ILB – Michigan State, 197th overall prospect)

A three-year starter at Michigan State, Bullough is a tough, throwback player and from all reports a good leader. Bullough has a chance to excel at the pro level against the run, but will likely be just a two-down player due to a lack of pass coverage skill. I’d be surprised if he pushed for much playing time early on, but he’d provide quality depth which they need at inside linebacker and could make an impact on special teams.


th (97)6th Round, 181st Overall – Brett Smith (QB – Wyoming, 203rd overall prospect)

Bill O’Brien mentioned recently that they may take multiple quarterbacks, an idea that I agree with completely. The Texans don’t have their future quarterback on the roster, so why not take a look a multiple rookies and see if one shows something. Spending a first and second/third round pick in the same draft on quarterbacks would be foolish, but a 3rd and 6th when the Texans have multiple picks in several rounds, I say why not? Odds are neither will be stars, but since they have extra picks, I like the strategy of throwing multiple darts at the board in the hope that one of them hits the bulls eye.

Brett Smith is a long shot, but is a good athlete and is described as a guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder; I love taking late round risks on guys like that.

Scouts Take by Jayson Braddock:

Brett Smith has the elusiveness of a Johnny Manziel, albeit not to the same extent, obviously.  He showed the arm strength slightly below a Derek Carr.  The ability to go through progressions like a Teddy Bridgewater.  So, why isn’t he getting more publicity?

Brett Smith has an awkward delivery that I’m not so thrilled with and his frame needs to add bulk.  Sounds familiar?  It should, it’s the exact same discussion we had about Colin Kaepernick a few years back.  He also didn’t take a lot of reps from under center, same as one young Kaepernick.

Brett Smith takes a lot of chances with the ball and isn’t afraid to take risk by trying to fit the ball into an evaporating window.  He showed tremendous growth from a sophomore to a junior and there is no reason to expect his learning to be capped after leaving Wyoming to head into an NFL training facility and learn from NFL coaching.

Smith has better command on his touch and velocity than any other quarterback prospect in this class.  He’s an escape artist out of the pocket with 4.4 speed that allows him to beat defenders with his legs or with the accuracy of his arms that he displayed at Wyoming.

All of these quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft have huge weaknesses.  I can’t come to terms with drafting one high that you’ll have to project development into, when there are prospects that should become better NFL signal callers and you don’t have to spend a day 1 or possibly day 2 pick on.

At worst Brett Smith will have a Jake Plummer type of career, in my opinion.  At best, he could turn out to be in a similar class to  Robert Griffin III.

6th Round, 211th Overall – A.C. Leonard (TE – Tennessee State, 213th overall prospect)

I like Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin, but the Texans still need depth at the position. Leonard’s 40-yard dash time (4.50) and vertical jump number (34 inches) indicate he’s a pretty good athlete for the position. Scouts don’t like his blocking ability at this point but has good upside as a receiver. At this point in the draft, why not take a good athlete at a need position and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle?.


th (99)7th Round, 216th Overall – Trey Millard (FB – Oklahoma, 239th overall prospect)

Getting the versatile Sooner fullback in the 7th round would be a huge steal. His slip in the rankings are partly due to the position he plays but likely more due to the season ending knee injury he suffered during a win over Texas Tech in late October. I love the selection of Millard here because he’s an effective blocker which is obviously crucial to the position, but also proved to be an effective runner and receiver in college. Millard lost just one fumble in 98 career attempts and had 70 receptions including 7 receiving touchdowns during his time in Norman. My guess is he won’t be ready when the season starts because of the injury, but I don’t mind waiting since he’s only a 7th round pick. Scouts praise his competitive spirit, leadership skills, and intangibles; he can do it all, think of him as a Swiss Army Knife.


th (100)7th Round, 256th Overall – Antonio Andrews (RB – Western Kentucky, 257th overall prospect)

Andrews is a versatile back that showed ability as a receiver in college on top of excelling as a runner. The small school back rushed for 1,700+ yards and went over 400 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons. Those numbers were good enough to lead all of college football in yards from scrimmage in 2013 and finish third in that stat in 2012. Scouts like his size, vision, and ability to pick up extra yards, but there are obviously several weak spots in his game considering he’s rated as a 7th round pick. According to scouts Andrews lacks NFL speed and won’t be able to beat defenders to the edge or breakaway once he gets through the first level. Another issue that has caused concern is his balance and tendency to stumble or shuffle his feet after contact, giving defenders an opportunity to bring him down.


4 Responses to “SOTT’s Texans Seven Round Mock Draft 2.0”
  1. Louie Partain says:

    Great mock draft Brian, just wondering about a slot receiver. Draft or FA, or both?

  2. manuel says:

    PERFECT!! just what i envisioned. no one remembers but mettenberger was at 1st round prospect before his injury love the pick. and especially love the skov pick and comparison to cushing jr. fingers crossed that the texans draft similar to this

  3. C Royal says:

    Horrible draft….You got 2 underachieving defensive linemen in the draft who both lacks a motor…Truits highlights were terrible! And then you got us taking a QB coming off of a ACL SURGERY…that might not even be there…if you wait that long and our guy is not there we take another backup caliber QB later on in the draft…thats not very smart! then where are the slot WR and the RB, homerun hitter that we need is RB Lache Seastruck in the 4th…..You got TWO GUYS THAT WONT BE THERE (tRUIT,zACH)… and no WR and no CB!? smh

  4. chris says:

    I hope the tex don’t, take your opinion.

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