26. RLB Whitney Mercilus A
I actually had Whitney Mercilus as my 6th rated prospect. I think he’s the best pass rusher in this draft class. He’s got a great motor and worked himself up the draft chart to have 22.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, and 9 forced fumbles last season. He’s a refined pass rusher and a great athlete. He could have an Aldon Smith type impact right away. He’s a one year wonder, but that’s not his fault. Every chance he had to play, he dominated and if he had returned to school and had another strong year, he could have been a top 5-10 pick next year.
I didn’t have rush linebacker as a big need for the Texans even after losing Mario Williams because they managed 44 sacks last year even with Williams missing 11 games. However, they could always use another pass rusher to go with Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin and Mercilus was the biggest steal of the first round according to my board. The Texans could have a scary pass rush for years to come.
68. WR DeVier Posey C
Heh? I had a 5th round grade on Posey and thought he might not even get drafted. In fact, I don’t think I had him in my final mock draft at all because he didn’t have a single private workout with a team and I didn’t think anyone would take a chance on this guy sight unseen. He’s a good player, but he’s still really raw and he had a terrible Senior Bowl. Then, of course, there was the Ohio State scandal, which kept him out of action for most of this season. This was a reach, but at least it filled a need. There were much better receivers available.
76. G Brandon Brooks A-
The Texans needed a guard, but this is a bit early for Brooks and I don’t know how well he fits their scheme. He’s much bigger than the offensive linemen they normally have, but he had a great 40 time and moved pretty well on tape for someone his size. They could fit him into their scheme and he could be a starting guard for them long term.
99. C Ben Jones B
They just resigned Chris Myers, but Jones can provide depth at guard as well, and competition for Brooks, just a 3rd rounder, and Wade Smith, who was Houston’s worst offensive lineman last season.
121. WR Keshawn Martin C-
Another receiver, another reach. I didn’t have Martin in my top 250 at all. That might be fine if it was the 6th or 7th round. This is the 4th and they did have other needs.
126. 3-4 DE Jared Crick A
Crick is an excellent value here. I had a 3rd round grade on him and he could have gone in the 2nd had he stayed healthy this year. He’ll provide needed depth on the defensive line, though I’m not sure what they’re planning on doing at nose tackle.
161. K Randy Bullock B-
They needed a kicker, but this is too early for Bullock. You can always get a kicker in the 7th round. There’s not much difference between them. He was a draftable kicker on my board, however.
195. OT Nick Mondek B-
They needed a right tackle, but I don’t know if Mondek counts. He was on my top 250 board. In fact, this was the first I had heard of him, one of only 10 or so such prospects. In the 6th round so it’s not too bad.
There was a lot of good and a lot of bad for the Texans in this draft. They got an amazing steal in Whitney Mercilus at 26 and, while he doesn’t fill a huge need, he’ll help add to an already good pass rush. However, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin were reaches at receiver, a position they really needed to hit on. They had Rueben Randle in the late 2nd. Why did they trade down? Jared Crick was a great value and Ben Jones provides depth at 3 positions. Brandon Brooks could be a long term starter for them as well. However, Randy Bullock was drafted a couple rounds two early and Nick Mondek came out of nowhere.
They didn’t fill a need at nose tackle and they should have addressed the right tackle position earlier. The receivers they got were not very good and I’m surprised they didn’t grab another tight end given how much they rely on them. Garrett Graham was a 4th round pick in 2010 who is set to play a lot of snaps in 2012. Maybe he’ll be good, but I don’t know why they didn’t take at least one developmental one to start as a #3 tight end and work his way up the depth chart.