Posted by Adam Kaplan on Monday, February 14, 2011
Game Of Inches Mock Draft (so far):
1) Carolina Panthers- DT Nick Fairley (Auburn)
2) Denver Broncos- DE Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson)
3) Buffalo Bills- CB Patrick Peterson (LSU)
4) Cincinnati Bengals- WR A.J. Green (Georgia)
5) Arizona Cardinals- QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
6) Cleveland Browns- OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)
7) San Fransisco 49ers- CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
8) Tennessee Titans- QB Cam Newton (Auburn)
9) Dallas Cowboys- DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama)
10) Washington Redskins- DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)
I don't need to do any research, I know what the Texans problems were in 2010: their defensive secondary. Houston was third in the league in total yards given up, first in the league in passing yards given up but only 20th in the league in rushing yards given up. The Texans were also 4th overall in total points given up. According to Football Outsiders the Texans had the worst passing defense and the 24th best rushing defense. The Texans were the 27th best team defending opposing number one wide receivers, the 29th best team defending opposing number two receivers, third to worst team defending opposing tight ends, and the worst team defending RB's who caught the ball. This passing defense was bad.
However, this team doesn't just have some good defensive parts, they have some great defensive parts. First overall selection Mario Williams is one of the best defensive ends in the game. Linebacker Brian Cushing is a beast among men (even without steroids) and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye is only 23 years old but has been in the league four years and is a first round talent. Plus they have former defensive Rookie of the Year LB DeMeco Ryans. This defense just doesn't have some nice, complementary pieces, they have some amazing defensive pieces that you can build a franchise around. But the one thing the aforementioned players have in common: they do not play in the secondary. The Texans lost CB Duante Robinson to free agency in the offseason and boy howdy did that defense suffer.
However, this is a completely correctable problem. The first step is to hire a great defensive coordinator which they did in Wade Phillips. The second is to draft a defensive back. The best available DB is cornerback Jimmy Smith out of Colorado. While Mel Kiper doesn't put Smith in his top 25, Scout's Inc ranks Smith as the 10th best prospect and Kiper has Smith ranked as the third best corner behind Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara.
This team has some franchise parts on offense as well. They have the best wide receiver in the game in Andre Johnson, they have one of the best running backs in the game, a guy who can catch the ball very well and run 25+ times a game in Arian Foster, they have a great quarterback in Matt Schaub and a top five tight end in Owen Daniels. This offense is stacked at its skill positions.
Last year Houston had the fourth best run blocking offensive line and the 12th best passing offensive line. They had the best blocking center, the 10th best blocking right guard and the 12th best left guard. Their biggest weakness on the offensive line was in one position you really need, left tackle, which ranked 20th.
With all these great players in key positions it's baffling that the Texans did so poorly. I believe the main reason is that Gary Kubiak is not that good of a head coach. If he's the one responsible for drafting all these great players that he gets a lot of credit in my book. But when a team that's as talented as the Texans are performs as poorly as they have been, then I think the coach is to blame.
In the next few rounds I think the Texans should look at receivers to help compliment Andre Johnson/ an electric kick returner to help their 27th rank kickoff average and of course some more defensive backs.
Oh, and in case you missed it like the the fact James Woods was the villain in Aquaman because things went by so fast, the Texans will be drafting Smith.
- Defensive Backs
They need SOMETHING to help that putrid secondary
- Wide Receivers/ Kick Returner
Don't settle for Jacoby Jones or Kevin Walter
- Offensive Lineman
You can never have enough quality offensive lineman