With the 2013 season in the dumps for the 2-9 Houston Texans, it's a good time to start looking towards the upcoming draft. Here's a look at draft-eligible prospects the Texans could consider in each round, as the team looks to re-load for the 2014 season.
Teddy Bridgewater - Quarterback - Louisville
It's hard to believe it's come to this, but the Texans are currently slated to be the first team on the clock once the season ends. The top quarterback prospect in the country isn't a bad consolation prize for the miserable 2013 season, however.
Bridgewater isn't without his flaws, but has the arm strength, accuracy and pro polish you look for in a top young signal-caller. He's a multi-read quarterback with plus pocket presence and possesses the type of makeup that should come with a highly-rated, first-round QB. Derek Carr might work his way into consideration here, and if Marcus Mariota declares, he'll be in the conversation too. But for now, Teddy is the guy.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Tight End - Washington
What better way to help out your first-round quarterback than to give him a big target to make easy throws to in the middle of the field? ASJ isn't just a big-bodied receiver (6'6" and 266 pounds) playing tight end, but he's also an outstanding blocker. He can set the edge in the run game and clean it up in pass pro. Most importantly, he has the ball skills of a basketball player and poses a huge mismatch for defenses. He comes from a balanced, pro-style offense at Washington where he was used in-line, split out wide and in the backfield. He should be an every-down player at the next level right away.
ASJ is a first-round talent, but off the field baggage could push him into the second round. I also think his 40-yard dash time might end up in the 4.8 range, which some teams may not like. With Owen Daniels likely on the chopping block, tight end will be a priority, and it isn't a deep draft at the position.
Aaron Donald - Defensive Tackle - Pittsburgh
The next Geno Atkins? Aaron Donald is regarded by many as having the quickest first step of any interior defensive lineman in the draft. He's one of those players who's easy to find on tape because he jumps off the screen when you watch Pitt's D. He's undersized at 6'1" and 285 pounds, which means he won't be for all teams, but he doesn't play small. As a productive, highly disruptive interior lineman, Donald has shown he can use his heavy hands and leverage along with plus explosiveness to slip blocks and rack up tackles for loss.
Donald profiles as a one-gapping one, three or five technique and has the tools to be an elite interior pass rusher. He'd be a good fit as a replacement for Antonio Smith and would bring that twitchiness the Ninja brought to the line in previous seasons.
Telvin Smith - Coverage Linebacker - Florida State
The football factory that is Florida State continues to pump out more defensive studs, as this draft has another handful of them. Telvin Smith lines up at middle and weakside linebacker for the Seminoles and flies sideline to sideline with plus speed for the position. Smith's ability to take on blocks is lacking, however, and it's why he'll find himself in the middle rounds of the draft.
But at 6'3" and 218 pounds, there's still plenty of room to grow into a good-sized NFL linebacker, which could help his take-on skills down the line. Regardless, Smith's ability to cover running backs and tight ends along with his plus movement skills will be coveted by NFL teams and the Texans should be one of them.
Kyle Fuller - Cornerback - Virginia Tech
The Hokies continue to pump out defensive backs and this is another one worth looking at. Kyle Fuller will be a tough prospect for evaluators to grapple with because he's a magnet for the ball and his playmaking skills jump out, but he struggles when he has to play man to man.
Fuller is best used playing off as a zone corner, where he can read the action in front of him and break on it. He's a tough, willing tackler and his game seems to lend more to being a safety. He'll likely run well enough to be drafted as a CB. Regardless, get him on the roster and move him later if you need to (like Glover Quin).
LaDarius Perkins - Running Back - Mississippi State
A small (5'8 and 192 pounds), compact runner with breakaway speed, Perkins could end up being a late-round sleeper in this draft. His size will be his biggest question mark and have many overlooking him, but they shouldn't. He breaks more tackles than you would expect of someone his size and would compliment this Texans backfield well, giving it a much-needed home run hitter. Perkins also has experience on returns.
Jay Prosch - Fullback - Auburn
We'll see if the Texans have an offense that uses a fullback next year, but if they do, Prosch could be one who falls through the cracks in the later rounds. Every offense needs a heavy package with a fullback to get the tough, short yards and this is a good time to take a flier on one. Prosch is one of the top rated fullbacks in the draft and had the honor of making Bruce Feldman's Top 20 Freak List two years in a row.
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