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Grading the Houston Texans Draft Picks


Caleb Colmenero

Yes, I know giving a team a certain draft grade right after the draft cannot be measured right away. It usually takes 2-3 years to see how each and every player pans out in the NFL. But in this article I will be grading each draft pick based on talent/value, and if I think it was a smart move by the team.

Round 1: Pick 1- Jadeveon Clowney, DE: This was obviously the most talented, athletic, and intriguing player in this year’s draft. He is often considered a once-in-a-generation talent, so tell me how Rick Smith could pass up on him? The Texans were in a similar situation like they were in 2006 when they took Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Houston was in a tricky situation since they had no quarterback, but decided it was best not to reach on a quarterback. WARNING: Pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt may give AFC South quarterbacks nightmares. GRADE: A+

Round 2: Pick 33- Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG: Many thought that the Texans would take a quarterback here, but they ended up taking the best offensive guard in this class. Houston does need improvement at the guard position, so this was not bad pick here. Sua-Filo is an excellent run-blocker who can open up running lanes. This pick by the Texans was probably made to signify the importance of Houston’s run game next year since they don’t really have a franchise quarterback at the moment. GRADE: B+

Round 3: Pick 65- CJ Fiedorowicz,TE: I was generally surprised when the Texans didn’t go quarterback here, but they probably felt none were of value at the time. Tight end was not a major need for the Texans, so I questioned this pick a bit. Regardless, Fiedorowicz can be a good fit in O’Brien’s offense. He is an excellent run blocker, and although he wasn’t much of a pass-catcher at Iowa, he can still get the job done. Fiedorowicz can be the no.2 tight end on the depth chart if he does well before the regular season starts. There were still many other holes to fill at this point, especially on defense, but the Texans still went offense here. GRADE: C+

Round 3: Pick 83- Louis Nix III, DT: This was not only an excellent fit for Romeo Crennel’s scheme, but a great pick/value in round 3. The Texans did have to trade their 4th and 5th round pick in order to trade up for Nix III, but he was given a first round grade by many scouts/experts. He was hurt for a majority of the 2013 season, but was an absolute playmaker when on the field. If the Texans can figure out a way to get him into better shape, a line with Clowney/Watt/and Nix III can be deadly to an offensive line. GRADE: A

Round 4: (Compensatory) Pick 135- Tom Savage, QB: Here it is! Houston finally selects a quarterback... in the fourth round. Many did not expect for the Texans to wait until the fourth round to choose a quarterback, but it just so happened that way. I believe they were originally targeting Jimmy Garoppolo in round 3, but the Patriots snagged him in the 2nd round. Savage rose up many draft boards towards the end of the draft process, and that was due to his prototypical size and strong arm. Savage is the kind of quarterback that can fit Bill O’Brien’s system. He is still raw in terms of anticipation throwing, footwork, and mechanics, but I don’t think he would be pressured to start right away. Savage has a chance to be a solid starter in the NFL if he can be groomed for at least one year. GRADE: B

Round 6: Pick 177- Jeoffrey Pagan, DE: This is where the Texans started to pick for need, rather than best player available. Many teams start to do so towards the end of the draft, so it is not a bad strategy. Pagan is a big defensive end who played in many complex formations at Alabama. He is a better fit in a 3-4 defense, which is exactly why the Texans selected him. The Texans are thin at defensive line depth, so this was a pretty good pick here. Pagan can definitely come in and be a great rotational player his first season in the NFL. GRADE: B

Round 6: Pick 181- Alfred Blue, RB: I fully expected the Texans to take a running back somewhere in the draft and they ended up taking one in the 6th round. At first, I completely disagreed with the pick since Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk was still on the board. Then the more I studied his game, the more I started to realize that this was not a bad move. Blue was the starter at LSU before numerous injuries caused him to lose his starting job. He has the potential to be a useful running back in the NFL, and it never hurts to have a solid backup with an injury-prone starter in Arian Foster. GRADE: B-

Round 6: (Compensatory) Pick 211- Jay Prosch, FB: After choosing not to re-sign full back Greg Jones, it immediately opened up a hole at the fullback position. Jay Prosch was arguably the best fullback in the draft, as he dominated in college at Auburn. Prosch is a great run-game asset. Not only can he open up holes for the lead runner, but can also catch out of the backfield for the Texans. This pick certainly made Arian Foster happy. GRADE: A-

Round 7: Pick 216- Andre Hal, CB: The Texans have emphasized that they plan on playing with a nickel package on defense in 2014. This means that they were going to need a reliable slot corner. The Texans have already re-signed cornerback Elbert Mack, but he isn’t used much outside of special teams. This is Hal’s chance to win a starting spot on defense, and since he was a former track star, he has the speed and agility to make it possible. GRADE: B+

Round 7: Pick 256 - Lonnie Ballentine, S: There is a reason why they call the last pick in the draft “ Mr. Irrelevant “. But Lonnie Ballentine has a chance to actually make an impact as Mr. Irrelevant. He possesses a large frame, standing at 6’3’’ and weighing in at 215lbs. This is similar to Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks, who was selected in the 5th round in 2010. There is obviously a reason why he was the last pick in the draft, but if he can clean up his footwork and tackling skills, he can be molded into something special. GRADE: C+

Leave your comments on why/why not you disagree with me. Follow me on Twitter @ColmeneroNFL


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The Texans got great value thoughout the draft. Can't help but be scared of their and Jacksonville's hauls.

I think both teams will improve from last year, so it's going to be an interesting race in the AFC South.

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That Texans defense was outstanding 2 years ago. I think they can return to that form.

Yup but sadly good players cost a lot of money. I guess that's why it's best to "build through the draft"
Lucas Polglaze likes this

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I think Houston had a beast of a draft.  To get Nix when they did is amazing.  How do you get the draft's best interior offensive lineman, the draft's best edge rusher AND the draft's best nose tackle?!

Lucas Polglaze likes this

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I think Houston had a beast of a draft. To get Nix when they did is amazing. How do you get the draft's best interior offensive lineman, the draft's best edge rusher AND the draft's best nose tackle?!

It took a 4th and 5th rounder to get Nix, but it could be well worth it. They took the best value at each position in my opinion.

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It took a 4th and 5th rounder to get Nix, but it could be well worth it. They took the best value at each position in my opinion.

aaaaaaand then they took Savage.

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Not a fan of old rookies or overrated/overdrafted QBs.

I agree on the old rookie part, but he's not Brandon Weeden old. Media caused him to be overrated due to longer pre-draft period. 4th round is not a bad value.

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Game Managers do the same things, manage the game.

Game management is a valuable attribute for a NFL QB. Peyton Manning, for example, is an excellent game manager. Alex Smith is a good game manager. But he's more than that IMHO. He can make plays with both his legs and arm. He's not a top 5 QB, but his 2013 campaign convinced me that he is top 10. Fitzpatrick is bottom 1/3.

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Game management is a valuable attribute for a NFL QB. Peyton Manning, for example, is an excellent game manager. Alex Smith is a good game manager. But he's more than that IMHO. He can make plays with both his legs and arm. He's not a top 5 QB, but his 2013 campaign convinced me that he is top 10. Fitzpatrick is bottom 1/3.

I don't think he's top ten, but he cardinals is serviceable. Ryan Fitzpatrick smarts is what is keeping him in the league, yet he still makes some dumb decisions...
Chad Jensen likes this

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Manning, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Ryan, Rivers, Luck, Roethlisberger, Romo, Smith, Stafford, E Manning, Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton.

That's my top 15. Smith narrowly cracks the top 10.

Caleb Colmenero likes this

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Manning, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Ryan, Rivers, Luck, Roethlisberger, Romo, Smith, Stafford, E Manning, Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton.

That's my top 15. Smith narrowly cracks the top 10.

I would gladly take Wilson, Stafford and Newton over Smith. Interesting order though.

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