2011 NFL Draft Winners: Houston Texans

I thought there were a few NFL teams that had drafts that stood above the rest.  I already spotlighted the Saints, the Patriots, and the Colts haul and this time out it’s on to the winning draft of the Houston Texans. While it’s far too early to slap a letter grade on their draft class, it’s not too early to get all Sheenish and call them ‘winning’.

The Texans are transitioning to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, so getting a few pieces for that switch was critical, and they found two potential starters in their new D with their first two picks.

Getting J.J. Watt in the 1st was a need pick and a best player available pick.  Watt is a 3-4 defensive end (5 technique), that will bring pressure off the edge, but will also be able to play stout against the run.  Having Brooks Reed available in the 2nd had to be exactly what they were hoping for.  The college DE will play OLB in the Texans 3-4 defense, and will add another pass rusher to the mix.

Miami corner Brandon Harris had a 1st round grade from a lot of scouts, and having his sitting there in the 2nd is exactly what Houston needed.  Harris will eventually start, and at the very least he’ll play some nickle as a rookie.

Then with the secondary such an issue, and since they are in the same division with Payton Manning, they took 2 more defensive backs with their 4th and 5th round picks.  Rashad Carmichael and Shiloh Keo both add solid depth to their back end, and will be a boost for their special teams.

Quarterback Taylor Yates had a solid senior year and could develop into a solid backup.  He was a good value pick in the late 5th.

In the 7th round they picked up a couple of projects.  Offensive lineman Derek Newton could eventually settle in at right tackle or even guard, and defensive lineman Cheta Ozougwu should convert to a 3-4 OLB, but he”ll need some work on his technique and best case, he’s a special teamer, but he’ll more than likely end up on the practice squad.

You can find more of my football stuff on Windy City Gridiron.