The 2012 NFL draft is only a couple of days away and Toro Times is here to remind you of what may seem obvious: the Texans need a little help at the wide receiver, nose tackle and offensive guard positions. In today’s free agency-charged NFL, of course, any team needs to constantly upgrade virtually all positions. Even Green Bay could use help at quarterback in case a…um…bounty were placed on Aaron Rodgers. In all seriousness, we certainly hope that would never be the case, but the point is that any team on any given day is capable of losing a key player at any position. The Texans learned that first hand when what seemed like a simple foot sprain turned into a nearly devastating, season-ending injury for Matt Schaub.
And with the Texans rounding into form and heading toward a resounding home win over perennial contenders Pittsburgh, Andre Johnson pulled up lame and would miss several games. Due to salary cap and, perhaps, personnel evaluation reasons as well, surprisingly to fans some key players like Eric Winston, Demeco Ryans, Mario Williams, Jason Allen and Mike Brisiel no longer will don the deep steel blue, liberty white and battle red.
So where’s a team on the verge of perennial contention to turn for immediate help? The draft. Unlike other sports, a team’s season-to-season fortunes can drastically change through a couple of excellent NFL drafts. Last season the Texans had a great draft, especially in selecting uberhoss J.J. Watt. And now they have a chance to continue the tradition and hopefully address some gaping holes which threaten to plateau this team, performance-wise, or even cause a drop off next season. The Texans have finally tasted postseason success and will enter the next season as the strong favorite to repeat as division champs, something incredibly unimaginable as recent as two seasons ago.
If the Texans can add talent to their roster and enable the team to realize and perhaps surpass those expectations, the team will begin to be associated with “very goodness” and, doing this a few more years in a row, greatness.
Here at the Toro Times we are hoping that the Texans score mightily by drafting a wide receiver to take pressure not only off of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, but the entire team. If the Texans draft a guy like Kendall Wright (Baylor) or Rueben Randle (LSU) in the first round and he can help stretch the field, that will help the Texans own the clock and scoreboard and even increase the longevity of Johnson’s career.
We also hope that the Texans can find a rugged, natural fit at the nose tackle position to help clog up the running lanes and compliment Brian Cushing’s tone of nastiness in the trenches. Maybe somebody like Josh Chapman (Alabama) or even Ben Jones (Georgia) would fit the bill. Nose tackle is oft overlooked by fans because, like offensive lineman, its just assumed that any NFL player with a beard or big belly will fill some space and do well enough. But a physically dominant nose tackle can really put pressure on an opposing offense’s running and even passing game. With J.J. Watt working inside and Brooks Reed and Conor Barwin rushing outside, an upgrade at nose tackle can allow Cushing and the linebackers to wreak even more havoc.
Undoubtedly the Texans would be wise to draft a lineman as early as possible, but not before a wide receiver. I think that this position is interchangeable in the draft for the Texans, meaning they should draft the highest rated player at the position in the draft. So if a guy like Senio Kelemete (Washington) is available and the Texans feel he would be more impacting than whomever is available at nose tackle, then they should take Kelemete.
Of course the Texans can never draft enough linebackers, so look for them to add another impact player at this position…or at least try to!
The fun is about to begin and if the Texans can continue their recent tradition of wisely mining the NFL draft for battle-ready talent, they will go a long way in healing fan (and player) hearts broken by the recent departure of some beloved players. Furthermore, the Texans can ensure that, like last season, they will be able to overcome any surprise injuries and minimize their impact by adding to their depth.