Apr 27, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick defensive end Whitney Mercilus of Illinois poses with a jersey during a press conference at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Houston Texans 2012 Draft Summary


The Houston Texans 2012 draft class is as follows:

Round Pick Player Position College
1 26 Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois
3 68 DeVier Posey WR Ohio State
3 76 Brandon Brooks G Miami (OH)
4 99 Ben Jones C Georgia
4 121 KeShawn Martin WR Michigan State
4 126 Jared Crick DT Nebraska
5 161 Randy Bullock K Texas A&M
6 195 Nick Mondek T Purdue

Coming into the 2012 NFL Draft, the Texans were projected to pursue depth on a few key areas such as outside pass-rushers, wide receivers, and offensive linemen. However, the defending AFC South champion did not have any significantly glaring needs. And with that, they did not fall victims to reaching and managed to secure a number of great value players with their selections WHILE still addressing their needs. Impressive. Here’s a breakdown of how the past three days have been for the GM Rick Smith and Co. and a pick-by-pick analysis of all eight members in the Texans’ newest draft class.

 

With the 26th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois: 

Many mock drafts projected Mercilus to go as early as pick 18 to the Chargers, but he ended up falling to the Texans at 26. While he’s no  Mario Williams, Mercilus is an incredible talent in his own right. Apart from an awesome last name, Mercilus brings a lot to the table. The 6-4, 261 defensive end possesses a lightning-quick first step and is one of the best natural finesse pass-rushers in this class. After two mediocre seasons at Illinois, Mercilus broke out in a big way last season on his way to become an All-American and winner of the Ted Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in the country. He led the nation with 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles and had 22.5 tackles for a loss.

The addition of Mercilus makes Wade Phillip’s already productive defensive front even better. During his days in college, Mercilus was extremely active, playing with top effort on every snap while being moved all around the defensive line, lining up off the edge and inside at defensive tackle. His versatility provides Phillips another option in this 3-4 defense that loves to attack and blitz from all directions with a lot of slants and one-gap penetrating schemes. You can never have enough pass rushers, and the Texans just added another valuable one.

 

Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devier Posey participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

With the 68th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: DeVier Posey, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

With Greg Childs, Mohammed Sanu, and Nick Toon still available, this pick was rather surprising. But it could end up being one of the best under-the-radar picks of this draft. Posey was viewed as a sleeper WR prospect because despite having missed most of the 2011 season due to suspension, he possesses a lethal combination of size and speed as well as consistent hands, arguably the three most important traits of a WR.  The Texans in recent years had tried to find a quality No.2 behind Andre Johnson to take away some of the coverage from The Natural. Although Kevin Walter (great hands) and Jacoby Jones (great speed) have their strengths, they are flawed and does not make plays consistently, as evidenced during stretches last season when Johnson was injured. The Texans hope Posey can develop into that No.2 guy they’ve been looking for all along. Expect them to utilize Posey in the slot and occasionally line him up outside to stretch the defense and allow Dre’ some single coverage to work with.

Jan 21, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; West guard Brandon Brooks (56) of Miami - Ohio before the start of the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field. The West won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

With the 76th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Brandon Brooks, Guard, Miami (OH)

Brooks is a big, wide-bodied offensive guard who can move defenders off the ball as a run blocker and cover up linebackers at the second level. He is also very mobile (4.98 40-yard dash on Pro Day), which is rare and valuable for someone who weighs in at 6’5”, 350 pounds. The Texans’ offensive line has been an excellent zone-blocking group for their outside stretch run game, but the departures of Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston raise question marks on its continuity and depth. With his massive frame and underrated athletic ability, Brooks should be able to move the pile in the run game as well as providing interior protection for Matt Schaub. Antoine Caldwell is currently atop the depth chart at RG, but Brooks will give a strong push for the starting job soon. Solid pick.

November 12, 2011; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs center Ben Jones (60) looks over the Auburn Tigers defense before snapping the ball during the third quarter at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Auburn 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

 

With the 99th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Ben Jones, Center, Georgia

A four-year starter and captain at Georgia, Jones doesn’t really excel in one particular area, but he’s overall solid and knows how to play the game. With the incumbent Chris Myers locked up for the next three years, it was quite surprising to see the Texans select a C in the draft. But Jones’ versatility and athleticism would fit nicely with the zone-blocking scheme at the guard position and provide further depth to the Texans’ offensive line. Jones also gives Gary Kubiak a viable backup plan should Myers miss time with an injury, which, considering his age, is very possible.

Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Keshawn Martin participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

With the 121st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: KeShawn Martin, Wide Receiver, Michigan State

Martin’s quickness is well documented, as he has shown throughout his college career the ability to create separation with his explosiveness. The biggest drawback for Martin is the inconsistency of his hands, but he makes up for it with a knack for gaining extra yards after the catch.  He can be productive in the slot and might also step in as a punt returner, as he has done in college. The scouting report on him is eerily similar to that on Jacoby Jones a few years ago. The Texans were very high on Jones the day he was drafted but after a few years might have decided that the Jones project has run its course, and here they are with a similar one, now called the Martin project. Let’s see if they can succeed this time around.

Nov 20, 2010; College Station, TX, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Jared Crick (94) sacks Texas A

With the 126th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Jared Crick, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska

A potential steal of the draft right here. Crick was viewed by many pundits as a prospect with first-round talent a year ago. But a senior year derailed by injuries has significantly lowered his stock, and here he is sliding all the way to the fourth round right into the hands of the Texans. Crick possesses above-average quickness, both with his feet and hands, bringing a lot of upside especially as an interior pass rusher. Shaun Cody’s play at NT last year left a lot to be desired and was clearly the weak link in an otherwise excellent Texans’ front line. Crick could change that immediately. If he doesn’t crack the starting NT job, Crick will likely be part of the DE rotation with Smith and Watt and then move inside as part of a four-man front on passing downs. Excellent pick. Great value.

Oct 30, 2010; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A

With the 161st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Randy Bullock, Kicker, Texas A&M 

The Texans did not have a kicker on their depth chart following Neil Rackers’ departure to the Redskins, so it was clear they were going to either draft one or sign an undrafted free agent to fill the spot. They decided to go for the homerun with the selection of Aggies’ kicker Randy Bullock with this pick. While people may argue drafting a kicker in the fifth round is a bit early, there’s no question about Bullock’s talent. He won the Lou Groza Award last season for the best kicker in the nation, going 29-33 on field goals. Not only does he have the accuracy, Bullock also has the leg strength needed for those 50+ yard field goal attempts. The team also loved his character following Bullock’s local workout in front of the whole Texans staff before the draft. A kicker with leg strength, accuracy, and great character. What’s not to like?

 

With the 195th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Nick Mondek, Tackle, Purdue

The Texans wrapped up their 2012 Draft by acquiring more depth for the offensive line with the selection of Mondek. He’s versatile, can play both G and T but has better value as a swing T. His versatility is the result of  multiple position changes during his years in Purdue, starting out as DT, then switched to RT and finally RG. He played a full year at each of these positions and started in every game.  One has to have a good football acumen to be able to quickly adapt to different positions like that. So there’s clearly some promise in the Texans’ 6th round pick. But here’s the interesting part: Mondek’s Pro-Day numbers (30 times bench-press, a 4.55 20-yard shuttle, and a7.30 three-cone drill) are right in line with those of 24th overall pick David DeCastro (34, 4.56, 7.30, respectively)! We might be in for something here

A cornerback and/or a linebacker would have been nice but overall, this is a very good draft by the Texans (on paper, of course). They obtained values from their picks while still managing to address their needs. Well done, Rick Smith and Co. Mercilus, Posey, Brooks, Jones, Martin, Crick, Bullock, Mondek, it will be to see these new Texans in training camp, and hopefully, on the field next season.

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Tags: 2012 Texans Draftees Ben Jones Brandon Brooks Devier Posey Jared Crick Kershawn Martin Nick Mondek Randy Bullock Whitney Mercilus