Yesterday I delved into the possibility of the Houston Texans pursuing a NT in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. However, that was pure speculation as my best guess would be that the Texans would draft a wide-receiver in the first round.
The need for a receiver to compliment Andre Johnson was made glaringly clear this past season.
WR Jacoby Jones, who has become public enemy #1 in Houston, has proven that he does not have the football intelligence necessary to make a solid #2 receiver. On more than just a few occasions he was seen running horizontal, across the field, or backwards rather than turning his hips and getting upfield. Granted, he did his best to avoid getting hit but taking a net loss in yards is never acceptable when you can pick up at least one or two yards.
Additionally, Jones has shown an inability to make consistent plays for the ball. He has had a few bright spots over the last five seasons. However, over those same five seasons he has only managed to accumulate 1,741 yards and 11 touchdowns. In comparison, over the same five-year period WR Kevin Walter had 3,405 yards and 22 TDs while Andre Johnson had 5,703 yards and 35 TDs. This means that Jacoby, who was supposed to be the #2 receiver, behind Johnson, had about half the yards and touchdowns as the #3 WR. In comparison to Andre…well, that just would not be fair…to Andre.
Speaking of Kevin Walter, he has been a staple for the Texans since he joined the team in 2006. He has sure hands and is a smart player. However, he lacks the breakaway speed and jumping ability to be a deep threat for the Texans. Walter is not the type of receiver that you would consider for the Pro Bowl but he has been a great go-to guy when Andre is double-teamed…that is, when Andre is healthy.
Another major reason I believe that the Texans will pursue a WR in the early rounds (if not first round) is because of Andre’s progressing age (politically correct term used here). He is in his ninth season with the Texans and is now over the 30-year-old mark. While he is not old, by any means, he is not getting any younger either. His increased amount of injuries, too, demands attention from the Texans front office.
His health is so imperative to the Texans offense that the team dropped from fourth to 18th in passing this season without him on the field for most of the season.
Now…for my pick for the Texans…
Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina – I would love to have put Kendall Wright in this spot but I truly believe that he will be off the board by the time the Texans have their pick. Jeffrey, though, is by no means a bad pick at #26.
According to GamecocksOnline.com:
"2010: One of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to nation’s top receiver… first-team All-America as selected by AFCA, FWAA, Phil Steele and ESPN.com… second-team All-America by Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and CollegeFootballNews.com… unanimous first-team All-SEC selection… named All-Sophomore by CollegeFootballNews.com… set the single-season school records in both receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,517)… led the SEC in receiving yards per game (108.4) and was second in receptions per game (6.29)… had eight games with 100+ yards receiving…had the fourth-best receiving game in Carolina history with 192 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions at Auburn, including a 69-yard reception… logged a seven-catch, 127-yard performance against Alabama, including a highlight-reel one-handed grab on the sideline with a defender grabbing his jersey… hauled in a career-high nine passes for 158 yards at Vanderbilt, including a season-long 72-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to seal the win… had three catches for 87 yards vs. Tennessee, including a 70-yard touchdown…caught five passes for 123 yards in the first half vs. Troy… had a touchdown catch among five grabs for 141 yards in win over Clemson, earning Ernest Brooks Offensive MVP accolades…tied his career high with nine catches for 130 yards in the Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Florida State.2009: First-team Freshman All-American as selected by the FWAA, Phil Steele, Scout.com and CollegeFootballNews.com… first-team SEC All-Freshman selected by the coaches…named fourth-team All-SEC by Phil Steele…led the squad with 46 catches for 763 yards, 16.6 yards per catch…second on the team with six touchdowns…averaged 58.7 yards and 3.54 catches per game, the eighth and 10th best marks respectively in the SEC…was the only freshman in the top 10 in either category… recorded five catches for 56 yards through the first five games but had 41 catches (5.1/game) for 707 yards (88.4/game) over the final eight contests…named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Kentucky… caught seven passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns, including a spectacular one-handed grab in that contest… the three TD receptions tied for the second-highest single game mark in school history…logged a season-best 161 receiving yards in the win over Vanderbilt… had his third 100-yard receiving game when he went for 118 at Arkansas including a career-long 80-yard scoring catch."
Most scouting reports indicate that Jeffrey has phenomenal size and strength. He accelerates quickly but is hard pressed to run faster than a 4.5-40. He has unreal hands which allow him to make some incredible catches. He has great hand-eye coordination allowing him to go up after the ball at the last minute and get his hands on the ball. He uses his body to box out defenders and, once he has the ball, is difficult to bring down. He has an incredibly high ceiling and will continue to improve.
The Texans need, without a doubt, a solid #2 receiver who would have the potential to become the starting WR after Andre retires. Jeffrey has the ability to come into the game and be an instant-impact player for the Texans. His speed may be nominal but his play-making ability makes up for his lack of blazing speed.
I am assuming that Jeffrey will be the last of the top WRs on the board when the Texans have a chance to draft. However, if the Texans trade up, or if they get really lucky, they could possibly land Kendall Wright. Either way, the Texans will have a great starting WR to play opposite Andre Johnson, a true one-two knockout for the Texans passing game.