After finishing the 2014 NFL regular season with a 9-7 record, the Houston Texans could upgrade several different areas on their team during the upcoming draft. And that freedom of choice gives the Texans a lot of options when their number is called with the 16th overall pick.
ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. believes Houston will ultimately select the best available player on their board when it’s their turn to pick. And in Kiper’s latest mock draft, that prospect will help beef up their offensive line.
With the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…
Sep 28, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes offensive linesman Ereck Flowers (74) against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Miami Hurricanes defeated the South Florida Bulls 49-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle, Miami (FL.)
Here’s Kiper’s explanation of the selection:
"“This is a spot where I can see the Texans going in a few directions, and I like the fit of a cornerback here as well. And while taking a high-upside talent at tackle isn’t a flashy pick, I think it fits a pattern of taking the best player available. Flowers has emerged as a potential top-12 pick and a challenge to some of the more well-known tackles available in this draft — and depending on free agency, it’s a possibility the Texans will be looking for a rookie to come in and take over starting duties at right tackle. Flowers plays with an edge, is a coachable kid who could get better quickly, and could become an elite pass protector if he can be better with his hand placement. (As to the cornerback possibility: I’m not sure they go after Peters if Waynes is off the board.)”"
With offensive tackle Derek Newton currently a free agent, taking a player like Flowers certainly makes sense. If the Texans can re-sign Newton, which I believe they will, the young 6-6, 325 pound junior can still help Houston solidify their interior line play at guard. It would be a similar move to what the Dallas Cowboys did at this very same spot last year with now All-Pro guard Zack Martin.
Houston had the 17th best offense in the NFL last season, ranking 24th in total passing yards and 5th in rushing. Obviously, there is room for improvement. But I don’t believe the Texans passing stats will get any better until they find themselves a franchise quarterback. That should be the their top priority!
Although it could be upgraded, I don’t believe Houston’s offensive line is the area of biggest concern. I would list quarterback, running back, wide recevier, linebacker and defensive backfield as all much bigger areas of need in 2015.
Obviously, upcoming free agency and possible trades could address all of those lingering roster issues this offseason. Still, I believe the Texans have two very solid offensive tackles in Duane Brown and Newton, if the latter is re-signed. They also spent a second round pick on guard Xavier Su’a-Filo last season, who could still develop into a starter.
Bottom line: I think improved quarterback play will do wonders for this offensive line. Especially with a player like running back Arian Foster already in the backfield. Again, finding a quarterback should be the Texans’ top priority!