With the NFL’s Scouting Combine now a thing of the past, we can expect an overflow of draft speculation as we now have a much better idea where college prospects could fit in the NFL. And with the 16th overall pick in the first round, the Houston Texans could really go in any direction with their top pick.
In the third version of his popular mock draft of the offseason, ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay believes the Texans will elect to address their offensive line by selecting the best player available when they are on the clock. In this case, that player will be…
With the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…
Feb 20, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford Cardinal offensive linemen Andrus Peat runs the 40 yard dash during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Andrus Peat, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
Here’s McShay’s explanation of the selection:
"The Texans are a tough team to project prior to free agency because they have free agents they might need to replace via the draft at nearly every position on defense, depending on how things go. But as of now, right tackle is a need area, and Peat is a great value at this spot (No. 7 on our board). He has played left tackle his entire career, so the Texans would have to be comfortable with him transitioning to the right side if they want him to replace free-agent Derek Newton opposite current left tackle Duane Brown. But if they are, Peat is a big-time talent, with good size, length, awareness and quick feet. He has been inconsistent with his balance and as a finisher, but he’s young (21 years old) and should continue to improve. Houston needs to upgrade at quarterback but doesn’t have any options to do that in this scenario."
This could simply be the case of a team selecting the best player available, but of all the Texans’ needs, offensive line doesn’t seem to be a very high priority to me. Obviously, the re-signing of free agent tackle Derek Newton is key to that premise. But if he can be re-signed, then interior O-line seems like a bigger need than tackle.
Still, it’s hard to argue selecting a player like Peat here. At 6-6, 313 pounds, Scout Inc.’s current big board has him as the seventh best player in this draft, and the second best offensive lineman. Peat is a true tackle and will make that transition in the NFL immediately, whereas other college lineman often kick inside to guard or center.
With the signing of quarterback Ryan Mallett looking more and more probable, selecting an offensive lineman to help protect that investment is a smart move. I’m just not convinced that requires a first round pick by Houston, especially when you have so many more dire needs to address across your roster.