Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore (26) against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
6. Safety – The final need for the Texans to address in this draft is Safety. The Texans were able to sign free safety Rahim Moore during free agency. This was a great move due to his strengths as a “ball hawk” because there will be pressure created up front. J.J. Watt, Wilfork, Crick, Clowney, and Mercilus will cause opposing quarterbacks to force deep passes that can be intercepted by the opportunistic Moore.
However, there is no depth behind Moore after Kendrick Lewis signed with Baltimore. Also, Danieal Manning does not appear to be re-signing with the Texans next year. This leaves a need for depth at free safety.
D.J. Swearinger is the starting strong safety and has improved since being drafted in 2013. We have seen his ability to absolutely crush opposing wide receivers and he can also come up and defend the run. His biggest problem has been in coverage and missing assignments on deep passes. T.Y. Hilton crushed the Texans this year by beating Swearinger down the middle.
The Texans don’t need to replace D.J. in this draft because the depth at this position is horrible. Landon Collins is by far the best safety in the draft but won’t be selected by Houston in the first round. The Texans just need to find value in a late pick to add some depth for Moore. Let Swearinger prove himself this year and if the problems aren’t fixed, then find a replacement in 2016.
WHAT ABOUT QUARTERBACK???
Well, the Texans have sparked a competition between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet after signing them each to two year deals. Coach O’Brien has history with both quarterbacks during his time in Foxboro with the Patriots. I expect a tight battle during the training camp but for the preseason games to declare a winner. Mallet is the favorite because he has far more upside than Hoyer and needs the in game experience if he wants to prove himself an NFL starter.
Another reason why quarterback is not on the list of biggest draft needs is because the quarterback class is horrible. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota both have potential and are worthy of there first round grade, but the rest of the class does not have starting potential. There is not much of an upgrade from Tom Savage if the Texans select a quarterback later in the draft.
Next years quarterback class is interesting. Christian Hackenberg is considered to be the top-10 NFL prospect next year (if he declares early) and I expect coach O’Brien to keep a close eye on him all year. Of course Hackenberg and O’Brien have some chemistry together and it will be hard for O’Brien to stay away if Mallet and Hoyer prove to be not worthy of a starting role.
Other notable quarterback prospects for next year are Cardale Jones (OHIO ST), Connor Cook (MICH ST), Dak Prescott (MISS ST), Trevone Boykin (TCU), Kevin Hogan (STAN), and Cody Kessler (USC). This class is much deeper and it would be smarter to find a quarterback next year than to take one not worthy this year.