According to an April 11th article from the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Texans are most likely going to take a wide receiver or outside linebacker in in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. Are the Texans really only limited to two positions to decide between in the upcoming draft?
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The article points out that the receiver position is very deep in this draft class and perhaps they can wait until round two to address the hole created by releasing start wide out Andre Johnson. This would leave the team with looking mainly at outside linebacker, a position they addressed in the first round of 2012 with Whitney Mercilus and in 2014 with Jadeveon Clowney.
While Mercilus has only been a rotational player to this point, he does still have some upside as he has put up 18 sacks in three seasons. Could this total improve now that last year’s starter at linebacker Brooks Reed has signed in Atlanta? Perhaps it could with the added playing time.
Also, Clowney is a bit ahead of schedule in rehabbing his injured knee, which could make a third outside linebacker picked in round one superfluous. The return of Clowney, the added playing time to Mercilus and the open lanes caused by the stellar defensive line featuring end J.J. Watt and nose tackle Vince Wilfork, could cause the team to look elsewhere.
With wide receiver deep and linebacker not as pressing as one may think could the team look to bolster one of the weaker spots like center or tight end? Florida State center Cameron Erving could be a decade-long starter if the Texans decide he is worthy of being picked in the middle of round one. While some may think this is too high for Erving, it is a position of need and he is the highest rated player at this position.
Erving has great flexibility as he played tackle, guard and center for the Seminoles. No matter where he lined up, the big guy made the line calls showing his ability to read a defense and help out his team.
Another position of dire need for the Texans is tight end. The position was pretty much non-existent for Houston last season and there is one guy who stands out above the rest at this position, Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams.
Williams is another guy, much like Erving, who may not be a top 16 talent, but picking him at that spot could prove to be beneficial for a team so depleted of talent at the crucial position. A player like Williams would provide a security blanket for either quarterback Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer (whichever wins the starting job).
Williams is also still very young, entering the league after his redshirt sophomore season. He has hardly scratched the surface of his potential yet.
Perhaps it is all a moot point and the team does decide to take the best pass rusher or receiver sitting on the board when their turn comes. If they do decide to look elsewhere, there are plenty of options and a few starting spots on the roster up for grabs.