Here we will get the opinions of each of the Toro Times staff members on what they would do if they were Rick Smith and what they would do in round one of tonight’s draft.
We will start this with what I would do.
There are a few pronounced positions of great need for the Texans–wide receiver, defensive tackle, center and safety. The first two are two of the deepest positions in the draft. Therefore, I would be somewhat reluctant to use my first pick on one of them.
If there were a position that could wait, I believe it’s receiver. There are many reports linking to Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson and Will Fuller in the first round, but I think there are other options out there. Guys Sterling Shepard in the second and even later in the middle rounds like Pharoh Cooper from South Carolina, Jalin Marshall from Ohio State and Leonte Carroo from Rutgers.
At defensive tackle there’s Andrew Billings from Baylor, Vernon Butler from Louisiana Tech, Austin Johnson from Penn State, the list goes on. Even Gerald Dixon is a guy worth looking at. With all the talent at that position, I think it can wait.
At center, there is Ryan Kelly and that’s it for first round talent. There are some folks who think that the Colts might take him at 18, so the Texans might have to trade up for him. I don’t want to trade up and sacrifice another good pick to get one guy, I don’t think the Texans are quite good enough to pull off a move like that for one guy whom they think will take them over the top. Later options could be Nick Martin (brother of Cowboys guard Zach) from Notre Dame and Cody Whitehair from Kansas State.
So we’re down to safety as the last option. The top prospect is Karl Joseph from West Virginia, who is a ball hawk but coming off an ACL injury that ended his 2015 campaign. My guess is he’ll go at the end of the first or start of the second. Keanu Neal from Florida and Vonn Bell from Ohio State are both guys who will be there for the taking in the second.
If I were Smith, I would trade down from the 22nd pick and look to acquire another third pick. A potential trading partner could be the Denver Broncos, who could be looking at selecting a quarterback in the first round–most likely Paxton Lynch if he is still on the board, perhaps Connor Cook if not.
With that pick, I would take either Joseph if he is still on the board or Neal if not. The Steelers are also rumored to like Neal a lot, but if they don’t see him as being worthy of the 25th overall pick, they could be looking to do something very similar. Regardless, one of the two should be available at the end of the first, and Joseph is my preference.