May 13, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: Houston Texans

#7 Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Houston Texans
Division: AFC South | Last Season Record: 2-14

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: The quarterback position. Maybe not with the first pick, but bringing in someone to compete for the starting job would have made a lot of sense, since the chances are slim that you can find a franchise guy on day 2/3.

The offensive line is in good shape, but the right tackle position was arguably their biggest need outside of quarterback. Drafting an interior offensive to compete with Ben Jones for the starting left guard spot may have been a good idea as well.

They also needed to add at least one or two pass rushers in this draft. Jadeveon Clowney is there for the taking with the first overall pick. The defensive line definitely needed to be addressed as well (nose tackle).

Lastly, the Texans should have added another defensive back in the early-mid rounds, and targeted a fast receiver and/or running back to help out on offense.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

1. (1) Jadeveon Clowney*, DE
Experience: Junior | School: South Carolina
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 266 lbs.

Round 2

1. (33) Xavier Su'a-Filo*, OG
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: UCLA
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 305 lbs.

Round 3

1. (65) C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE
Experience: Senior | School: Iowa
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 266 lbs.

19. (83) Louis Nix III*, NT
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Notre Dame
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 331 lbs.

Round 4

35. (135) Tom Savage, QB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Pittsburgh
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 225 lbs.

Round 6

1. (177) Jeoffrey Pagan*, DT
Experience: Junior | School: Alabama
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 306 lbs.

5. (181) Alfred Blue, RB
Experience: Senior | School: Louisiana State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 221 lbs.

35. (211) Jay Prosch, FB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Auburn
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 256 lbs.

Round 7

1. (216) Andre Hal, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Vanderbilt
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 186 lbs.

41. (256) Lonnie Ballentine, FS
Experience: Senior | School: Memphis
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 219 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Louis Nix III*, NT (Round 3, Pick 19)
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Notre Dame
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 231 lbs.

Analysis: Louis Nix is a first round talent, but I was shocked that he fell all the way to the third round. A lot of people thought they would take him with the first pick in the second round, and they passed on him again with the first pick in the third round. I guess the third time was the charm, because they stole the best nose tackle in the draft.

Most Questionable Pick:

Tom Savage, QB (Round 4, Pick 35)
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Pittsburgh
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 225 lbs.

Analysis: I don't really have a problem with the Texans taking Tom Savage in the 4th round. Up to this point, the Texans had drafted pretty well, so why not take a shot on a quarterback with a big arm and a skill set you can work with? The issue is that they waited until the fourth round to draft a quarterback.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Max Bullough, ILB
Experience: Senior | School: Michigan State
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 248 lbs.

Analysis: This was a good pick up for the Texans. At worst, assuming Bullough makes the final 53-man roster, you're getting a solid inside linebacker who will provide needed depth.

Other Free Agent Signings

Nathan Slaughter, WR, West Texas A&M
Chris Boswell, K, Rice
Anthony Denham, TE, Utah
Travis Labhart, WR, Texas A&M
Matt Feiler, OT, Bloomsburg
Austin Brown, DT, Miami
Marcus Williams, CB, North Dakota State
Jason Ankrah, DE, Nebraska
Theo Alexander, S, Southeastern Louisiana
Julius Warmsley, DT, Tulane
Chris Coyle, FB, Arizona State
Anthony McClung, WR, Cincinnati
Kevin Forsch, C, Houston
Bryan Witzmann, OT, South Dakota State
Nick Addison, DB, Bethune-Cookman

Draft Review:

Analysis: Houston passed on some potential franchise quarterbacks, but with no sure things at the position, I'm all for them going with the best player in the draft. They're going to stand Clowney up in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense, but I believe Clowney should be their 5-technique defensive end opposite J.J. Watt.

Getting arguably the best guard in the draft at the top of the second round was good value. Su'a-Filo should be the starting left guard. I didn't love the pick, because they passed on both Cyrus Kouandjio and Morgan Moses, who would have filled their bigger need for a right tackle. This was still a solid pick.

I thought it was a bit early to take him at the top of the third round, but C.J. Fiedorowicz is a very good football player. He's an excellent blocker, and could be a go to guy for whoever the starting quarterback is in Houston. I think he can be a Jason Witten type.

It's criminal that Louis Nix fell to the third round. He the prototypical 3-4 nose tackle. I can't wait to see him next to J.J. Watt. Tom Savage has good tools and a good arm to work with, but I think they'll be targeting Marcus Mariota in next year's draft.

Houston got good value in the late rounds. Jeoffrey Pagan is a strong player who could develop into a starting 3-4 defensive end. Jay Prosch was arguably the best full back in the draft.

I didn't really like the Alfred Blue pick, because I though there were more talented backs available, and they could use more of a "home-run threat" at the position. Andre Hal could become their number 3 corner. He was a 7th round steal. The safety Ballentine garnered some late-round buzz late in the process. He's big, long, and fast.

The Verdict: I think the Texans had a really good draft. The reason I don't think it was necessarily "great" is that they waited on a quarterback, but it's very understandable. Also, the right tackle position went completely ignored, which could be a mistake. However, they ended up with 3 of the top 40 players in this class, 4-5 starters, and the best overall player in the draft.

Overall Grade: B