As the sports pundits kick up their heels and begin to grade the NFL’s 2012 draft picks, the Houston Texans are surveying their new recruits and beginning to look forward to the 2012 season. Of the 8 players the Texans chose over the action-packed weekend, 5 of them came from the Big 10, only one from the SEC, 1 from the Big 12, and 1 from the MAC East. Although the Texans chose a defensive player in the first round, they chose a total of 5 offensive players, 1 special teams player, and 1 additional defensive player.
Taking a look at the players chosen by the team, it appeared as though the Texans did chose “need” players despite rumblings from management that they would not draft based on this theory. A look at the picks and the order of the picks signifies a few things: 1) Rick Smith continues to like to draft a defensive player first, specifically linebackers, and 2) there could be some replacements coming soon for veteran players.
Round 1: Whitney Mercilus, OLB – Illinois. Mercilus, Mercilus, Me! A favorite choice of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, Mercilus will certainly add to the Texans’ strength on the defensive side of the ball and will be fun to watch for all fans who view professional football as the raw contact sport that it is. Gaining the honor as the leader in the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles, Mercilus is not only big, but he is nasty. Mercilus’ power combined with the tried-and-true play of current roster-mates Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed could complete the most dangerous defensive threesome in the NFL.
Round 3: DeVier Posey, WR – Ohio State. Trading its round 2 pick to Tampa Bay, the Texans chose Posey as its second pick of the draft. Posey was suspended for 10 games in 2011 due to a questionable scandal regarding overpayment for a summer job. However, Texans head coach Kubiak saw tremendous promise in Posey due to his continually practicing with his team even after the suspension, and his impressive showing at the NFL combine in February 2012. There is a looming question about how sharp his skills are since he hasn’t played more than 2 games in the last 18 months, but he could have an impact as a formidable receiver for the vertical game.
Round 3: Brandon Brooks, OG – Miami-Ohio. With the trade of DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles earlier this year, there was an obvious hole on offense. Say what you want about Brooks, this boy is HUGE. Not only that, but he had a rather fast showing in his NFL ProDay for a 346-pound big guy. Look for Brooks to start a few games later in the 2012 season once he gets his legs under him.
Round 4: Ben Jones, C – Georgia. Jones ranked second in the nation among Division 1 centers. Expect him to use his SEC training to provide excellent protection up the middle. Although he won’t be expected to start, he is a fantastic #2 guy playing behind Pro Bowl Center Chris Meyers.
Round 4: Keshawn Martin, WR – Michigan State. Watch out Jacoby Jones, this could be your replacement. With blazing speed and a penchant for long punt returns, look for Martin to enhance the special team’s ability to score big points early and often.
Round 4: Jared Crick, DE – Nebraska. Crick sat out his senior season due to a pectoral tear. Health could be an issue, but with consistent conditioning, Crick could prove to be valuable as a backup end.
Round 5: Randy Bullock, K – Texas A&M. The Texans have never drafted a kicker, so it seems only fitting that the team would choose the hometown boy. Hailing from right outside Houston and coming from Kubiak’s alma mater, Bullock’s 29-33 record and his hometown charm made him an obvious pick for the Texans to replace veteran kicker Neil Rackers who defected to the Redskins earlier this year.
Round 6: Nick Mondek, OT- Purdue. The Texans rounded out the picks with Mondek, presumably in order to solve its line depth issues. Mondek had a private workout with the Texans before the draft, so it seemed inevitable that he would be chosen. Inevitable also is the fight that Mondek will have to remain on the team with many players vying for a position on the 2nd team.
Overall, the Texans patched up some holes in the ship with the draft. Although fans all across Houston had hoped for a first round WR pick, the Texans’ defensive choices, including Mercilus, only beef up the defense with big men having speed and power. Fans got not only one,but two receivers which should relieve some pressure on team captain Andre Johnson should his hamstrings give out again in 2012. Despite their lack of experience, with solid coaching, Martin and Posey could have the Texans’ opponents running more than they want to on defense.