The Houston Texans will go into the NFL Draft without a first-round pick to choose from. With that being said, the team is talented enough that the main concern for the team is to add depth. Look for the team to make a lot of their picks on defense. Secondary and defensive line are some of the biggest needs for the team entering the draft. Based on the mock draft conducted on pff.com, here is a mock draft of who the Texans might take in the draft.
Second Round, Pick #40: Texans Select Ross Blacklock, Defensive Lineman, TCU
Ross Blacklock has been seen as a first-round talent so seeing him drop into the second round would be a major win for the Texans. Blacklock shows great size and strength to get off blocks easily. He will be utilized more as a run stopper in the middle of the defensive line. Not known for recording sacks, Blacklock can get to the quarterback on pressures more than sacking them.
His main issue lies with being able to stay healthy after rupturing his Achilles in 2018. Blacklock only played 24 games in college so gaining more experience on the field will help him as well. There are small things he needs to work on with handling counter plays and locating the ball.
Blacklock will make for a good fit with Houston as he can work behind newly signed Timmy Jernigan for a year to learn the ropes. He could be involved in the rotation for Houston and could turn out to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player in the future.
Third Round, Pick #90: Texans Select Cam Akers, Running Back, Florida State
Florida State has been on the down as a program for the past couple of seasons. Their only real bright spot to their offense was Cam Akers. He has the ability to change direction quickly with his athleticism. Akers has shown home run speed when he breaks open a big run. He can also catch out of the backfield which makes him more of a weapon in the offense.
While running behind an offensive line that struggled, Akers could at times show a lack of trust and want to bounce to the outside. He will need to show more confidence in his line and trust that he’ll have an opening in the middle. His development as a pass blocker could influence how much playing time he gets.
O’Brien could use another weapon at running back should David Johnson revert back to his injured ways. It may not a position in need for the team, but O’Brien is more focused on finding the best players available. Akers could be that guy and has the potential to be a starter in the future. Could end up being a major steal for Houston should he land to their spot in the third round.
Fourth Round, Pick #111: Texans Select Geno Stone, Safety, Iowa
Geno Stone is listed as a safety, but with his coverage skills against short passes and high motor in the box, we could see him as an outside linebacker. Stone is exceptional against the run and thrives on blitzing from the outside. He’s a consistent finisher and a reliable tackler which could make him a good special teams player in the NFL.
Stone is a bit undersized at 5’10” which could make life tough for him against tight ends and taller receivers. He doesn’t have blazing speed so if he gets burned on a play, he’s more likely to not recover faster than he should.
Secondary depth is a need for Houston and adding a safety like Stone will help them cover that. He’s not projected to be a starter in the NFL, but he possesses the skills to be an impact player on special teams. Fans could also see him as a rotational player at linebacker or safety on running situations.
Fifth Round, Pick #171: Texans Select Shyheim Carter, Cornerback, Alabama
Another versatile safety in college that could play cornerback in the NFL. Shyheim Carter was moved around a lot in Nick Saban’s defense because he proved to be good in coverage and physical. Carter is a good tackler with good quickness off the line. He should play more of a factor on defense if he is closer to the line of scrimmage and can get in the face of the receiver.
Similar to Stone, Carter is undersized which could put him at a disadvantage. He needs to handle more short yardage passes and stay in the slot. Ball covering skills could need some development on his part which is why being a slot corner works best for him.
The Texans’ corners are not the strongest position or the weakest. They need more depth at the position but don’t necessarily need a starting corner to step in. Carter would fit the role at slot corner for Houston and help develop their secondary that is much needed.
Seventh Round, Pick #240: Texans Select Clay Johnston, Linebacker, Baylor
Clay Johnston makes a good fit in the Houston defense as he fits with a 3-4 system. Durability is a concern as two straight seasons had him sidelined with knee injuries. He displays good physical traits s a tackler with some needed development in pass coverage. Johnston may not be ready to start but can play special teams to make an NFL team. Texans are in need of depth at linebacker which would help them by drafting a linebacker late in the NFL draft.
Seventh Round, Pick #248: Texans Select Austin Mack, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
Austin Mack is not a deep threat as he runs a 4.59 40-yard dash, but is a good route runner on short yardage. While being undersized, Mack is a solid, physical catcher that can handle one on one man coverage. His production never lived up to expectations as he never hit over 400 yards in a season. He doesn’t have starter talent so he’ll need to do well in special teams in order to make the team. The Texans have plenty of talent at receiver, but if Kenny Stills does get traded before the draft as rumored, Mack could make a good number four receiver.
Seventh Round, Pick #250: Texans Select Benito Jones, Defensive Lineman, Ole Miss
Benito Jones is a steal in the seventh round as he got good built and moves well on the line. Jones doesn’t work as well as a pass rusher and his height at 6’1″ doesn’t help his cause. He needs to develop more as a lineman but can be involved as a rotational player in the lineup down the road. Texans need as much depth on the line as possible and adding Jones would help with that.
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