The Texans entered the draft hoping to add the final pieces necessary to push the franchise deeper into the playoffs. They had just a few needs on the roster and most were addressed in the early rounds.
DeAndre Hopkins/WR/Clemson (Round 1, pick #27): Prior to the draft we were lead to believe receiver Robert Woods of USC was one of Houston’s first round targets. They settled on a different wide out in Hopkins. While Hopkins does not possess the same run after the catch skills as Woods, he’s polished, offers better hands and is a sturdier receiver. Considering the need at the position, expect Hopkins to be a day one starter for Houston.
DJ Swearinger/S/South Carolina (Round 2, pick #57): Entering the season Swearinger ranked high on our list at the safety position and we never wavered from that opinion. He’s a complete defensive back that can play a true centerfield position or line-up in zone. Swearinger lacks great length (5-feet, 10.5-inches), does not time well in the forty (4.62s) and also runs his mouth at times. He’ll now learn under free agent acquisition Ed Reed and we expect the Texans second round pick to see significant playing time as a rookie and eventually develop into a starter.
Brennan Williams/T/North Carolina (Round 3, pick #89): Were it not for a shoulder issue which hampered Williams in 2012, there’s a good chance he would’ve received top 40 consideration. At the top of his game Williams is a terrific combination of power, athleticism and versatility. Williams offers competition at the tackle spot and could transition into a starting role for Houston if need be.
Sam Montgomery/DE/LSU (Round 3, pick #95): While we like the first three picks, this one is a head scratcher. From a football point of view Montgomery is a one-dimensional 4-3 end with limited upside. From an athletic point of view he possesses marginal size, speed and growth potential. Worst of all, he’s a poor fit for the Texans 3-4 alignment. And even after all that there are major personality issues Montgomery brings with him.
Trevardo Williams/DE-OLB/UConn (Round 4, pick #124): Athleticism and speed are not a question for Williams. On the other hand his 6-foot, 1.5-inch/241-pound frame makes it difficult to find a place for him on the field. In the Texans defensive scheme Williams fits as a pass rushing linebacker and will add depth to the tandem of Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus. Williams size and style are similar to another fourth round choice; three time Pro-Bowl player Elvis Dumervil.
David Quessenberry/OL/San Jose State (Round 6, pick #176): Quessenberry entered the draft rated as a potential third round choice. For some reason, and we’ve not found out why, he slid into the late part of the draft’s final day. The versatile Quessenberry can line up at tackle or guard. Considering starter Wade Smith is 32 years old and his back-up is undrafted free Cody White, this pick not only offers value but could be a real bargain for Houston in the future.
Alan Bonner/WR/Jacksonville State (Round 6, pick #195): Bonner was an interesting selection in round six as he’s a polished pass catcher with reliable hands but pedestrian game speed. Bonner offers competition for the fifth receiver spot but in the end he’ll likely find himself on a practice squad in the league.
Chris Jones/DL/Bowling Green (Round 6, pick #198): Just like third round choice Sam Montgomery, we wonder how Jones fits the Houston defense. The explosive defender made an inordinate amount of tackles behind the line of scrimmage in college but his size and style really dictates three technique tackle in the NFL. Jones is a natural fit when the Texans line up four defenders up front but in the end he may struggle making the roster.
Ryan Griffin/TE/UConn (Round 6, pick #201): From a player point of view we’ve always liked Griffin. He’s dependable, catches the ball well and gives effort blocking. Then again from a prospect point of view Griffin is a marginal athlete, lacks the speed to break downfield as a pass catcher and the size to hold up as a blocker. Rather than a sixth round selection Griffin could’ve been signed after the draft as a free agent.
Grade: B. Except for a few bumps, there’s a lot to like in this draft. Houston filled a need at receiver and got an immediate starter in round one. Second round choice DJ Swearinger should quickly make his presence felt and they added depth as well as a few situational specialists on the final day. Not bad for a team who hopes to compete for a conference title this season.