NFL Draft on tap: A Texans brew -- What's Houston looking for in this year's draft?


Terrance. This is stupid stuff.

After viewing my fair share of NFL mock drafts, I’ve seen enough predictions that Houston would use their 27th pick on DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson to fill the need at wide receiver.

Although DeAndre Hopkins was the leading receiver in the ACC, he should not be the leading receiver on the Houston draft board.

In the search of a number two receiver, Houston’s ideal player would be a Tavon Austin or Keenan Allen; someone who could compliment Andre Johnson’s deep play ability with a threat in the short game. But Austin and Allen probably won’t go that far.

But instead of selecting Hopkins, I believe Terrance Williams is a better fit for Houston.

With almost 2,000 total receiving yards in his senior season, Williams has received a lot of flack for being a primarily deep threat receiver. Averaging 18.9 yards a catch, recording 40+ yard catches in eleven games, and touchdown catches that average out to 35 yards each, Williams is certainly one of the best deep threat wide receivers in the draft.

But he isn’t restrained to just deep passes. In Baylor’s high-tempo spread offense, Williams was a perfect role for the deep threat, but possesses the skills for quicker and shorter routes more than Hopkins.

In the NFL combine Williams recorded a faster 40-yard dash time, 10-yard dash time, and a faster 20-yard shuttle time; indications of a receiver who can move quickly in short routes. However, these are indications that do not have much game film to provide evidence for Williams as a short game receiver. That just wasn’t his role.

After the release of Kevin Walters, it seems the common conclusion in replacing Walters is finding someone relatively like him. That conclusion leads to what feels like a wish list of possible candidates:

1. Tavon Austin. Nah, he’s not going to be there later.
2. Keenan Allen. Nope. He won’t either.
3. DeAndre Hopkins. Well, he ain’t Austin or Allen. But he’s got ‘Andre’ in his
name… Why not.

Terrance Williams doesn’t quite fit the mold, but is it worth drafting the third-best of the type when you can draft a player that is not that far behind in short pass skills, and can also take one for 80? Since when is big play a bad thing?

And if Rick Smith feels at all like he is settling for a receiver, he should not draft either. There’s plenty more the Texans need.

The rushing defense of Houston got absolutely blasted towards the end of the season. After the loss of Brian Cushing to an injury, an investment in an inside linebacker would be a smart decision. If Manti Te’o falls back that far in the first round, he would be a good fit. Kevin Minter of LSU is also an option.

With Shaun Cody as the main talent at nose tackle, Jesse Williams out of Alabama could be a good decision. You need a strong presence in the middle to take on run blocks, especially in a 3-4 where the nose is getting double-teamed every play.

Even though Houston filled the free safety hole with Ed Reed in the off-season, I think it would be a wasted opportunity if the Texans didn’t select an exceptional safety at some point in the draft to gain Reed’s mentorship. Players don’t get that opportunity often, and Ed Reed may not be around long. Matt Elam could be a second-round choice, or possibly even Tyrann Mathieu. That kid certainly needs some kind of guidance to pull out his full potential.

But at this point, wide receiver seems to be the biggest necessity for the Texans. We’ll find out later tonight.