2017 NFL Draft: Houston Texans on the clock at No. 25
Sports Xchange - Friday 21st April, 2017
This is one in a series that covers each team, offering viewers information for homework, suggestions and then the opportunity to make a draft pick.
When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the Houston Texans have the No. 25. pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com's experts.
Who would you pick and why?
Top five needs
--1. Quarterback: This remains the top need for a struggling offense that unloaded an ineffective Brock Osweiler and his $72 million contract in a trade to the Browns. The Texans are expected to draft a quarterback especially after the decision by Tony Romo to retire. For now, their top option under center is Tom Savage.
--2. Defensive back: The Texans lost starters A.J. Bouye and Quintin Demps during free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears, respectively. Bouye emerged as a shutdown corner last season. Demps led all safeties with six interceptions. Replacing them will likely involve cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Johnathan Joseph getting healthier and likely drafting a few defensive backs.
--3. Tackle: The offensive line, especially right tackle, is a vulnerable area. It's dangerously thin with Derek Newton not expected back this season after tearing both patellar tendons last season. Chris Clark was not good as his replacement. The Texans are evaluating several college tackles, including Utah's Garett Bolles and Alabama's Cam Robinson and are likely to draft a tackle at some point. They could also use help at guard. Neither Xavier Su'a-Filo or Jeff Allen was particularly stout last season.
--4. Running back: Lamar Miller wore down at the end of a productive season. There really isn't a quality backup capable of spelling him for long on the roster currently, including Alfred Blue. The Texans have been looking at running backs, including Pitt's James Conner visiting.
--5. Defensive tackle: Although D.J. Reader shapes up as a sure-fire replacement for Vince Wilfork, they still need depth at the position. They have been evaluating several defensive linemen, including North Carolina's Nazair Jones.
--QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: The Texans have a glaring need at quarterback after trading away Brock Osweiler to the Browns and Tony Romo opting to go to CBS as an analyst rather than play for them. They currently have Tom Savage, who is prone to injuries, atop the depth chart. They need to identify a quarterback for the future and Mahomes fits the bill. He has a strong arm and is instinctive, but needs polish and time to develop.
The pick will be ...
--Rob Rang: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. Getting rid of the colossal Osweiler contract was a relief in itself, but unless a veteran replacement is found, quarterback is now the top priority again in Houston. Watson's ability to deliver in the clutch intrigues scouts, but he also threw an FBS-worst 30 interceptions over the past two seasons, making him a polarizing player in the scouting community. At this point in the draft, however, general manager Rick Smith might see him as simply too talented to pass up.
--Dane Brugler: Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin. Regardless of who is at quarterback, the Texans need to invest in offensive line help to have any hope at a passing game. Ramczyk should continue the long, successful pipeline of Wisconsin blockers to the NFL.
--Jim Miller: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. As an ex-quarterback, Miller's explanation on this key pick should be interesting, so check out the accompanying video.
(Pat Kirwan, Miller picks based on last Friday's mock on SiriusXM Radio. Listen to their next mock Friday, April 21, on SiriusXM NFL Radio channel 88).
--Frank Cooney, IMO: Quarterback is the obvious need. Although there is a lot of negativity about this class, there are a dozen teams that list the position as a top-three need. So if one goes earlier than expected, you can count on nervous teams making a run on the position. If that means Jim Miller's pick, Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes, is gone, I believe the Texans may have a shot at one of the more overlooked talents in the draft -- Cal quarterback Davis Webb. He can throw the ball as well as anybody in the draft and most of the starters in the NFL. He is still developing as a passer, but has the knack to fit the ball where it belongs.
Your chance to go on the record
OK, it's your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.
Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and 25th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
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