With just one week left until the off-season, almost every team in the league has a general idea of who they will target and what they want in the draft. One team in particular is in a very odd and difficult situation. The Houston Texans, as of now, do not own a first or second round pick. The one silver lining regarding the Texans draft capital is the fact that they will most likely receive a compensatory third round pick, which would grant Houston a total of three picks in the third. Here are a few Senior Bowl players the Texans should target.
Houston Texans 2018 Senior Bowl Targets
Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
When a player that weighs 340 lbs. has the word “athletic” following him through scouting reports all year, it tends to draw some attention. Wherever Will Hernandez goes he will be a starter by week one. This is almost certain due to how physical and strong he is, which puts him ahead of a lot of the other guards in this class. His balance in pass-protection isn’t where it needs to be yet but it’s good enough for now. Hernandez will be gone by the middle of the second round.
Tyrell Crosby (OT, Oregon)
Tyrell Crosby is a long, athletic, and quick tackle. His play at Oregon might portray him to be better than he actually is. The offense he blocked in heavily favored quick, agile, undersized offensive linemen. In the NFL, Crosby will be bullied if he doesn’t bulk up and work on his leverage. Thankfully, he probably won’t be asked to start early in his career. Crosby would be a steal in the fourth.
Duke Dawson (CB, Florida)
Duke Dawson can ball. Yes, he’s only 5’10 and yes, the NFL loves big, tall corners. However, that doesn’t matter to Dawson. Six career picks in four years isn’t great but he defended 17 total passes which is a solid number. Some teams will overlook this guy due to his size and eventually they’ll regret it. The Florida corner will fit right in to a starting, slot corner role for whomever selects him. He’ll go somewhere between the middle of the fourth and early fifth round.
DeShon Elliott (FS, Texas)
DeShon Elliott is an intriguing prospect. Some believe he should’ve stayed in school another year to work on his game; others say he should be picked in the first round. He’s a stiff, un-natural mover on the field which is a direct correlation to his lack of speed. A lack of speed from a safety prospect can be a deal-breaker. If he falls into the right situation, coaching could help him immensely. He will have early success playing around the box as a nickel-backer in sub packages. Elliott should be picked early in the third.
Allen Lazard (WR, Iowa State)
Allen Lazard is a big receiver who knows how to use his size, making the connection to the Texans a natural fit. That skill is not as common as one might think. At 6’5, he jumps well enough to have the highest set of hands on every play, unless a 6’5 corner is covering him. His hands are solid, but his route-running must improve. Initially, he will be asked to be the “jump-ball, fade-route in the end-zone” role, but he can develop into a starting wide out one day. Lazard would be a good fourth round pick.
M.J. Stewart (CB, North Carolina)
If the Texans are looking for someone who is used to playing press-man coverage, then M.J. Stewart is should be that player. He’s tough, durable and physical. He started all four years in college, compiling 199 total tackles. Since Stewart played all four years, football IQ is a term teams will use when talking about him. At six feet tall, teams will use him against inside and outside receivers. Stewart should go sometime during the fifth.
Those were only a few players from the Senior Bowl that would be great fits on the 2018 Texans team. New general manager Brian Gaine will have to take these players into consideration when draft-season rolls around in April.