Steph Stradley, who is known as the Texans Chick, has an excellent blog on The Houston Chronicle’s web site. We took some time to do a Q&A about the Texans draft. Here’s an except below and a link to the rest:
. . . In any event, just as I love talking Texans football, Matt loves talking draft. My kind of people.
Our Discussion Below:
Steph: Everybody is talking Texans and wide receiver. Things I think that the Texans may value for their wide receivers over some other teams in no particular are:
1. Special teams ability and speed for same (very key for WR and corners. If they can’t get on field right away as starter, they want as special teams return option because Kubiak hates specialists).
2. Captain, leadership, love of football, good lockerroom guy, bright, hardworking, can pick up details of playbook quickly (applies to all positions on the field).
3. Route running
5. Blocking (this may translate into size–they like being able to run out of formations that usually signal pass but they can block with a WR players typically blocked by TEs).
6. From Texas/southern. Guys who may want to stay in this part of the world after their first contract. Can deal with heat.
I think they may take a big WR and a slot special teams sort of guy. I also think that their draft board tends to look very different than consensus Kiper boards. So I’m looking for some unconventional choices too. Think they are perpetually chasing the modern Rod Smith–a value who can take advantage of the offensive scheme.
Question 1: With these items in mind, which wide receivers might the Texans target at or near the bottom of the first round?
Matt: “A lot of the better NFL receivers of the past 10-15 years have remained productive well into their mid-thirties so I’m not concerned about Andre Johnson’s immediate future. So when I listen you’re run-down of what you believe the Texans want from their receivers I think you’re on the money. It means the team is likely seeking a flanker (Z receiver) to complement Johnson, but has the vertical prowess to take over Johnson’s role as the X.
The receivers projected to go in the 1st-2nd round after Kendall Wright and Justin Blackmon include Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, LSU’s Reuben Randle, Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu, and Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill.
Neither Blackmon nor Sanu are vertical threats – they will never become X receivers. But they are physical, glue-fingered flankers that can get yardage after the catch and return kicks. Blackmon is the better route runner, but (read the rest of the Q&A here) . . .