With the NFL Draft about two months away, the Houston Texans already have some depth in the 2012 draft class with a two particular players who were drafted in 2011. The Texans are slated to have all 7 of their picks in the draft and the first one coming at #26. With those picks it will probably safe to say the Texans will be staying away from the cornerback position, especially with their two 2010 draft picks Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael looking to make a difference in the upcoming season. With all of the concerns with the Texans secondary going into last season, the organization drafted two you corners to help the secondary, but with emergence of Brice McCain and the rotation of Kareem Jackson and Jason Allen, both Harris and Carmichael were pushed to the side.
Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael will be two additions to a Texans already deep roster heading into next season. Both Harris and Carmichael will be looking to help in 2012, despite Harris only playing 7 games and limited snaps and Carmichael not playing at all during the 2011 season because of a shoulder injury and landing on the injured reserve before the season started. With both coming back, it would be expected that Jason Allen will be the odd man out and free to leave as a free agent.
Roc Carmichael was drafted in the 4th round (127th overall) in the 2011 draft, and looked to be a solid pick from Virginia Tech and was the defensive leader of the Hokies in 2010. Here was an analysis of Carmichael going into the draft:
Carmichael has plenty of speed, which is the most important commodity in the NFL. He has fluid hips and very good agility to mirror wide receivers in man coverage and shows the ability to recognize tendencies and jump routes in zone coverage. He is a bit undersized and can struggle in run support, but he is a tough competitor who has a relentless motor. Although he has good hands and leaping skills, he tends to keep his back to the quarterback, limiting his ability to track the ball in the air. Carmichael looks to be a third- or fourth-round prospect. (NFL.com)
Carmichael has good speed and scouts have described it as "elite top end speed" and that is something the Texans need in the secondary. He had zero snaps in the preseason, which leaves many questions about him, but having him back for the 2012 season will only provide a younger player to an already young secondary.
As for Brandon Harris, there are questions on why he didn't see the field more in 2011. Many factors, in our mind, contributed to Harris not seeing the field more especially with the strike shorten the learning time for Harris, but more importantly the solid play by the whole secondary. They was no need to rush Harris especially with the top four corners playing so well for the Texans (Johnathan Joseph, Jason Allen, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain), and throw in Sherrick McManis the team had a solid cornerback rotation for the season. Harris was active late in the season and appeared in 7 games, and totaled 3 tackles all season, there was no reason to force him into action. Harris admitted he was frustrated at times, but he had the luxury of getting a full season under his belt listening and watching. The Texans may have learned about rushing rookies, especially with the Jackson failure in 2010 and didn't want to damage a nice prospect in Harris.
Whatever the issues may have been with Harris, his time will come next season and will be expected to be apart of the success built-in this past season. Where Harris will fit will still needs to be decided, but he should be apart of some core units for the Texans team, like special teams.
The Texans have an advantage bringing in a 2nd and 4th round pick who had little to no game action in their rookie year, and adding them to the upcoming potential draft class the Texans will be bringing in 8-9 new players to the roster. It depends on how you label Harris going into next season, but the 2nd round draft pick didn't get enough time to warrant him a seasoned player heading into the new season. Even still the Texans could be aggressive in the draft knowing they have two defensive players ready to make their mark for the Texans. Harris and Carmichael give the Texans a piece of insurance, and could allow for the Texans to make that "BIG" splash in the 2012 draft.