Roundtable: Senior Bowl and Draft Talk
Patrick D. Starr
Once again Mike and Pat dive into the Senior Bowl and talk about options for the Houston Texans coming up in the 2012 draft. The two cover the first three days of the Senior Bowl and give their thoughts on a variety of topics and players. Enjoy.
Roundtable Thoughts from the First 3 Days of Senior Bowl Practice
MK: I'm seeing mocks today that have WR Alshon Jeffrey being on the board when we pick and us passing on him. I'm sure his stock will rise after this weekend, but I don't understand the knocks against this guy. He looks like a future star to me.
PDS: I'm still wondering about Jeffery. Saw him in his bowl game and I wasn't super impressed. Had a big catch to end the half, but looks stiff to me. All legs and arms. Got muscled up at times on his routes, but he is young and can always learn. He just does not look fluid.
MK: I still think even if he doesn't have a strong showing at the combine, he's off the board in the top 20. I know all these people keep talking about Kendall Wright out of Baylor, but I think that defeats the argument of wanting a guy who could be the #2 now and possibly the #1 in the future. He doesn't have the physicality or the size (5'10") to be a #1. He's a slot guy in the NFL at best. Sure, he's fast, but when you have a QB that routinely under throws guys, I'm going to need a bit more height than that.
This is why in my pre-Senior Bowl mock draft I have coming out Wednesday has us taking WR Dwight Jones from UNC. I think this kid is going to be the steal of the draft for WR's. He's 6'4", 225 and had a monster senior season. He replaced Greg Little out there and did a terrific job. I wouldn't mind adding another Tar Heel to this club if it's Jones.
Another guy to keep an eye on through this process is WR Mohamed Sanu out ofRutgers. If he has a good combine showing, I could see him boosting his stock to a 1st rounder.
PDS: Are we sold it is going to be a Wide Receiver in round 1? I'm not especially if the right guy is not there.
This is the first time in a long time where the Texans have a luxury of exploring every position option out there. If there is any position in draft history is hit or miss has to be the wide receiver. If the Texans can pick up a Sanu (Rutgers) or Nick Toon (Wisconsin) or a McNutt (Iowa) in the second round they might be a tremendous value in the 2nd round. 26th overall is a luxury pick. All of the teams before them could reach for picks and skip over some real players. There are not many reach picks for playoff teams.
I have my thoughts on a few positions, but there are a few nose tackles out there that could provide some help behind Shaun Cody and enable move Earl Mitchell to a 5 technique to help shore up an already deep defensive line.
Nose tackles in the draft, Jerel Worthy 6'3 310 lbs (Mich St.)AlamedaTa'amu 6'3 330 lbs (Washington) and Dontari Poe 6'5 350 lbs. (Memphis)
MK: Oh, you know me, homie. I'm all about best player available in this draft. But unlike a guy like Aaron, I don't believe Maehl or Lestar Jean is the answer. They're going to HAVE to upgrade at WR. However, I do agree that one of those guys will likely slip to them in the second round. It's actually a pretty deep draft for receivers.
I like the nose tackle idea, but I've given up on the Texans ever fully addressing that issue. The dream of having a 350 pound space-eater up the middle died for me a long time ago. Until I actually see it, I don't believe they'll ever draft a big boy.
PDS: Still think the Texans sign a free agent WR and draft one. I'm excited to think the Texans have a chance to find a potential starter at 26, and it needs to fill a void. The only real void the Texans have right now is the #2 WR. Walter will still be the #2 going into the season.
MK: I still think Walter is a cap casualty due to his contract and them needing to make room for the deal that Mario Williams IS going to get. Unless it's a guy like Meachem or Manningham (which I would LOVE) I don't see them having the financial flexibility to sign a free agent WR. This is why I have them taking 2 WR's in the first 3 rounds of my latest mock.
PDS: Don't see Walter going anywhere as long as Kubiak is inHouston. Walter and Dre are the only two receivers that are guaranteed spot on the 2012 roster. Still think the Texans are going one via free agency and one in the draft. Kubiak's nerves can't handle two young unproven receivers.
MK: It all depends on what they get Mario back for. Money is going to play a huge role and the Texans don't have much free after a new Mario deal.
MK: After day 2, I already dislike my Dwight Jones pick in the first. I don't want to make too much off of one senior bowl practice, because, well, we're talkin’ about practice. But I expected to see a little more. Anxious to see some Sanu and Jeffery at the combine.
PDS: I think you and I both agree that this is a deep wide receiver class. Someone, either in the 1st or 2nd round will be there for the Texans. The big thing is to determine the value of the WR's and see if there is that big drop off after pick #26.
Couple of players I like after the initial senior bowl practices are Gerell Robinson (Az. St.) and Joe Adams (Arkansas). Robinson is a big player at 6'3"; I likeAdamsdespite his size because he is an electric player especially in the return game and has some good hands catching passes.
MK: I think they could get a serviceable guy in the 2nd or later, but it they're truly wanting a game changer and possible heir to Andre, it needs to happen at 26. I don't care about his warts, if Jeffery is there at 26; I tear an achilles getting to the podium to make the selection on draft night. He has #1 potential and I feel good enough about our staff to "coach him up."
PDS: I keeping reading an all or nothing description with Jeffery. I don't have an honest opinion on him yet, like you said it is early.
I think we need to find an heir to replace Andre years from now, but who is to say that guy doesn't come in the next few years. You still have a window with Andre, maybe the Texans need to great WR’s, because in all honesty we probably won't find another Andre. The Texans need to upgrade the whole position.
MK: So you want to wait until Andre declines, or god forbid, become MORE injury prone? This would be the year to go after a stud WR since there are no glaring holes to fill. I'm not saying to reach, I'm saying if a guy like Jeffery is there, you have to take the chance on him instead of taking a 4th round WR and holding your breath Andre stays healthy. Because that worked so well this year.
You need to let the free agent WR dream go. I have. The team will have to restructure contracts JUST to get a deal done with Mario. There is no money left.
PDS: I think the Texans need to explore ALL options Mario, even if they let him walk. What I'm trying to say about the help for Andre is that if any position is a potential bust it is the wide receiver position, and if they so called "reach" for a WR at 26 they better make sure he is the one. The Texans have some tough decisions to make this offseason, but Mario is a viable option to all 31 teams not named the Texans.
There have been some quality WR’s taken in the second round that are good players in the NFL; all I'm saying is that with the value at WR will there be that big of difference between the WR class after Blackmon, Floyd and Wright? That is what I'm saying, but you also would think this pick would be a starter from day 1.
MK: The myth that Kubiak won't play young kids is just that; a myth. He was completely frustrated with Ben Tate in preseason and what happened? Once he produced, he got on the field a lot. If you practice well and show up to play every day, Kubes is going to find a way to get them on the field. They can't continue to trot out Andre, who might sprain something bending down to tie his shoe, and a bunch of guys who would be a 4th or 5th WR on another team and expect the offense to keep rolling.
Think of what getting a stud WR in the first could do for Arian Foster. He was that good with them stacking the box. With TWO good WR's out there, he could rush for 2,000 yards. But you can't say that only a WR in the 1st has a high bust factor. That's true with any position.
PDS: You don't think it is a higher rate in WR’s? I know what it will do for the offense, but I am looking at overall needs for the team. All I'm trying to say is that if you have all of these other players rated above that one WR, whoever it may be, you jump him up and miss out on those higher rated players? That is where teams get into trouble.
MK: No, where teams get in trouble is continually putting a need off, like the Texans have with a 2nd option in the passing game for the last few years. You know I'm all about best player available and the word "stretch" shouldn't even be in their draft vocabulary this year. But this position can no longer be ignored and filled with guys with "high potential."
PDS: I think Kubiak sat on the offense one more year because of the face lift the Texans needed defensively, and now the offenses needs a tune up. I don't disagree with you the Texans need some NEW wide receivers, and I really don't care how they do it. I do know they need guys when they touch the ball they have the threat to take it to the house. The Texans need more explosive players.
Let me ask you this, I know Joel Dreessen is an important piece of this offense, but have you seen some of the tight ends at the senior bowl? Smelly (Alabama) and Pederson (LSU) are some interesting prospects. Smelley reminds me of Dallas Clark and Pederson is a genetic freak. Would you take them late in the draft and replace Graham or Dreessen with one of them, or is this a mute point because he is going to be resigned.
MK: I think if the team took a tight end, twitter might explode. Lord knows there aren't enough Texans and TE jokes already. That said, I think we have to see what Graham can do before trying to find his replacement. It isn't his fault he has been stuck behind two very good players on the depth chart. If they lose Dreessen, they also have the option of letting James Casey slide back to his natural position. I still believe in best player available, but another TE just seems like overkill on a team that already has more of them than can see the field ever.
PDS: I think there are so many options for the Texans, but WR and NT seem to be the consensus.
MK: More linebackers and I'm not even ruling out more corners, because you can never have too many of either.
PDS: Linebackers? Inside or outside?
MK: Either. Don't forget the injury bug that bit us last year. You can never have enough linebackers in the 3-4. I don't want another situation where we have Reed and Barwin sucking the oxygen tank between plays because we don't have anyone else out there available. I like Dobbins, but with the salary concerns, there are going to be situations where they have to let some guys walk, even if they want them back. Drafted guys in the late rounds are cheap.
MK: I can't believe people are still suggesting the Texans to draft Jeff Fuller out of A&M. The guy looked like an undfrated free agent type prospect yesterday. One dude even suggested we use a 4th on him! I can't shake my head fast enough on that one.
PDS: Fuller was unimpressive on Day 2 at the senior bowl and add that with a lack luster season at Texas A&M he has a lot of work to do. I would keep Jacoby over him and that is saying something, is it?
MK: In this case, it's saying just enough.
PDS: Anyone else you are intrigued about at the senior bowl?
MK:AlamedaTa'amu. He's looking even better today. Fixed the one gripe anyone had about him. I'm beginning to doubt he's available at # 58 in the second round. Regardless of where Mayock currently has him ranked. Unless the Steelers take Dontari Poe, no way do I see Ta'amu getting past them twice.
PDS: I am slowly starting to like a wide receiver from Appalachian State named Brian Quick. 6'3 222 lbs. a big target and has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on him. He is one I am totally keeping my eye on. I think this is the year where the Texans take the elusive nose tackle.
MK: I know this sounds like I'm backtracking, but I'm starting to let myself fall into that trap I do every year where I start to believe this is finally the year they bring in a fat, space-eating nose tackle in the early rounds. But Poe or Ta'amu in the first, given that neither Floyd or Jeffery fall to 26, and I'd be doing back flips...bad back and all. Ta'amu looks like the perfect 3-4 nose in strength and movement. Added to a defensive front with Watt and Antonio and that trip might combine for 25 sacks. DROOL.
I know you haven't been the biggest believer in them going after another tackle, but I liked what I saw from Mitchell Schwartz out ofCal. He can move around the line and I even heard Mayock say that he played some center. Not sure where he's graded, but he looked to be the type of guy Kubes' scheme likes to employ.
PDS: I will say this. I talked to Charles Spencer last night and asked him if every team talked to him at the Senior Bowl when he was there, he said no. Said 20 NFL teams talked to him and the Texans were not one of them. Then I asked when he went to the Scouting Combine if the Texans talked to him there he said no. He never even knew the Texans were interested until Charlie Casserly called him. Thought this was interesting.
I know it’s a different general manager, but it gives some insight to the crazy things that happen when the scouts are out there. I hope just because the Texans have talked to Ta'amu and Schwartz doesn't mean they are not serious about them.
MK: Yeah, who knows how these guys work. But with a team going primarily after depth, I'm sure there isn't anyone they wouldn't be willing to talk to. But I'm sure they have some sort of plan. Watch them shock us all and take Cordy Glenn fromGeorgiain the first.
On wide receivers, let me clear something up. Whenever I bring up Michael Floyd, people are quick to say that his "character issues" will have him off the Texans board completely. I remember thinking that last year about a reason why they wouldn't try to bring in Cromartie and I remember AJ Burge telling me that since Wade got here, that isn't necessarily the case anymore. Bob is letting the coaches have control over personnel, within reason. I'm not sure if that applies only to a defensive player or not, but as long as a guy isn't a serial rapist or trafficking cocaine, I think the Texans will consider talent over some poor decisions made by a 20 year old kid like Floyd.
PDS: Cordy Glenn is a load and right now the best OT at the Senior Bowl.
Without a doubt, I've said it before character issue players always seem to be the ones that know how to play football. Hey our boy Schaub has been arrested, but I agree the nature of what they were arrested for is a big factor.
MK: Floyd has been hit with DUI's. This is why I thought he’d attend the Senior Bowl to help clean up his image, but he’s waiting for the combine. When you can do the things physically that he can do, plenty of teams aren't going to give a damn about what happened at college.
I've been getting badgered by the "hometown guy!" fans a lot on my draft articles. We already talked about Kendall Wright (Baylor) and Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M), but what about Patrick Edwards fromHouston? I knew he was small, having seen him play at UH, but next to the other receivers, namely Dwight Jones, he looks Trindon Holliday small. Definitely doesn't seem to be what the Texans are looking for, right?
PDS: Unfortunately Edwards pulled a muscle on Wednesday but he was looking good. They said he is quicker than fast, but he can create space. He led the nation with 20 touchdown receptions, so he has some skills. He is a serious threat from the slot, wasn't to sure from what I have seen him how he could adapt but he is a very good wide receiver. A third day pick, I would say but if the Texans took him late I would be ok with it. He might be the size of Trindon Holliday, but he catches the ball better than him. Edwards is better than Fuller, poor Fuller is moving slowly to UDFA status.
MK: Other than the disappointing showing out of Dwight Jones, a guy I was hyping up a couple days ago, that's about all I got from the practices. I'm looking forward to the game this weekend. I'm just hoping the piss poor quarterback play doesn't keep the game from being watchable. I'm far more impressed with the defensive players than the offensive ones so far.
PDS: The only three quarterbacks worth talking about are Weeden, Wilson and Cousins. Weeden is the best of the group. I would agree the quarterbacks are lack luster. I think it has caused some receivers some frustrations.
MK: Certainly. This is why I'm not ready to write off Jones for the Texans yet after a couple of practices. I'm looking forward to the game and I'm sure you are as well. It's likely to be more exciting than the Pro Bowl.
PDS: I’m not impressed with Jones even with his film I have seen. Nothing exciting about him, yes I know time will tell. I want to watch the Pro Bowl to see Kubiak talk...
MK: Better you than me.
You can follow Pat on Twitter.