HOUSTON - What to make of the Houston Texans' offseason? Consider that question one that will need to be decided ... only by the end of the season.
New GM Nick Caserio added 29 new players. Of the 25 signed, only one was added for longer than a season. Several moves could be considered one-and-done offers, but others might be viewed as prove-it deals set to return in 2022.
The Texans' situation with Deshaun Watson puts a hold on all trades should Caserio make him available. (Which we believe he had done, until ... you know.) This also could lead Houston into drafting insurance early should the situation continue to unravel.
There's plenty of scenarios that could happen come April 30 when on the clock at No. 67. For now, here's a seven-round, Texans-only NFL mock draft.
67th Overall: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
Desmond King should command the nickel role next season while Bradley Roby should remain on the outside. In the new Tampa 2 zone scheme, Houston needs a playmaker who can fit Lovie Smith's style early to command the boundary.
Melifonwu is a perfect fit for the zone-style Smith is hoping to bring to the table. The former Syracuse defender is willing to play the run, has exceptional ball skills and is physical when asked to play in man.
In today's NFL, teams need more than one superstar cover corner to stop the pass. Houston doesn't have that sure-fire defender on the outside entering the season. Melifonwu isn't a master at either style of defense, but he has tremendous upside as next big star for a defense.
109th Overall: Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
Wide receiver is still somewhat of a weakness for Houston. Losing both DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller in back-to-back seasons now puts pressure on Randall Cobb to live up to his contract and Brandin Cooks to become the true No.1 threat.
Atwell led the ACC in receiving and touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019. His ability to create separation in the open field also allows him to work well on short passes, turning them into massive gains.
Gadget players are becoming accustomed to offenses today. Atwell's speed and ability to make defenders miss should have him finding a niche role next season and beyond.
147th Overall: Drake Jackson, OL, Kentucky
Houston parted ways with Nick Martin and signed veteran Justin Britt on a one-year deal. The former Seahawks lineman is looking to show after missing a season, he still can be a competent center.
Jackson started 44 games during his four seasons with the Wildcats. A two-time All-SEC center, his best role has been helping Kentucky thrive in the run game. Best used in run-heavy schemes, Jackson's versatility should allow him to be a nice depth piece for 2021.
158th Overall: Bobby Brown III, DL, Texas A&M
For now, Houston has a six-man rotation off the edge in the new 4-3 scheme that should suffice for at least next season. The interior part of the defensive line is where the Texans needs to upgrade.
Brown comes from Mike Elko's 4-2-5 system that was one of the best in controlling the run. His ability as a bull-rusher up the middle makes dangerous in gap runs and pressuring the quarterbacks.
195th Overall: Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois
In a loaded receiver draft class, a name like Imatorbhebhe will be lost among the proven names. After his Pro Day in which he posted a 46.5" vertical, the former Illini target has the chance to be a supersize vertical threat similar to that of D.K. Metcalf in Seattle. Houston needs that for their future.
203rd Overall: Reed Blankenship, S, Middle Tennessee
Expect the Texans to be rolling with multiple formations of a five defensive back sets. Should Houston use a big nickel, adding a name like Blankenship allows Houston to run style where Justin Reid can play the middle and the former Middle Tennessee defender can stay deep.
212th Overall: Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
Rochell is a low-risk, high-reward player to add late. Coming from a small school like Central Arkansas perhaps hurts his immediate chance to play, but in three years, he recorded 38 pass deflections and 10 interceptions. He'll need time, but the potential for a late-round starter at a position of need is too good to pass on.
233rd Overall: Miller Forristall, TE, Alabama
Forristall played an "H-back" role in Tuscaloosa as a blocker, but improved as a receiving threat his final season. Houston needs help at both spots for tight end, so any player coming from a winning program like Alabama might be worth the risk this late.
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