Texans Draft Prospects
Ethan Epley ’16
The most exciting aspect of NFL offseason is approaching: the 2015 draft. With the date
of April 30th fast approaching, teams are already in the process of coming up with trades,
evaluating players for drafting, and creating a plan for the whole event. For the Texans, this will
be another critical draft, despite not having the number one overall pick. This is the second year
with a new head coach and the Texans will hope to make a big team impact using the sixteenth
overall pick well. Many analysts have disagreed about the position of the next Texan draftee,
some saying defense, some saying offense.
First, one of the stars of the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine was Trae Waynes. He ran one
of the top three fastest 40-yard dash times at the combine and was widely considered to have
impressed the most out of any player there. The Texans have an important decision to make.
First, they could bolster the Texans defense that led the NFL in takeaways last season. Or, the
Texans to attempt to jumpstart their offense which sometimes struggled to put points on the
board last season. With Kareem Jackson, Kendrick Lewis, and Danieal Manning all unrestricted
free agents, the Texans could definitely use a new defensive back. However, veteran wide
receiver Andre Johnson also appears to be leaving this offseason, leaving a gaping whole in the
offense that needs to be filled. Trae Waynes could fulfill the defense aspect of the wish list. As a
Spartan, Waynes started his sophomore and junior year at cornerback tallying two fumble
recoveries, thirteen passes defended, and six interceptions.
Another great draft possibility is La’el Collins. The offensive tackle from LSU is
renowned to have great blocking potential and several analysts say he could be the first offensive
tackle taken in the draft. Collins would be a great addition to the offense. With an ability to move
inside and become a guard, La’el Collins could provide great blocking for running plays. If last
season was any indication, the Texans will continue to utilize Arian Foster and Alfred Blue as
central pieces in the offense. That type of play calling will make great blockers like La’el Collins
critical members of the team.
Somewhat of an interesting pick in Charles Davis’ mock draft was the Texans taking
Melvin Gordon sixteenth overall. Melvin Gordon has been one of the most explosive college
athletes of the past year. After having the season of his career at Wisconsin, Melvin Gordon was
a Heisman trophy finalist, ultimately losing to Marcus Mariota. In 2014, Gordon ran for over
2500 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, scoring 29 touchdowns, and averaging over 180 yards
per game. Those incredible statistics seem to be a great indicator of the wealth of talent that this
young man holds. While undoubtedly a great addition to an offense, the Texans already have two
strong runners in Foster and Blue. This raises the question of whether the Texans would create
depth with this draft choice or if he would actually start. Either way, it is an interesting option.
Finally, Jalen Collins seems to be another possible first round pick for the Texans. He is
another defensive back and hails from LSU like La’el Collins. One drawback however is that
Jalen only has ten career starts so he is relatively untested. Despite that, he possesses the height
and weight that would seem to make him a good contender in the NFL. Plus, with a time of 4.48,
he’s not the slowest cornerback entering the draft. Jalen provides the same benefits as Trae
Waynes, providing the Texans secondary with needed personnel after free agents are signed.
All draft possibilities look to have a great impact on the team. The Texans will
undoubtedly have a tough decision to make. It will be important to either bolster the offense or
strengthen the defense after the free agency period. All four players look like they could make an
significant impact as Bill O’Brian hopes to build off of the success of last season and hopefully
lock down the AFC South and clinch a playoff spot.