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.