We're now onto the twentieth pick in our second annual CSC community mock draft. Today's pick for the Houston Texans was made by FriarBob. I will let him take over and reveal the player he has selected. Thanks to him for his participation.
Friar Bob may only be the assistant to the big cheese of Sherwood Forest, but don't let that fool you. Without his blessing not a single mission is undertaken, and there are far too many greedy extortionist churchmen and downtrodden poor in Medieval England even for the Merry Band to fully handle, so he keeps rather busy. But he was able to squeeze in just a bit of time to share some of his unearthly wisdom about a game that won't be invented for centuries with you today (Note: Friar Bob may have threatened to sic Little John and Will Scarlet on Saintsational if he didn't get an appropriate introduction).
With the twentieth pick in the 2010 CSC community mock draft, the Houston Texans select...
Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Last year the Texans completed a huge milestone in their short existence. They actually failed to lose eight or more games. This momentous occurrence caused enormous celebrations to break out in approximately one out of 5,000 households in a tiny subset of the Houston metroplex, but hey it's a start.
While only two of their losses were by a field goal or less, they did have a few other games where they could have won had they sustained drives, but they couldn't pick up a crucial 3rd-and-1 and/or punch it in from the goal line. But despite this, their most critical first round need is not a power rusher. For one, there is no guarantee they will find themselves in the same positions next year. Two, the rushing problems were at least partially caused by injury, and nobody knows if that will recur next year either. Three, their offensive line is young, which likely means they need to improve to some degree, but also means drafting an lineman or backfield player in the first round is highly unlikely. Four, there are plenty of power rushers who will still be available later if they decide they want one after all. And five, and most important, there is a much more critical need on this team.
Last year, Dunta Robinson was franchised, and he complained about it vociferously. Granted, the lack of long-term security is a valid complaint for players in this type of situation, but he had 9.96 million reasons to shut up and play football, and he couldn't do it. His back and forth with Rick Smith (the GM of the Texans) got to a point where he violated the uniform regulations of the NFL by wearing shoes that said "Pay Me Rick" on the heels. Actually, this is a kind of funny way to make your contract demands, but by the time he wore these in the home opener against the Jets, it was too late by the regulations of the franchise tag for Rick to pay him anymore even if he'd wanted to. In some ways his departure was probably a good thing, because the relationship between him and the team was likely forever sundered, especially after he got fined $25,000 for his stunt and had to apologize publicly for it.
But this leaves the Texans in one serious mess. Unfortunately for their fans they still have never made the playoffs, which makes it harder to attract free agents. They couldn't even manage to land Leigh Bodden over the offseason, who, by the contract he signed with New England, would apparently have been at least semi-affordable. Even though he'd likely want more money to come to a team where his odds of making the playoffs plummet dramatically, I doubt his demands could have been that exorbitant. Even if they had, they need a corner because between facing the NFC East, the Patriots, the Colts, an improving Titans team, and a Jags team that, despite being less than stellar themselves, have of late seemed to have the Texans number. Going into the 2010 season with Jacques Reeves and Glover Quin as your starting corners is a recipe for disaster. Quin actually looks decent, but Reeves didn't get the nickname "burnt toast" for nothing and unless Fred Bennett gets out of the doghouse he's the likely current nickle. Corner Brice McCain has all of 14 career tackles to his credit. About the only way it could be worse is if they added Jason David to the mix.
The Texans have Frank Bush returning for his second season as their defensive coordinator and he's an experienced coach, although this is his first stint as a DC. Still he runs an aggressive 3-4 scheme that features pressuring the quarterback, which interestingly enough does not appear to run a lot of zone-blitz elements. But he doesn't appear to be hooked on man coverage either, so his corners need to be flexible enough to play either. They also appear to require their corner to be physical with their men, including re-routing them off the line and to support against the run. They also value greatly playmakers who can get their hands on the ball, even if only to break up the pass. Finally, with the proliferation of taller receivers in the league, including at least four 6'2"+ WRs in their own division, a 5'10" corner is no longer as wise or safe an investment. Thus, despite having a higher grade on many charts, Kyle Wilson is not the cornerback for this team.
The highest rated remaining available option, and one who fits the profile above much better as well, is Devin McCourty, cornerback out of Rutgers. Though only one inch taller, he seems a much better fit for the Texans. A three-year starter who played with his identical twin brother two previous years (until he was drafted by, interestingly enough, the Tennessee Titans last year), he earned a first-team All-Big East selection in '09 and racked up 80 tackles, breaking up 10 passes and intercepting at least one more. He's also a dangerous return man and has blocked seven punts in his career including three last year, so his special teams contributions would also likely be very welcome. Most importantly, he's very technically sound in his tackling technique, which will be invaluable. He's also got good ability to make up after baiting the QB into thinking he's out of position, which will be highly prized by his new coaches (Analysis based on combined input from Rivals.com and CBSSports.com).
Devin McCourty highlights: