Texans Mock Draft Machine: Version 4.0

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A week away from the 2011 NFL Draft, we’ve updated our Texans Mock Draft Machine for the fourth time with projections from some of the most prominent mock drafts on the web.

Our Mock Machine surveys 16 mocks to project the top-10 picks in the draft. We leave the Texans’ pick at No. 11 up to a different expert each week. This week, that expert was Paul Kuharsky, the AFC South blogger for ESPN.com.

Our full methodology, including a link to each of the 16 surveyed mock drafts, can be found at the bottom of the page. Here are the results of our fourth Texans Mock Draft Machine:

Pick

Team

Player

Frequency

1

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Also receiving votes: Marcell Dareus (1), Patrick Peterson (1)

14 (88%)

2

Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama
Also receiving votes: Von Miller (2)

14 (88%)

 

 

 

3

Von Miller, LB, Texas AM

11 (69%)

 

 

Also receiving votes: Blaine Gabbert (3), Dareus (1), Newton (1)

 

4

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Also receiving votes: Gabbert (2), Da’Quan Bowers (1), Nick Fairley (1), Peterson (1)

11 (69%)

 

 

 

5

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Also receiving votes: Miller (3), Quinn (2), Peterson (2)

9 (56%)

6

Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Also receiving votes: Green (6), Julio Jones (3), Fairley (1), Peterson (1)

5 (31%)

7

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Also receiving votes: Prince Amukamara (2), Gabbert (2), Quinn (1)

11 (69%)

8

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Also receiving votes: Corey Liuget (1), Jake Locker (1), J.J. Watt (1)

13 (81%)

9

Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Also receiving votes: Watt (2), Anthony Castonzo (1), Cameron Jordan (1)

12 (75%)

 

 

 

10

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Also receiving votes: Quinn (2), Watt (2), Locker (1), Newton (1), Aldon Smith (1)

9 (56%)

The Texans’ pick (made by Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com):

11

Houston Texans

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

 

 

Kuharsky: “I think the Texans would be disappointed that Robert Quinn’s not around, but I think that’s a dream that they’re probably coming to terms with already that it’s not going to happen. Given this scenario, I think the most likely guy would be Aldon Smith… I’m intrigued, if they stay put at 11 and it pans out like this, by J.J. Watt. I think he’s a very, very good player and could be a very big value at that spot, but he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup for the Texans because he plays the same position as and in the 3-4. He would provide the Texans with great depth at defensive end, but is he an impact guy on opening day the way that they need? Probably not. And so I’m going need over best player available with Aldon Smith.”

Here’s who was picked for the Texans in our 16-mock survey: Quinn (5 votes), Prince Amukamara (4), Ryan Kerrigan (3), Smith (3) and Watt (1).

METHODOLOGY: We polled 16 mock drafts, tabulating how many times a player was picked for each of the top-10 teams in the draft. A player who got the most “votes,” as we call them, at each team was the pick. If a player was the leading vote-getter for more than one team, he went to the team where he had a higher number of votes. The other team received the player with the next-highest vote total.

All of the mocks used were the author/website’s most current mock as of April 21 at 9:30 a.m. CT.

The mock drafts in our survey: (ESPN.com – 4/6), (ESPN.com – 4/20), (SI.com – 4/13), (Pro Football Weekly – 4/15), (Pro Football Talk – 4/19), (NFL Draft Scout/CBS – 4/18), (NFL Draft Scout/CBS – 4/18), (Sporting News – 4/20), (4/7), (NFL.com – 4/12), (NFL.com – 4/11), (NFL.com – 4/18), (Houston Chronicle – 4/18), (View from the Sideline – 4/19), (4/19), (4/17).

Texans Mock Draft Machine: Version 1.0

With the 2011 NFL Draft less than six weeks away, mock draft season is in full bloom.

We’ve crunched the numbers on 15 different mocks from around the web to project the top-10 picks in the draft. We’ve also included a projection for the Texans’ pick at No. 11 overall, and then asked a guest expert for his pick considering who was available on our board.

A different expert will do the honors for the Texans’ pick each week. This week, it was Marc Vandermeer, the “Voice of the Texans” for SportsRadio 610 AM.

From the 15 mocks in our survey (full list below the table), we tabulated how many times a player was picked for each of the top 11 teams in the draft. A player who got the most “votes,” as we’ll call them, at each team was the pick. There were a couple of exceptions where a player was the top vote-getter for more than one team. That player went to the team where he had a higher number of votes, and the other team ended up with the player who had the next-highest number of votes.

Here are the results of our first-ever Texans Mock Draft Machine:

Pick

Team

Player

Frequency

1

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Also receiving votes: Cam Newton (33%), Marcell Dareus (13%), Patrick Peterson (13%)

40%

2

Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama
Also receiving votes: Da’Quan Bowers (20%), Nick Fairley (13%), Robert Quinn (13%)

53%

 

 

 

3

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

27%

 

 

Also receiving votes: Marcell Dareus (27%), Patrick Peterson (20%), Da’Quan Bowers (13%), Von Miller (7%), J.J. Watt (7%)

 

4

Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Also receiving votes: A.J. Green (33%), Blaine Gabbert (13%), Cam Newton (13%), Nick Fairley (7%), Julio Jones (7%), Patrick Peterson (7%)

20%

 

 

 

5

Von Miller, LB, Texas AM
Also receiving votes: Blaine Gabbert (27%), Da’Quan Bowers (7%)

67%

6

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Also receiving votes: Da’Quan Bowers (20%), Marcell Dareus (7%), Nick Fairley (7%), Julio Jones (7%)

60%

7

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Also receiving votes: Von Miller (27%), Blaine Gabbert (13%), Robert Quinn (13%)

47%

8

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Also receiving votes: Da’Quan Bowers (13%), Patrick Peterson (13%), Robert Quinn (13%)

60%

9

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Also receiving votes: Tyron Smith (20%), Anthony Castonzo (13%), Cameron Jordan (7%), J.J. Watt (7%)

53%

 

 

 

10

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Also receiving votes: Prince Amukamara (13%), Cameron Jordan (13%), Aldon Smith (13%), Ryan Mallett (7%), Robert Quinn (7%), J.J. Watt (7%)

40%

11

Houston Texans

Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Also receiving votes: Prince Amukamara (20%), Cameron Jordan (13%), Brandon Harris (7%), Justin Houston (7%), Cory Liuget (7%), Aldon Smith (7%), J.J. Watt (7%)

29%

The pick from Marc Vandermeer of SportsRadio 610:

11

Houston Texans

Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina

 

 

Vandermeer: “I hate to go with the chalk, but I have to. I know about the missed season, we know about the troubles, but the fact is that as an athletic prospect as far as what their needs are – and they need to get after the passer, they need people to fit the 3-4 coached by Wade Phillips – he fits that need. We have coming back from injury, and we don’t know what Connor’s going to look like; I’m looking forward to seeing how he is. But you definitely need depth and you need somebody to be a potential world-beater there, and maybe it’s Barwin, and maybe Quinn can do the same thing. And I don’t think they’re done picking at this position in the draft. I think there’s some insurance coming up later on in the draft, midway through – fourth/fifth round, maybe even earlier – but it’s a position of much need for them. We’ve talked about the secondary an awful lot this offseason and toward the latter half of last season, how it was such a concern… But I think the secondary’s going to look a whole lot better with a better pass rush… If I’ve got to go number one need here, it’s going to be Quinn. If (Prince) Amukamara does drop, it’s going to be pretty tempting to take him. They just took last year, though, and I think Wade Phillips feels like he can turn Kareem Jackson into a good player still. One year, you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. You re-group with him, you get his confidence going again and you get him playing well. And again, he’s going to look better with a better pass rush. So I’ve got to go with Quinn, because he’s available, because it’s the most pressing need: Pressure on the passer.”

NOTE: All of the mocks in our survey were posted after the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Each was the author/website’s most current mock as of March 11 at 10 a.m. CT.

The mock drafts: Mel Kiper (ESPN.com), Don Banks (SI.com), Nolan Nawrocki (Pro Football Weekly), Evan Silva (Pro Football Talk), Chad Reuter (NFL Draft Scout/CBS), Rob Rang (NFL Draft Scout/CBS), Russ Lande (Sporting News), Wes Bunting (National Football Post), Pat Kirwan (NFL.com), Michael Lombardi (NFL.com), Steve Wyche (NFL.com), John McClain (Houston Chronicle), Lance Zierlein (Houston Chronicle), Walter Football, OurLads.com.

Pass rushers aplenty at 2011 combine

*This article is part of our 2011 Path to the Draft coverage presented by Warehouse Pool Supply.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Texans are in the market for pass rushers, and there were plenty to be found on Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Defensive ends and outside linebackers, including top talents like Texas AM’s Von Miller and North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, filtered through Lucas Oil Stadium for measurements and media interviews throughout the day.

Miller (6-2 ½, 246) led the nation with 17 sacks as a junior defensive end. He became a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2010 and had 10.5 sacks, earning the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and consensus first-team All-America honors.

Some projections have Miller going as high as the third overall pick to Buffalo, so he might be long gone by the time the Texans pick at number 11. But he’d be a happy man if he ended up in Houston.

“It’d be great to play for the Houston Texans, an hour away from Aggieland,” he said. “There’s a strong Aggie following all over the world, but particularly in Houston. I’ve got a lot of friends up there. It’s an hour away from College Station.

“I know a lot about the Houston Texans. They have Coach (Reggie) Herring; he was at Texas AM for like two weeks. Coach Wade Phillips with the 3-4 defense. Coach (Gary) Kubiak, a great Aggie.”

As talented and accomplished as he is, Miller showed off a humble side on Saturday.

“First and foremost, I’m going to be a great teammate (in the NFL),” he said. “I’m a team guy. That’s how I play football. I’ll be a rookie; whatever those guys want me to do, I’ll be happy to do it. Just find my way, find my role, whatever it takes to get on the field.”

Quinn (6-4, 265), a 4-3 defensive end at North Carolina, is another top-10 pass-rushing talent. He didn’t play in 2010 after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for accepting illegal benefits from an agent. He apologized on Saturday for making a “selfish mistake.”

Quinn had 11.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2009.

“I feel like I’ve got a never-ending motor,” he said. “I feel like I’m the fastest guy on the field, and I try not to let nobody’s hands get on me. I try to make sure no one will be able to block me. That’s the type of player I want to be.”

The 2010 suspension wasn’t the only adversity Quinn has overcome. As a senior in high school, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to play sports any more.

“At one point, they told me I should’ve been brain dead,” he said. “It was just heartbreaking. It was kind of my ‘Boobie Miles’ moment. When I looked up at my mom and they told me I wouldn’t play sports again, I became that big old baby, busted out in tears… But it didn’t slow me down. Four years later, I’m still going.”

Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith (6-4, 263) is another player who’s been mentioned in mock drafts as a potential first-round target for the Texans. Smith said he had interviews scheduled with 28 teams this week.

Smith entered the draft as a redshirt sophomore. He set a school record for sacks with 11.5 as a redshirt freshman in 2009, but a broken bone in his leg kept him out of three games in 2010. He had X-rays on the leg on Saturday and said that it checked out fine.

One of the biggest challenges for players like Smith in switching to a 3-4 would be dropping back into coverage. Smith is embracing the idea of converting to outside linebacker.

“I would like it,” he said. “I love playing on two feet. The little bit I did at Missouri, I liked it. I’ve done a lot of work with it since I got out of college. When I was in college, I was comfortable when I was doing it.”

Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (6-4, 263) of Purdue also is a projected first-rounder. A three-year starter and team captain for the Boilermakers, Kerrigan is the Big Ten’s all-time leader in forced fumbles with 14. He said that he has gotten an equal amoutn of interest from 3-4 and 4-3 teams.

Like Smith and other top hybrid prospects, Kerrigan has worked on dropping into coverage from the 3-4 outside linebacker position during his training for the combine. And like the other top prospects, he said all the right things about potentially switching positions on Saturday.

“Whatever a team wants, I’ll be willing to play, whether it’s a 3-4 linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end,” he said.

The Texans are looking for the former. Should they target a pass rusher with their first pick, they’ll have a deep group of talented players from which to choose.