2012 Path to the Draft: Defensive End


*This article is part of our 2012 Path to the Draft coverage presented by Warehouse Pool Supply

A position-by-position look at the 2012 NFL Draft (April 26-28), featuring exclusive analysis on potential Texans draft picks from and of the

Path to the Draft: | | | |

State of the Position ()
The Texans have two standout defensive ends in and , but they could add more depth at the position in the 2012 draft.

Smith, a team captain, made his first Pro Bowl in 2011 with a career-high 6.5 sacks. Watt, a first-round draft pick from Wisconsin, was a rookie sensation with 5.5 sacks, 56 tackles, a team-high 7.0 tackles for loss and four passes defensed. He also had 3.5 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown in the playoffs.

The only other defensive end on the roster at this point is . A three-year veteran out of Michigan, Jamison had 19 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble last season. The Texans have not re-signed veteran defensive end , who has been with the team since 2006.

National Football Post Analysis (, for HoustonTexans.com)

DAY 1 DEFENSIVE END OPTIONS AT 1.26

1. Michael Brockers, LSU (6-6, 306): Extremely athletic for his size, Brockers arrived at LSU as a 255-pound linebacker prospect who bulked up and eventually made the move to the defensive line, where he played 27 games over the last two years, notching two sacks. He might be a little raw and could have used some more work at the college level, but Brockers is an NFL talent with “plus” upside who can come in and play vs. the run at a high level right away. Should get looks at both the three and five-technique spots and in our minds has the ability to become one of the better defensive linemen in the NFL down the line.

2. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State (6-4, 295): Named second-team All-SEC in 2011, Cox recorded 56 tackles and five sacks for the Bulldogs last year and has been shooting up draft boards in recent weeks. We think his best spot might be as a 3-4 five technique (which fits Houston perfectly) who is able to penetrate and make plays off the ball. Cox is raw and needs to learn to play with his pad level lower. However, as a potential five-technique, he’s a guy who has the skill set to earn a starting role.

DAY 2 DEFENSIVE END OPTIONS AT 2.26 AND 3.13

1. Jared Crick, Nebraska (6-6, 285): After recording 19 sacks and 143 tackles over 28 games from 2009-2010, Crick’s production fell off last season after injuries limited him to just five games. He’s a tall, leaner defensive tackle/end with a long set of arms, but lacks ideal girth in the lower half. Crick is instinctive, gets off the snap count on time and does a nice job finding the football vs. the run. However, at 6-6, he struggles with his pad level.

2. Tyrone Crawford, Boise State (6-4, 276): Crawford racked up 13.5 sacks in 25 games at Boise State and forced a career-high three fumbles last season. He possesses good size for the position with a naturally longer set of arms. In addition, the 22-year-old coils up into his stance well, comes off the ball low and does a nice job extending his hands into contact as a run defender. We like his skill set and think he’s going to develop quickly at the next level. Crawford isn’t there yet, but as a prospect he has some real upside and displays the kind of blue-collar pass rushing mentality that we like.

DAY 3 DEFENSIVE ENDS OPTONS AT 4.4, 4.26, 5.26, 6.26 AND 7.26

1. Dominique Hamilton, Missouri (6-5, 305): A four-year contributor who played in 46 total games and is coming off a career-high three sacks in 2011, Hamilton is a tall, long-armed defensive tackle/end prospect with a thick but athletic-looking frame. He plays the run much stronger than his body type would indicate and he’s got a burst off the snap while playing with good leverage. Hamilton has the frame to add 15 to 20 pounds and looks like a 3-4 five-technique at the next level who could start.

2. Malik Jackson, Tennessee (6-5, 270): Jackson was a four-year contributor at Tennessee who appeared in 46 games and recorded a career-high 56 tackles in 2011. He displays impressive athletic ability and when he gets his hands up off the line. Jackson can consistently keep himself clean while working like a bear in pursuit. Showcases great range off his frame for the position and demonstrates a good motor to go along with it. He’s a great-looking athlete, but has some real work to do from a technique standpoint due to the fact he was playing out of position at Tennessee.

2012 Path to the Draft: Offensive Tackle

*This article is part of our 2012 Path to the Draft coverage presented by Warehouse Pool Supply

A position-by-position look at the 2012 NFL Draft (April 26-28), featuring exclusive analysis on potential Texans draft picks from and of the

Path to the Draft: |

State of the Position ()
The Texans have one of the best young left tackles in football in . The 2008 first-round draft pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but it would be a surprise if the Texans don’t lock him up long-term. A second-team All-Pro in 2011, Brown likely has plenty of Pro Bowls in his future.

The Texans released starting right tackle Eric Winston before the start of free agency. Winston had been in the starting lineup since 2006, so the continuity of the line will obviously take a hit in his absence. But the Texans are confident in , who was the backup swing tackle behind Winston and Brown for the last three seasons. A third-round pick in 2006, Butler has been with the Texans since 2007 and started four games at left tackle in 2010 when Brown was suspended.

Entering his second season, could compete with Butler for the starting right tackle job. Newton was a seventh-round pick from Arkansas State in 2011. The athletic big man was the Texans’ third tackle for most of the season after Butler suffered a season-ending triceps injury in September.

“Butler has started some games in his career,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said in March. “We think a lot of our young kid, Newton, but I’ll be honest with you, this thing’s gonna be wide open. We’ve got some good football players. We’re not giving any job to anybody, and they’re gonna have to go earn it. It’ll be very competitive.”

Several draft sites have right tackle pegged as a top priority for the Texans in the draft, but that assertion is ill-founded.

National Football Post Analysis (, for HoustonTexans.com)

DAY 1 OFFENSIVE TACKLE OPTIONS AT 1.26

1. Jonathan Martin, Stanford (6-6, 304): A first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2011, Martin’s got the NFL size, length and overall athletic skill set, but he’s not a natural anchor player and doesn’t strike us as a guy who is ever going to be real physical at the next level. Martin can mirror in space, but struggles to stick through contact and isn’t real heavy-handed. Looks like a finesse tackle who will get over-drafted because of athletic talent, but is going to have a hard time keeping the edge clean at the next level.

2. Mike Adams, Ohio State (6-8, 320): Adams is a talented football player with a big frame, long arms and natural movement skills. He bends well and if he can put it all together and continue to improve his footwork, Adams could certainly mature into a starting caliber left tackle in the NFL. He parlayed a solid senior campaign into second-team All-Big-Ten selection honors at the offensive tackle position last season.

DAY 2 OFFENSIVE TACKLE OPTIONS AT 2.26 AND 3.13

1. Mitchell Schwartz, California (6-6, 318): Schwartz displays solid athletic ability, but looks better suited to play on the right side in the NFL vs. less speed. A nice mid-round-type draft pick who could eventually fight for playing time, Schwartz is at his best in the run game where he does a nice job sitting into his three-point stance, keeping his base down and generating a good snap through the hips into contact. Doesn’t waste much motion getting upright off the ball, stays down, possesses a strong lower half, runs his legs through contact and gains solid leverage with his hands.

2. Zebrie Sanders, Florida State (6-6, 307): A natural athlete who displays good bend, Sanders struggles at times with power and makes too many linemen look like good pass rushers off the edge because of it. He needs to get stronger to have a chance at the next level, but he is a well-built, athletic-looking tackle prospect with a long set of arms and a naturally thick lower half. Sanders showcases natural range out of his stance in the run game and fires off the ball low, but does waste some motion into contact winding his arms and can be slow to gain leverage.

DAY 3 OFFENSIVE TACKLE OPTONS AT 4.4, 4.26, 5.26, 6.26 AND 7.26

1. James Carmon, Mississippi State (6-7, 320): A former interior defensive lineman with a massive frame and impressive coordination for his size, Carmon is a JUCO transfer who started 10 games last year at left tackle. Displays intriguing body control/athleticism for a player his size. However, Carmon’s pad level is the key as he struggles to keep his base down and doesn’t play with consistent leverage into and through contact.

2. Nate Potter, Boise State (6-6, 300): Potter—in our assessment—is a poor man’s version of former Boston College LT Anthony Castonzo. He exhibits the ability to get around and seal on reach blocks and looks comfortable through contact on the move as well. Potter may currently lack the type of power to really drive NFL-caliber defenders off the ball, but he’s sticky through contact, understands angles and does a nice job staying engaged through the play.

Mock Draft Survey: All WR, DT for Texans in Round 1

This article is part of our 2012 Path to the Draft coverage presented by Warehouse Pool Supply

With the NFL Scouting Combine kicking off in Indianapolis this week, we surveyed 21 mock drafts around the web to see who the favorite is to be selected by the Texans with the 26th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Every mock picked either a wide receiver or defensive tackle for the Texans in round one. Of the 21 surveyed, 15 mock drafts went receiver for the Texans, while the other six went DT. Four players tied for the highest number of picks with four apiece: wide receivers Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Kendall Wright (Baylor) and Rueben Randle (LSU) and defensive tackle Dontari Poe (Memphis).

Here are the results from our first Texans Mock Draft Survey of 2012. Click on each website/writer’s name below for their full mock draft.

 

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