|ESPN.com: AFC South||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Team needs: Defensive tackle, outside linebacker, safety, running back.
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|USC linebacker Clay Matthews could fill a void for the Texans.|
Dream scenario: All indications are that the Texans are expecting to address linebacker with the 15th pick in the draft. Ideally, they'd have their choice of the two USC guys projected to be selected around the middle of the first round -- Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews Jr. Matthews may be viewed as having a bit more upside as he has not reached his peak. And the Texans have inside information on him, as his uncle, Bruce Mathews, is now a part of Gary Kubiak's staff. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Matthews would give the Texans the sort of size -- and hopefully the sort of durability -- they covet.
Plan B: Boston College's B.J. Raji will be out of range, but the Texans will have to consider a defensive tackle who can get some interior push, take some attention away from Mario Williams and help Amobi Okoye get back on track. Candidates at No. 15 might be Peria Jerry of Mississippi or Evander Hood of Missouri. A team in need of a lot of help on defense probably cannot afford to go offense, but Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells would have to be tempting to a team in need of a big back to pair with Steve Slaton.
Scouts Inc. take: "Houston is in a very good position for draft day. It will be tempting to add a first-round running back like Beanie Wells, but offensive line coach Alex Gibbs certainly has never needed running backs with strong pedigrees in order for his ground game to be successful. The obvious answer for Houston is to go with defense -- and I certainly would not object. Even a situational pass rusher like Aaron Maybin could yield immediate dividends, as Antonio Smith could move inside on passing downs and Maybin would line up opposite Mario Williams. Clay Mathews Jr. also makes a lot of sense. I can live with the Texans' defense at each level, especially with their ability to put points on the board on offense, but another playmaker at any level would surely be a welcome addition. One wild card to consider: Percy Harvin -- just a hunch, but wow, he could do great things with this group. If Matt Schaub can finally stay healthy, the Texans are not all that far away from becoming a contender. This draft could put them over the top." -- Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.
Who has final say: General manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak work to find a consensus, but the Texans won't wind up with players Kubiak doesn't endorse.
Now On the Clock: New Orleans Saints, April 2.
Previous On the Clock: San Diego Chargers. The team-by-team series.