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News » Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-04-23


Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-04-23


Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-04-23
General manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak have made it clear they want to build this team through the draft. That is why they have collected as many picks as they can, and why they have shown the willingness to trade down in the first round to add more picks.


If the main player they are targeting has already been selected on draft day -- or he isn't expected to be picked until later -- the Texans will look to work out a deal to drop down in the first round and pick up extra draft picks.

The Texans are a young team and, while they don't necessarily preach quantity over quality, they understand the need for depth. They do not have any positions that must be filled first, giving them the option to go with the best-available athlete, at least for the most part.

With that being said, the defense is the team's weakness. They need more playmakers. They need more depth. Outside linebacker is one spot at which the Texans especially want to improve, and Clay Matthews is one prospect who could jump into the lineup immediately.

That's one area of concern on defense, but it's not the only one. The Texans could also look for a defensive tackle early to help challenge Travis Johnson and Amobi Okoye. They need a playmaker in the middle of the line to especially help the Texans stop the run.

Because the bulk of their focus in free agency was on defense, the Texans have positioned themselves to be able to use a pick as high as the second round on their biggest need offensively -- a running back.

If Kubiak and Smith want to go for a back in the second or third round, they might have a shot at Donald Brown (212 pounds), Shonn Greene (227), Rashad Jennings (231) or Cedric Peerman (218). All are heavier than starter Steve Slaton (205).

Good prospects who are Slaton's size are LeSean McCoy (204), Javon Ringer (205) and Kory Sheets (206).

The Texans drafted Slaton even though he hadn't played in their zone-blocking system, in which the back gets the ball, makes one cut and takes off.

Ideally, the Texans will get a back like Ahman Green, who was released after two injury-plagued seasons, or Cedric Benson, who turned down their offer and re-signed with Cincinnati. Green and Benson are in the 220-pound range and productive running between the tackles.

TEAM NEEDS: Outside linebacker, defensive tackle, running back.

OLB -- The Texans already signed Cato June to compete with Xavier Adibi on the weak side, but they still need a big playmaker to compete for a job on the outside. Zac Diles is slated to start on the strong side, but he and Adibi each dealt with injury issues last season. While DeMeco Ryans is established in the middle, the Texans really want to add some power and punch on the outside.

DT -- The Texans have two first-round draft picks -- Amobi Okoye and Travis Johnson -- slated to start but they have not been the most effective in the middle the last few seasons. They need an instant impact at this position. Preferably, they'll find someone capable of stopping the run who can also get off the ball fast and get after the quarterback.

RB -- The Texans are still seeking a complement to Steve Slaton. They want a bigger back, one who has the ability to spell Slaton but also carry the ball on a consistent basis as needed. He will ideally get fewer than 10 carries a game, but he will fit well in the zone-blocking system and be able to bully his way for extra yards in short yardage and goal-line situations.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 24, 2009

Kevin Bentley Name: Kevin Bentley
#57
Position: LB
Age: 28
Experience: 7 years
College: Northwestern
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