Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Quarterback
The Texans are throwing darts at quarterback, signing Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett to similar two-year deals one offseason after using a fourth-round pick on Tom Savage. It's quite conceivable none of the three is a long-term solution. Solving this need will be a difficult task for GM Rick Smith and coach Bill O'Brien, as there are believed to be only two starting-caliber passers in this year's draft, and the Texans aren't scheduled to go on the clock until No. 16.
No. 2 Team Need: Linebacker
The Texans have needs at both inside and outside linebacker. 2014 No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney is a huge question mark coming off microfracture knee surgery, while 2012 first-rounder Whitney Mercilus is a better run defender than pass rusher. Brooks Reed fled to Atlanta in free agency. Overpaid ILB Brian Cushing is injury plagued and increasingly ineffective, and there's a hole next to him with Mike Mohamed and Akeem Dent as the top in-house options. My guess is Houston's linebacker group as a whole will have to be overhauled over the next two offseasons. Running a 3-4 under Romeo Crennel, the Texans badly need another edge rusher and an inside 'backer capable of blowing up run schemes.
No. 3 Team Need: Wide receiver
DeAndre Hopkins is an ascending No. 1 receiver who's not yet 23 years old. Current No. 2 Cecil Shorts is an average talent, and not necessarily a long-term solution. Even if the Texans are satisfied with Shorts, they need a better slot receiver than Damaris Johnson. Other potential needs include tight end, interior offensive line, and defensive line depth.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (16): WR DeVante Parker, Louisville - If you don’t have a quality quarterback, or at least one with consistent placement, why not focus on receivers who win in contested situations or adjusting to the football. DeAndre Hopkins also wins in this area. Parker elevates effortlessly and is a prime target in the red zone. He also offers run after catch potential and seems to be learning the nuances of separation.
Round 2 (51): QB Bryce Petty, Baylor - Buzz points to Petty being selected in the second round. The Texans, Bills, Eagles, and others are all possibilities. Look, I know Petty checks the boxes. Frame, big arm, athleticism. But when one thing breaks down (pressure, covered second read), he cannot compensate. His best chance of success is in a clean pocket, and I question things beyond that.
Round 3 (82): LB Denzel Perryman, Miami - I was surprised when Perryman was mentioned in the first round. I would be shocked if that happened. He is a limited player but is very good attacking downhill. He is aggressive to plow through blocks. In fact, he told me he sees no point in working around blocks. Evan mentioned a strong run defender, and Perryman is just that.
Round 4 (116): EDGE Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington - We have yet to see Kikaha work out, so the combination of that point and an injury history could keep him on the board. Kikaha does not use his athleticism as a crutch, instead he wins with balance, momentum, hand use and separation. He is ahead of the game on counter moves.
Round 5 (152): G Josue Matias, FSU - Matias’ 2013 season was better than 2014. I was a big fan of XSF prior to last year’s draft, but his rookie year was a disappointment. Matias could offer depth at either guard spot.
Round 5 (174): EDGE Markus Golden, Missouri - All power, poor athleticism, bad length. Golden will have to shine in close quarters to be a contributor in the NFL, but at least he understands that and has power in his hands to create space.
Round 6 (194): LB Mike Hull, Penn State - It won’t hurt that Bill O’Brien has a history with Hull. Double dipping at the position makes sense, as Evan pointed out. I could also see Hull drafted in the fourth round.
Round 6 (211): DL Ray Drew, Georgia - Defensive depth from a prospect who played from a variety of different alignments.
Round 6 (216): WR Deontay Greenberry, Houston - A name that was frequently brought up as a Combine snub. Greenberry has issues catching the football, however, he at least offers vertical speed.
Round 7 (235): DL Daryl Waud, Western Ontario - A power defensive lineman who caught my eye as a PFA or seventh-round selection at the East West Shrine game.
Texans Current Offensive Depth Chart
QB: Brian Hoyer
RB: Arian Foster
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Cecil Shorts
TE: Garrett Graham
TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz
LT: Duane Brown
LG: Xavier Su'a-Filo
C: Ben Jones
RG: Brandon Brooks
RT: Derek Newton
Texans Current Defensive Depth Chart
LE: J.J. Watt
RE: Jared Crick
NT: Vince Wilfork
OLB: Jadeveon Clowney
OLB: Whitney Mercilus
ILB: Brian Cushing
ILB: Mike Mohamed
CB: Johnathan Joseph
CB: Kareem Jackson
FS: Rahim Moore
SS: D.J. Swearinger