Most NFL Draft prognosticators are sticking to their guns and have the Houston Texans selecting a wide receiver with their first pick. General consensus seems to lean toward Baylor WR Kendall Wright. I hope not and would like to see them go with Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech or Rueben Randall of LSU (my personal pick). But what if the Texans broke from conventional thought and went with an offensive lineman in the first round?
Matt Kalil of USC and Riley Reiff of Iowa would be great picks for the Texans, but they will most likely be out early. A good pick here would be David DeCastro, offensive guard from Stanford. A 3 year starter at Stanford, DeCastro has plenty of experience in a zone, power run oriented offense that would quickly translate with the Texans style of play. With the loss of Texans starting right guard Mike Brisiel to free agency, DeCastro could certainly push for a starting spot. Projected starter Antoine Caldwell has seen playing time at guard but could be challenged.
Offensive Tackle Jeff Allen of Illinois would be another excellent choice for an offensive line draft pick at number 26. A four year starter and captain at Illinois speak to his character and ability. Allen anchored and offensive line that rushed to the Big Ten rushing title while ranking 11th in the nation in run offense. Chad Reuter of NFL.com had this to say about Allen and his ability
Jeff Allen, OT/OG, Illinois: A rising prospect in NFL circles, Allen was simply difficult to beat on the edge during his four years as a starter at both tackle spots. (He often played both sides in the same game over the past couple of seasons, as the Illini would flip the line based on the play call.) His build (6-3 7/8, 307) is more consistent with that of a guard, and he could transition inside if needed. Duane Brown, who was just one-quarter inch taller and eight pounds heavier than Allen when he was measured at the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, was picked 26th overall by the Texans and has held down the tackle spot for the past four years. Allen has similar potential.
I know that it has been Houston Texans GM Rick Smith and HC Gary Kubiak‘s modus operandi to draft heavy on the defensive side. They have made excellent 2nd and 3rd round picks in the past to bolster that side of the ball. I wonder if this year may be the year to take the best available offensive lineman in the first round? If either DeCastro or Allen are available, I say pick ‘em. The NCAA world is full of pass happy offenses that feature premier NCAA wide receivers. They may not be NFL ready. In DeCastro and Allen you have heavy run oriented players from run oriented offenses that could step in immediately and push for a starting spot. In the end, that is what everyone wants, an immediate starter with a first round pick.
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