NFL Houston Texans

2014 NFL Draft: Houston Texans’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Houston Texans' Seven-Round Mock Draft

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With the 2-6 Houston Texans’ 2013 campaign all but over, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest is outside linebacker. The Texans currently have Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus in the starting spots, and yet can’t find a way to get any sort of consistent sack production from the position. While there’s still hope that one of them can eventually pan out, the Texans need to add more talent to either push them or steal the starting spot.

The Texans need help elsewhere, too. Quarterback has been a glaring issue all season long, with Matt Schaub all but done and Case Keenum still an unproven starter in the NFL. Houston also desperately needs extra depth along the offensive line, and could use numerous picks to make it happen during the draft. Even some added depth at linebacker might be worth investing a pick in for the Texans.

Either way, the Texans need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer them an opportunity to rebuild their roster and replace some of the broken pieces that have hindered their 2013 campaign.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Texans could choose to do with their seven current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

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It might not seem like it, but the Texans could definitely use some help at outside linebacker. Brooks Reed has quieted since his rookie season, and Whitney Mercilus is inconsistent. Adding a player like Barr to the mix would kick things up a few notches in Houston. The UCLA edge rusher excels at getting to the quarterback, using his speed and quickness to put offensive tackles on their heels. The best part of the equation is that Barr is also a tremendous run defender, using his athleticism to beat blockers over and over.

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2nd Round: David Fales, QB, San Jose State

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Even with Case Keenum enjoying an early breakout this season, the Texans should still look for a quality quarterback during the draft who can push him for the starting job. Fales is an underrated passer who is quietly working his way up draft boards. With impeccable accuracy and tremendous footwork, he does a great job of moving the chains. Fales does have less-than-ideal arm strength and isn’t really a threat to run, but his excellent football IQ makes him an intriguing NFL prospect.

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3rd Round: Anthony Steen, G, Alabama

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The Texans need help along the interior of the offensive line, and Steen could be an excellent addition in the middle rounds come May. One of the uncelebrated blockers of Alabama’s elite offensive line, Steen has spent the last two seasons making a name for himself. Combining terrific technique with finesse and quickness, he creates big running lanes for his backs and then looks to continue his blocks downfield. His pass protection definitely needs some work, but Steen has the tools to develop into a starter in the NFL.

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4th Round: Ty Zimmerman, FS, Kansas State

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The gamble on Ed Reed clearly didn’t work out for the Texans, and Shiloh Keo hasn’t been much better. Even with D.J. Swearinger in the mix, Houston needs another free safety who can compete for the starting job. Zimmerman is an impressive athlete who uses his instincts to make plays all over the field. While his ability to read and react to the pass is a plus, Zimmerman’s ability to fly to the football against the run is what makes him stand out among this year’s class of safeties.

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5th Round: Greg Blair, ILB, Cincinnati

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With Brian Cushing and Darryl Sharpton both frequent visitors to the injury list, the Texans need some extra depth at inside linebacker moving forward. Blair, while far from a finished product, is a linebacker Houston should consider on draft day. With terrific instincts and a knack for making big tackles, the Cincinnati product has the potential to be an effective run defender in the NFL. Losing some weight and leaning out his frame would definitely help Blair succeed at the next level.

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6th Round: Cornelius Lucas, OT, Kansas State

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With limited depth at right tackle, the Texans could use some extra help towards the end of the draft. Lucas, a big man at 6’8’’, 328 pounds, has the potential to be a quality blocker at the next level. Although he shows surprising athleticism for his size, he is a bit limited against speed rushers and will fall victim to finesse moves. His run blocking is outstanding, albeit a little inconsistent. If he can stay motivated in the NFL – had some motivation issues early at KSU – he can be a quality swing tackle in Houston.

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7th Round: Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State

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Possessing versatility and athleticism, Gillmore has spent his time at Colorado State creating mismatches in the passing game. Unfortunately, the production hasn’t quite matched the potential so far. He has the body and physical abilities to be a dominant tight end, but has yet to really take off as an NFL prospect. Plus, he needs to vastly improve his pass blocking before he’s ready for significant pro snaps. The potential is still there in Gillmore, who could provide quality depth behind Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.