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Texans draft needs list continues to grow

James Casey:  tight end or fullback?
James Casey: tight end or fullback?
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Remember about a month ago when we read words-of-wisdom that suggested for the first time since he became the Texans head coach, Gary Kubiak didn't go to the scouting combine looking for a starter in the NFL draft?

How ridiculous does that sound now? What is: "more ridiculous than it sounded then, Alex?

The Texans have lost Mario Williams, Eric Winston, DeMeco Ryans, Mike Brisiel and Lawrence Vickers, all starters, over the past two weeks.

They also lost semi-starters/key backups Jason Allen and Joel Dreessen during the past week and could be out of the running to re-sign Neil Rackers if some team offers him stupid money.

Combine that with the ongoing saga of Texans free agency and the fact that Matt Schaub, Duane Brown, Antoine Caldwell, Rashad Butler, Connor Barwin, James Casey and Glover Quin are in the final year of their contracts and you better damn well be looking for starters in this year's draft - and a lot of them.

The Texans had their best draft ever in 2006 and they need to meet or exceed that this year to keep this ship on course.

The loss of Dreessen to the Broncos adds tight end to the list of position needs for the Texans entering the draft which is coming up on April 26-28.

Before the Seige of the Salary Cap hit the Texans a few weeks ago, most of us were looking at wide receiver and outside linebacker as the top two Texans needs.

Wide receiver is still a top need as the Texans roster is sorely lacking once you get past Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter whose best years are in the rear view mirror.

See current Texans roster.

Outside linebacker, a key position in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense, also remains a top priority with the loss of Williams. The Texans were extremely lucky that Barwin and Brooks Reed made it through the season healthy last year given the number of snaps they played.

But recent roster losses have moved other positions up on the Texans draft needs list.

  • Inside linebacker is now a strong need with Darryl Sharpton penciled in as the starter next to Brian Cushing after the trade of DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles.
  • Tight end is now a need with the loss of Dreessen. Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham are the only two tight ends on the roster if you don't count James Casey. It's highly likely that Casey moves back to tight end to compete with Graham for the TE2 position. Casey is better suited for tight end than fullback and this could be the chance he was waiting for.
  • Offensive guard/tackle is a need given the release of Winston, the defection of Brisiel, and the fact that Butler and Caldwell are both in the final years of their contracts. I'm guessing that Duane Brown will be re-signed, and he will cost a lot of money.
  • Nose tackle remains a need even though Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell held up fairly well last year. I worry about the Texans strength up the middle, especially with Ryans now out of the picture.
  • Fullback is a need with the loss of Vickers and the fact that all you have there now is a hybrid TE/FB/H-back in Casey. Kubiak loves his fullbacks in this offense.
  • Cornerback is a need with the loss of part-time starter Jason Allen. Outside of Johnathan Joseph, the Texans have a bunch of fair to middling nickel corners but not a true #2 outside guy despite what Wade says about Kareem.
  • Kicker is a need with the possible loss of Rackers, however, with all the other position needs I'm not sure drafting a kicker is the best idea.
  • Quarterback - last but not least, the Texans need a #3 quarterback, someone to push T.J. Yates and keep him on his toes. Kubiak's #3 QB is more than a camp arm so drafting another developmental QB late as they did Yates last year is a possibility unless they can find a veteran in free agency who could come in and compete with Yates for the #2 spot. But keep in mind the Texans don't have much money to spend.

The Texans currently have eight draft picks and I've listed ten need positions. Obviously some of the slots will be filled through free agency but given the Texans sickly cap situation, they're not going to be able to sign many players for much more than NFL minimum.


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