Mock, Mock. Who’s There?

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April 7, 2005
Mock, Mock. Who’s There?

by Bob Hulsey

Time for the fourth edition of the Chance Pearce Memorial Texans Mock Draft in honor of the former Aggie long snapper correctly pegged by yours truly as the Texans’ seventh-round choice in 2003. Anyone who has been reading Post Patterns knows some of my strong opinions about this year’s draft and other personnel moves so I’ll try not to be too redundant.

This is a tougher draft than most to gauge because of the lack of top-shelf talent, and yet there is decent depth. In my mind, the second round is where the true value lies, but the Texans currently have just one pick in that round and two in the third.

As I have learned more about General Manager Charley Casserly’s drafting style, I find myself asking whether this mock draft should reflect what I think he will do or what I’d rather do. Both are worthy exercises so, this year, my faithful readers are getting a two-fer.

Casserly has expressed (to my relief) a desire to either move up or move down from the 13th spot in the first round of the draft. I agree wholeheartedly. There are probably five or six guys that could fill the needs of the Texans immediately if drafted. They probably won’t last until the 13th slot. The real value doesn’t seem to pick up again until around the 20th spot. In most on-line mocks, staying at 13 will net us either Florida State OT Alex Barron or South Carolina WR Troy Williamson. Both strike me as not being as good a value as we should get for this point in the draft.

Rumors have Casserly trying to move up to the 8th spot for Arizona’s first-rounder. If what he wants is there, that’s a good strategy, but I like moving down better. Since both involve trades, each mock is somewhat more hypothetical than predictive.

A lot depends on whether both San Francisco and Cleveland take quarterbacks or whether one of the "Big 3" running backs (Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams of Auburn and Cedric Benson of Texas) will fall to the Texans’ spot, making some of the wild trade speculations a bit more sensible. But, since the two options set our draft on wildly different courses, here’s a peek at how both scenarios might play out.

First Pick: First round (13th overall)

CC: I think the Texans will trade up to the 8th overall, sending Arizona our 13th selection and the third-rounder we received from the Cowboys for Drew Henson (73rd choice). With this, the Texans are most apt to choose Shawne Merriman, OLB, Maryland. Merriman is a tall, quick defensive end with linebacker experience who projects as the best athlete available for the ROLB position now held by Kailee Wong, allowing Wong to move inside. While I also like Texas’ Derrick Johnson for his outstanding linebacking skills, Merriman is the man who best fits the Texans’ draft plans. (Other options: Johnson, Barron, Williamson, Marcus Spears DE LSU, David Pollack OLB Georgia, Mark Clayton WR Oklahoma).

BH: I, on the other hand, am trading way down. I’m dealing the 13th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles for their first-rounder (31st overall) and the second-rounder they received from Miami for quarterback A.J. Feeley (35th overall). The Eagles can use this to take the best RB or WR left on the board. I have the Texans taking DT Luis Castillo of Northwestern at #31, the sort of two-gap player who can penetrate as well as hold the line of scrimmage. At #35, I’m choosing G-C David Baas of Michigan, a smart heady anchor who can fit anywhere on the interior line to groom for when Steve McKinney or Zack Weigert are done. (Other options: Khalif Barnes OT Washington, Justin Miller CB Clemson, Matt Roth OLB Iowa, Matt Jones TE, Arkansas).

Second Pick: Second round (47th overall)

CC: Terrence Murphy, WR, Texas A&M. While being the best receiver in Aggie history is like being the prettiest girl in North Dakota, Murphy has the size and speed to get deep and open zones for Andre Johnson. Casserly has not addressed replacing Corey Bradford which makes me think that a receiver will be selected with one of the top two picks.

BH: Eric Shelton, RB, Louisville. The Texans need a big back to split time with Domanick Davis and give us a better option in short yardage. Shelton fills that role although he needs some work as a receiver and a blocker to be a legitimate threat. He may last until the third round but this assures he’s there for us. (Other options: Eric Green CB Virginia Tech, Adam Terry OT Stanford, Barrett Ruud LB Nebraska, Fred Gibson WR Georgia, Marcus Johnson OG Mississippi)

Third Pick: Third Round (73rd overall)

CC: Traded to move up in the first round. Even if that doesn’t happen, I think it’s likely Casserly will try to trade this for a second-round selection in 2006 if he can get it. He loves having an extra pick to manuever with.

BH: Roscoe Parrish, WR, Miami (Fl). I like this kid because he has the speed to go deep, doubles as a kick returner and already has experience playing opposite Andre Johnson. What he lacks is size which is why he falls this far.

Fourth Pick: Third Round (78th overall)

CC: Ronald Bartell, CB, Howard. Casserly has shown he’s not afraid to go after small-school talent. Bartell isn’t this much of a reach here. He has size and speed but is quite raw. That makes him a good bet to start as a dime back and learn the position.

BH: Ronald Bartell, CB, Howard. Good call, Charley! (Other options: Donte Nicholson S Oklahoma, Antonio Perkins CB-KR Oklahoma, Courtney Roby WR Indiana, Claude Terrell G New Mexico, Wesley Britt OT Alabama, Adam Seward LB UNLV)

Fifth Pick: Fourth Round (114th overall)

CC: Nick Kaczur, OT, Toledo. Finally, the offensive line gets some attention. Kaczur has the quickness to someday become a left tackle but needs to add bulk. He can also play in the interior line but must get stronger.

BH: Sione Pouha, DT, Utah. Here’s another big body to add to the D-line rotation and insurance against another injury to Seth Payne. While Castillo can also play the nose, he has enough pursuit capability to play the end. Pouha is more of a true nose.

Sixth Pick: Fifth Round (151st overall)

CC: Anthony Bryant, DT, Alabama. Good quickness for 332 pounds, he can develop into a good two-gap lineman but he needs better conditioning and more development.

BH: Jonathan Jackson, OLB, Oklahoma. He has the right speed and dimensions to convert to the rush linebacker. He has no experience, however, as a linebacker. Jackson will be another Peek-like project but he does know how to get after the quarterback which is something we can always use.

Seventh Pick: Sixth Round (188th overall)

CC: Frank Gore, RB, Miami (Fl). This is the round Casserly likes to take big risks. Recall Drew Henson and Jammal Lord were both sixth-rounders. Gore was a stud coming out of high school but two major knee surgeries later and he is simply a large risk. He could get healthier and be a surprise. It’s not like he hasn’t already gambled on a back with a torn ACL (Tony Hollings). If Ohio State’s Maurice Clarett is available, he’ll fit into this same category, just with better knees and more baggage.

BH: Andre Maddox, SS, North Carolina St. Maddox lacks good coverage skills but is an excellent run stopper who can provide some depth and special teams skills.

Eighth Pick: Seventh Round (227th overall)

CC: Bo Scaife, TE, Texas. Speaking of knee surgeries, this guy also knows how to come back from them. He, too, was a high school stud whose knees gave out twice at college. In the Rose Bowl he still showed good hands and downfield speed plus the frame to get bigger as a blocker.

BH: Sam Lightbody, OT, Washington St. At least Mike Quick was quick. Lightbody, at 6-8 and 320 lbs, is no lightweight. A left tackle in college, he has the size but not the quickness for the pros. Still, he’ll be tough to move around and can play center on the team’s off-season basketball squad.

So, to recap, my projection of Casserly’s draft looks like:

1. Shawne Merriman, OLB, Maryland (traded up with Arizona)
2. Terrence Murphy, WR, Texas A&M
3a. (Traded to move up.)
3b. Ronald Bartell, CB, Howard
4. Nick Kaczur, OT, Toledo
5. Anthony Bryant, NT, Alabama
6. Frank Gore, RB, Miami (Fl)
7. Bo Scaife, TE, Texas

And my own projection if I could run the draft:

1. Luis Castillo, NT, Northwestern (traded down w/ Philadelphia)
2a. David Baas, C-G, Michigan (acquired in same trade)
2b. Eric Shelton, RB, Louisville
3a. Roscoe Parrish, WR, Miami (Fl)
3b. Ronald Bartell, CB, Howard
4. Sione Pouha, NT, Utah
5. Jonathan Jackson, OLB, Oklahoma
6. Andre Maddox, SS, North Carolina St.
7. Sam Lightbody, OT, Washington St.

Obviously, both projections are wild guesses but it’s not like you had to pay to read this stuff. And since I’ve hit on roughly two picks a year, there must be something to this besides my lucky dartboard.

Bob Hulsey heard from Chance Pearce’s brother Paul by e-mail last month. He tells that Chance is looking for another opportunity as a long snapper in the NFL after stops in Houston and Pittsburgh. Bob suggested he try the Lions or the Giants. Asked if he might change the name of his draft to honor graduating Texas quarterback Chance Mock, making this the Chance Mock Mock, Bob said "No chance."

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