Is it September yet? While we may still be several months away, my mind is still on football, like most of the female population. Any guesses on where the Texans take us next season? Well, besides Waikiki, where J.J. Watt and I will be basking in the sun after his undying attraction to me is finally realized. …All in good time.
But for now, my most pondered question, in terms of the upcoming draft and free agents, is who the Texans will attain as a new star WR for the 2012-2013 season. Notice that a lot of the credit for the Giants winning Super Bowl this year goes to the emergence of Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham. Teams with great O-Lines, such as the Saints or Packers, have an arsenal of good wide receivers that cushion their teams quite nicely.
As for our Texans: Andre Johnson, a fan favorite, got injured mid-season, causing the team to struggle tremendously in their passing game. Second string WR Jacoby Jones, although seemingly decent during the regular season, didn’t exactly put up a stellar performance during the playoffs, even famously (and completely unfoundedly) receiving threats on his life for dropping that pass. (Let me say here that those people are idiots and have no life). And then there’s Kevin Walter, cuter than heck, but more of a complementary WR than a starter, easily defended by most teams’ D-Line. So pretty much that leaves us with Andre as the only saving grace of our receiving team, and this needs to change.
Let’s start with the draft. I pulled the top 5 prospects from nfldraftscout.com for a quick rundown:
Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State): Top 5-10 pick, but likely will not fall into Texans’ selection. Premier WR in this class. Slightly shorter version of Terrell Owens, but without the attitude problems. Bottom Line: Would take a lot for Houston to move up in the draft and grab him, but would be a perfect fit for the Texans attack.
Kendall Wright (Baylor): Had a spectacular senior and was the favorite target for quarterback Robert Griffin III, a surefire top 5 selection. Wright should go in the mid-late first round, and is very comparable to Steelers home run threat Mike Wallace. Bottom Line: Wright would make for an outstanding receiver to play alongside Andre Johnson.
Michael Floyd (Notre Dame): A physical specimen at 6’3”, Floyd could possibly be the best wide receiver of the bunch with his incredible athleticism and a surreal ability to make the circus catch. He did, however, have off the field trouble plague him in college, which is why his stock could take a hit come April. On pure talent alone, Floyd is a Top 10 type of player. Taking into consideration the baggage that comes along with him though, Floyd could slip as far as the early second round. Bottom Line: Would be a great addition to the Texans offense.
Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers): Very raw WR who converted to the position from safety. Possesses great size and athleticism, but will need work on route running and being more consistent at the WR position. Would be a nice pick-up for a team who can afford to wait for Sanu to pick up the pro game and better learn the position. Bottom Line: Given the Texans are in the market for someone who is able to contribute right away, Sanu may not be the best fit, needing a bit more time to hone his craft.
Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina): Physically imposing WR with elite size (6’4”, 230 lbs) and strength. Much like Sanu, Jeffery needs much improvement on the fundamentals of the position, mostly route running and blocking. Jeffery also lacks the top speed to continually beat cornerbacks deep. That said, his size and raw ability will entice someone to select him as early as the late first round or sometime in the second round. Bottom Line: Would not fit the Texans offense as well as a Kendall Wright or Michael Floyd would.
#DraftCrush: Michael Floyd.
Now, before moving on to the free agents, I bring you a short #DreamShakeBarbie lesson in football.
For those of you who do not know or understand the meaning of a “restricted” versus “unrestricted” free agent, let me break it down: unrestricted is like being “single”, free to go find someone else to court, while restricted means you’re pretty much still on lock, even though your chick could possibly break up with you at any point in time in the near future. Both slightly scary, but with great possibilities on the horizon.
That being said, here are the names as listed on espn.com and my thoughts on each:
Mike Wallace (Restricted) Steelers: Likely will not be leaving the Steelers anytime soon. Fits Houston: Yes, but will not leave Pittsburgh.
Dwayne Bowe (Unrestricted) Chiefs: Underrated WR who has played much, if not all, of his Chiefs career without even so much as “consistent” quarterback play. Despite this fact, Bowe found a way to put up numbers time after time. If the Chiefs were to let him go, Bowe should have no problems landing a big time contract, which could eliminate the Texans from obtaining Bowe for their O-Line. Fits Houston: Yes.
Vincent Jackson (Unrestricted) Chargers: Physically dominant player who, at times, has looked downright unstoppable playing in the Chargers offense. Jackson could be a Top 5 WR if he were more consistent. Let’s just say on a scale from 1 to diva he’s Naomi Campbell. When not heavily involved, he will even take himself out of games. High-risk/high-reward type of free agent should he get a large contract. Fits Houston: Maybe.
Marques Colston (Unrestricted) Saints: One of Drew Brees’ more reliable targets since his rookie season. A possession receiver who doesn’t have game breaking speed, yet always seems to produce in the end zone because of his 6’5” stature. If he leaves the Saints, it will be up to the teams to decide: is Colston a bona fide top WR? Or is he the benefactor of the Saints’ killer offense? Fits Houston: Maybe.
Wes Welker (Unrestricted) Patriots: Even though Welker dropped a catch that could have ultimately sealed Super Bowl XLVI for the Patriots, the 5’9” WR out of Texas Tech is still one of the most consistent receivers in the game. No one runs better routes or get wide open with the same frequency as he does. Fits Houston: Yes, but unlikely to leave Pats.
DeSean Jackson (Unrestricted) Eagles: Congratulations to Jackson, who seems to be a big pain in the ass all across the board. When he is focused and happy, he produces, as evidenced by his season in 2010. On the opposite end, he proved to be a major distraction, disrupting chemistry on an Eagles team who played well below their expectations in 2011. With his small stature, he may be better suited playing as the #2 wide receiver on a good team – but it remains to be seen if his ego will allow that. If he could buy in to a team’s philosophy, he could be a major contributor on offense. Stress on the “if”. Fits Houston: No.
Steve Johnson (Unrestricted) Bills: Similar to Jackson in pretty much every attribute but size. Johnson has a lot of talent, but doesn’t have the maturity to be a team’s go-to player at the WR position. Johnson is often impetuous, and may require a change of scenery on a more veteran-laden squad in order to mature in a hurry. Fits Houston: No
Reggie Wayne (Unrestricted) Colts: Peyton Manning’s favorite target can still produce when needed, but one has to wonder how much Wayne has left in the tank at age 33. Would be an ideal #2 WR for a team with a need at that position, a consummate pro on and off the field, Wayne would be a quick fix for the Texans. Fits Houston: Yes
Brandon Lloyd (Unrestricted) Rams: A WR who seems to only perform to his abilities and skill set when he is playing in Josh McDaniels offense. Fits Houston: No
Laurent Robinson (Unrestricted) Cowboys: [#EyeCandyAlert] Robinson performed amazingly well for the Cowboys all season after the Chargers released him. As the season went on, Robinson became Tony Romo’s go-to guy. He may just stay in Dallas due to this newfound chemistry between him and his QB. Should he leave, though, he could be a rather underrated athlete for a team like the Texans. Fits Houston: Yes
Mario Manningham (Unrestricted) Giants: As the Giants Super Bowl XLVI run played out, Manningham made an even bigger name for himself. Each passing victory eventually climaxed (yes!) in the biggest catch of the Giants season. However, having two top paid WRs in Manningham and Victor Cruz creates a quandary for the Giants: do they pay both, or let one walk? What will probably happen if the team is faced with this decision will be to choose Cruz over Manningham. This will allow him to leave in free agency. Manningham is a dangerous deep threat, with a knack for making a big catch. I think he could be just who we are looking for to play alongside Andre Johnson. Fits Houston: Yes.
#FreeAgentCrush: Mario Manningham.
I know that this was a lot of information to take in for one post, but to be fair I think all prospects need to be looked at in order to have an O-Line that truly matches up to our beastly #BullsOnParade D-Line. What are your thoughts on the prospects? I’d love to see your feedback on my picks.