Pick #22 — Houston Texans
It may have taken an injury to Andrew Luck, but the Texans finally got themselves back into the playoffs after being stonewalled out in recent years in part to the immediate success of the Colts’ QB.
The of course, they proceeded to get absolutely dominated by a Chiefs team which hadn’t won in the playoffs since the early 90s.
Their plan of building a strong defense and having a caretaker QB was enough to get them into the postseason, but it proved well short of taking them anywhere once in the final 12.
So, they went all in on their hopeful QB of the future, Brock Osweiler. With their QB in place, and a defense that should still be strong, this team has a strong foundation to try building upon last year’s success and eventually reaching a level that lets them actually compete once in the playoffs.
Despite the success on that end and how they pretty much carried the team, Houston could use help in certain spots on that defense. J.J. Watt is a monster, but even monsters need friends; giving him another strong option on the defenses line for years to come — whether at the opposite DE spot or as the future to eventually replace Vince Wilfork — would be nice for him, while also causing nightmares for every offensive coordinator everywhere who’s ever lived. A new linebacker in the middle to replace the oft-injured (and increasingly ineffective) Brian Cushing would be an excellent idea, as well as another high-end contributor for the secondary (either at corner or safety, but most likely the latter due to the money currently invested in corners here).
On offense, the biggest need (QB) has already been filled, but he could use some help. That help would be best served to come in the form of a wide receiver to pair with DeAndre Hopkins.
Wideout is where I see them going, but with all of the options still on the board at this point, the question becomes: which one?
Each of the top three options here (Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson, and Corey Coleman) could all give Hopkins the kind of quality receiving partner he hasn’t had since before Andre Johnson started feeling his age years ago, but each would do so in a different way.
Treadwell would essentially give the team a Hopkins clone; he may lack in pure burning speed, but what he doesn’t have there is greatly overshadowed by the dominating presence he can bring through the more nuanced areas of the position. Having two of a great receiver may not be the way teams tend to go, but it does make for a unique path to attacking a defense.
Doctson isn’t the fastest guy, and he has trouble against the press, but he just produces, period. He goes for balls other players wouldn’t even fathom, and puts himself in position for plenty of catches at all kinds of angles in a multitude of situations. He may not be a #1, but he can be the kind of #2 that will kill defenses if they focus too much attention on a Hopkins-level guy.
Coleman is the speed guy. He can light a field on fire with his feet, and apparate space almost instantly between himself and his opposing defender. He’s received John Brown comparisons, and they fit. He has size and concentration concerns, but this type of pure speed tends to enamor teams.
When a team searches for a #2 wideout to pair with a high-end #1, they usually try pairing someone with his inverse skill set; for example, a shirt burner gets paired with a tall possession guy. In this case, Hopkins is a tall guy with dynamic playmaking skills, but he somewhat lacks in speed.
Since that is the case, Coleman looks to be the best choice to pair with DeAndre.