Marc D. - Angleton, TX, US: Do we really need LB position? Aren't we set in this spot? Why would we be considering Mathews???
2009 Draft Weekend: Hi Marc, It's Brooke...The Texans have a lot of defensive needs, but here is why they need another OLB: Zac Diles is coming back from a season-ending leg injury, so they don't know that they have in him. Xavier Adibi is entering his second year, but also dealt with injuries and struggled to keep weight on as a rookie. Kevin Bentley is there for insurance and the Texans signed Cato June. So, yes, they did cover their bases, but they could use a linebacker who can play big in the run game and help in the pass rush. USC's Clay Matthews can do both of those. He also has fluid hips and can drop into coverage. He has great football bloodlines and a lot of upside.
Thanks for joining us in our pre-draft live chat! Check out our draft coverage at HoustonTexans.com's 2009 Draft Central!
Tyler Hague - reedsport, OR, US: I think people put too much stock into the first round pick. I believe we should look at OLB, S, G, and a big RB as our priorities in this draft. where do you see us taking these positions throughout the draft?
2009 Draft Weekend: Hi Tyler, It's Brooke...The problem with first-round draft picks is that you have to pay them so much money that they often are over-priced. The Texans drafted LB DeMeco Ryans in the second round and TE Owen Daniels in the fourth, and both those guys went to the Pro Bowl. Because GM Rick Smith can get value in later rounds, I wouldn't be surprised if he traded back in the first round to get additional picks. The Texans most definitely need another OLB, a physical safety, a big running back and a run-stuffing d-tackle. There should be some massive tackles and physical safeties available in the second and third rounds. There are also is a good crop of big backs that should go in the third round.
judge - san diego, CA, US: what are the chances that Iowa RB Shonn Greene will still be around in the 2nd or 3rd rd?
2009 Draft Weekend: Nick: Greene is projected to go in the second or third round. He had a monster season at Iowa last year (1,850 yards, 20 TDs) and is a powerful back. I'd say there's a pretty good chance he's there when the Texans pick in Round 2 (46th), but who knows if he'll be there at 77 when they pick in the third.
Robert - Austin, TX, US: Hi Brooke, my picks are either vontae davis or malcom jenkins. Who would you take at 15?
2009 Draft Weekend:
Hi Robert, It's Brooke...Without a doubt, I would take Malcolm Jenkins. He is a better cover corner and he can step up against the run. Jenkins is also a character guy - I saw that first-hand when I interviewed him at the combine. He was considered a top 10 pick before he ran the 40 in 4.5's. If Jenkins falls to the Texans at 15, it would be hard to pass him up. I know the Saints like him at 14, so I doubt he falls farther than that. Davis may be a superior athlete and have good bloodlines (his brother is Vernon Davis, a first-round pick in 2006), but all the scouts I talk to say that he is lazy in the classroom and doesn't have the best attitude on the field. That has hurt his draft stock.
judge - san diego, CA, US: which linebacker do you think is a better fit for defense? matthews or cushing it seems to me that we will go with matthews.
2009 Draft Weekend: Nick: Either one would be a good fit. Both are versatile and can line up at either OLB spot. Matthews is the more talented of the two as a pass rusher; he has a great burst that really has scouts buzzing. Cushing is better against the run, but he also made a lot of plays in pass coverage at USC. To me, it comes down to whether you go with the more proven commodity in Cushing, who played for four years at USC, or the more player with more upside in Matthews, who was a walk-on who became a star in his senior season.
eric - houston, TX, US: straight out answer. cushing or matthews to draft or maybe vontae davis
2009 Draft Weekend: Nick: I'm not Rick Smith, but if I had to play GM I'd say Matthews. I'll give him the edge based on upside. That said, he's also more of an unknown. If there's a corner at 15 I could see the Texans drafting, it'd be Malcolm Jenkins, not Davis. Davis' character concerns and inconsistency at Illinois might cause him to slide in the draft.
Demetrius - Houston, TX, US: Can the Texans draft Pat White from West Virginia so he can re-unite with steve slaton?
2009 Draft Weekend: Nick: Wouldn't that be something? White improved his stock this offseason and gave himself a chance to play quarterback at the next level. But he's being talked about as a third-round pick, and the Texans are set at QB. Think about the Texans' recent third-round picks - Steve Slaton and Antwaun Molden in 2008, Jacoby Jones in 2007, Eric Winston and Charles Spencer in 2006. They're probably looking for a bigger contributor in that round than White would be next season.
Alonzo "Big Zo" - Goodyear, AZ, US: With recent reports of Chris Wells dropping because of foot issues, do you think he makes it to the second round and do you think Houston will pick him if he is available.
2009 Draft Weekend:
Nick: I'd be shocked if he lasts to No. 46, the Texans' second-round slot. I don't think he'll get past the Cardinals at No. 31 and could go even earlier in the first. If he happens to still be on the board, he's got a rare blend of size and speed and would be a tough guy to pass up.
shine - spring, TX, US: Who are the 2 or 3 hardest hitting defensive players in this years draft? Would it make sense for the Texans to draft any of them?
2009 Draft Weekend: This is Nick again. Rey Maualuga from USC and James Laurinaitis from Ohio State are two that come to mind. Tenacious players, ferocious hitters. But they both project as MLBs, so you'd think with DeMeco Ryans in the fold already that neither is a likely first-round pick for the Texans.
sean - san antonio, TX, US: who are we going to pick up i hope the lb fro usc
2009 Draft Weekend: Hey, Sean. This is Nick Scurfield. It depends how the draft shakes out and who the Texans have highest on their board. A lot of pundits are predicting that the Texans pick OLBs Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews. Cushing has more experience, can play any LB position and is tough against the run. Matthews only played for one year at USC but has a lot of upside, is viewed as a better athlete and can really get after the passer.
Tariq Qattom - Sugar Land, TX, US: Who will the Texans select with the 15th overall pick in this year's draft?
2009 Draft Weekend:
Hi Texans fans. Welcome to our Draft Day Live Chat. For the next hour Nick Scurfield and myself (Brooke Bentley) will take your questions about the who the Texans will select this weekend. Will it be a linebacker in the first round, a running back in a later round? Only time will tell, so let the questions begin.
The Texans covered their bases during free agency by signing DT Shaun Cody, DE Antonio Smith and LB Cato June. That means they don't have to reach with their first-round pick. It's clear that the Texans need help on defensive. GM Rick Smith said he is committed to building the team through the draft, and he's not opposed to trading back from 15 to get more value picks. So look for the Texans to trade back and look for them to go defense. They are thin at linebacker, but they also could use help at corner and d-tackle. If a high prospect ends up falling, Smith could go for the best athlete available.