From GM PredominantlyOrange: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: With the Top 4 OLB’s off the board, and decent depth in the draft for OLB’s, DE’s and CB’s, the Texans can’t pass on arguably the most electrifying offensive player in the draft. While upside projects like Sean Smith and Connor Barwin were enticing, and consistent the with the Texans’ Shannahanesque belief in upside and the power of coaching— the collective wisdom across the league is that this team is a playmaker or two away from breaking through to the elite level in the AFC. Maclin can change an NFL game tomorrow while Smith and Barwin are likely a year or two away from being legitimate impact players. You have to actually break through before you can start acting like you already have, which makes a ‘reach’ for either Smith or Barwin a luxury Houston cannot yet afford. True, bigger needs exist on the other side of the ball, but with Maclin aboard, the Texans offense and return game can make the move from very good to elite and make emerging superstars like Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton and Owen Daniels even bigger headaches for opposing defensive coordinators. Unlike the Broncos, the Texans already have a defense that gives them a chance to win most weeks and they therefore cannot ignore the value Maclin presents at #15. Once Cushing came off the board, I would have liked to try to trade back—perhaps dangle the possibility of drafting Andre Smith in front of the Eagles—but couldn’t figure out how to contact that particular GM. Had I pulled that off, my target would be Conner Barwin, hands down, as I see him as a potential roving pest that used properly can elevate the production of Mario Williams to an even higher level. However, at 15-- especially with Maclin on the board-- Barwin is simply too big of reach and too big of gamble for the oh-so-close Texans to make.
Commish's Thoughts: I applaud the GM for not reaching on Vontae Davis here, and I appreciate his non-gambling approach. I for one like to imagine Andre Johnson, one of the league "white hats", with another downfield threat taking pressure away from him. It is slightly dangerous, however, as 'Dre may be like one of those deep sea fish: if he doesn't have all that pressure keeping him together, he might just explode, with bits of elite playmaker going everywhere. Then all the pressure would be on Maclin.
ON THE CLOCK
San diego Chargers are up next. April Fool's day seems apropos for everyone's favorite team to be making their pick. But wills Sadaraine play the fool? Tope end talents like Maualuga and Moreno haven't gotten so much as a sniff, so stay tuned to see if that changes.
The deadline for this pick is Noon MST, April 1st. As long as I receive the pick by that time it will be valid. To send me the pick, just email me at the address shown in my profile.
San diego Chargers
Round 1, Pick #16 Overall