Houston Texans 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 10, 2014

Houston Texans 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling

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    The Houston Texans were in a unique position heading into the 2014 NFL draft. Not only were the Texans set to kick things off in New York with a first overall pick borne of last year's 2-14 nightmare, but Houston also held the final pick on Saturday.

    From numero uno to Mr. Irrelevant, the Texans had 11 picks this year. After trying to trade back, the Texans finally made that first overall pick, getting the 2014 draft rolling by selecting South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

    From there, though, things got a little weird. The Texans added some solid pieces on the offensive and defensive lines on Day 2, but the quarterback everyone expected the team to draft was nowhere to be seen.

    He came on the draft's final day, though, in the form of Pitt's Tom Savage.

    So, with that in mind, here's a look back at the good, the bad and the baffling for the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL draft.

List of All 2014 Draft Selections

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    Before we get to the pats on the back and the kicks in the butt, here's a look back at the final tally on all the players selected by the Texans in the 2014 NFL draft: 

    Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina: Round 1, Pick 1 (1)

    Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA: Round 2, Pick 1 (33)

    C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: Round 3, Pick 1 (65)

    Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: Round 3, Pick 19 (83)

    Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh: Round 4, Pick 35 (135) [Compensatory]

    Jeoffrey Pagan, DE, Alabama: Round 6, Pick 1 (177)

    Alfred Blue, RB, LSU: Round 6, Pick 5 (181) [Acquired from Oakland Raiders for Matt Schaub]

    Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn: Round 6, Pick 35 (211) [Compensatory]

    Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt: Round 7, Pick 1 (216)

    Lonnie Ballentine, FS, Memphis: Round 7, Pick 41 (256) [Compensatory]

The Good

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    The Texans aren't as bad a football team as last year's record indicates, but just because there weren't as many holes to fill as one might expect on a 2-14 team doesn't mean there wasn't work to be done.

    In that respect, these picks all deserve a round of applause from Texans fans:


    Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina: Round 1, Pick 1 (1)

    Say what you will about his motor, his work ethic, his disappointing junior season or the potential pitfalls that could arise with moving Jadeveon Clowney from end to outside linebacker in the Texans' 3-4 front.

    However, Clowney is also one of the most athletically gifted pass-rushers to come along in the last decade, a young man who was the consensus pick as this year's No. 1 overall prospect.

    You can teach a guy to improve his hand and footwork. You can work in practice on getting him better in coverage.

    You can't teach this.

    Now imagine that playing across from J.J. Watt.

    AFC South quarterbacks are. You can hear them weeping.


    Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA: Round 2, Pick 1 (33)

    Offensive guards are the Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL. Their work in the trenches goes unnoticed and underappreciated, but a strong interior line is vital to a successful run game.

    There hasn't been a team in the NFL that's run the ball more the past few years than the Texans, so Houston chose to bolster the beefeaters in the second round with the addition of this year's top guard prospect.

    It may not be a "sexy" pick, but by pairing the 6'4", 307-pounder with Clowney, the Texans have added a pair of players regarded in most circles as the No. 1 prospect at their respective positions.

    Hard to argue with that.


    Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: Round 3, Pick 19 (83)

    On some level, we'd like to criticize this pick. By the middle of the third round, the offensive elephant was still very much in Houston's draft room, but rather than acknowledge it, the Texans instead dealt fourth- and fifth-round picks to trade up and acquire a defensive one.

    However, what a value.

    Mammoth defensive tackle Louis Nix was a first-round prospect on some draft boards. His Day 2 drop was a hot topic of conversation during the NFL Network's televised draft coverage.

    Add in that the 331-pounder is a fantastic scheme fit in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 front, and the lane-clogger was just too good for the Texans to pass up.


    Jeoffrey Pagan, DE, Alabama: Round 6, Pick 1 (177)

    The Texans are set at one defensive end spot (ever so slightly), but the departure of Antonio Smith in free agency opened a hole opposite J.J. Watt.

    The Texans filled it with a player Rob Rang of CBS Sports said is "built like a Coke machine."

    Alabama defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan won't offer the Texans much in the pass rush, but the 310-pounder is a stout run defender who can help in the base defense.

    Pagan's a solid depth addition late.


    Alfred Blue, RB, LSU: Round 6, Pick 5 (181) 

    Given Arian Foster's injury history and the wear on his tires, depth at running back is important to the Houston Texans, as evidenced by last year's injury-filled disaster at the position.

    Ben Tate's departure for a big payday to Cleveland in free agency made adding another back in this year's draft important, even though the Texans brought in Andre Brown.

    Alfred Blue didn't see much action behind Jeremy Hill last year at LSU, but the 6'2", 223-pounder has impressive power between the tackles and surprising speed for a larger back.

    The need alone would make this an OK pick, but Blue's upside makes it a very good one.


    Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn: Round 6, Pick 35 (211) [Compensatory]

    Fullbacks have become the dodo birds of the NFL. Every year there are fewer and fewer, and eventually we may reach a point where the position fades away altogether.

    However, there are some teams who still rely on a lead blocker to help open holes for the tailback, including the Houston Texans.

    Given that, it made plenty of sense for the Texans to add the 254-pound Prosch, who was the top-rated fullback on Rob Rang's board at CBS Sports.


    Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt: Round 7, Pick 1 (216)

    Sure, NFL teams occasionally find a diamond in the rough in the draft's final round, but more often than not the best you can hope for from a seventh-round pick is a solid reserve and special teams contributor.

    Vanderbilt cornerback Andre Hal, whom the Texans drafted with the first of their two seventh-round picks, is a good bet to help the team in both regards.

    As Dane Brugler of CBS Sports wrote of the 5'10", 188-pounder, "Hal lacks the physical traits to be a consistent NFL starter, but his tough, confident approach to the game should keep him on a roster and allow him to help in dime situations."

The Bad

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    Well, they say no one's perfect.

    Granted, it's too early to portend doom for any of this year's picks or to start throwing around the "bust" label.

    Still, it's hard not to wonder what Houston was thinking when they handed in these selections:


    Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh: Round 4, Pick 35 (135) 

    Given all the clamoring for the Houston Texans to draft a quarterback, one might think that the Texans' selection of Pitt's Tom Savage would be an easy call as a "good" pick.

    One would be wrong.

    It's not that there's nothing to like about the 6'4", 228-pounder. Savage has the prototypical size that NFL teams covet in quarterbacks and a cannon for a right arm.

    However, here's all you need to know about why we don't like this pick.

    A pair of scouting reports from NFL.com:

    Terrific size. Sets with balance. Easy, compact, high three-quarters release. Spins a catchable ball. Excellent arm strength to complete NFL throws.

    Has prototypical size and excellent speed for the position. Shows the ability to make the right pre-snap reads. Possesses a quick release and has the arm strength to make all the throws.

    Similar, right?

    The first is Savage. The second is Blaine Gabbert, another quarterback whose size and arm strength blinded some into overlooking his numerous flaws.

    Savage isn't a bad value at the end of Round 4, but he also isn't the answer at quarterback in Houston, who with this draft all but white-flagged the 2014 season.

The Baffling

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    Some picks in the 2014 NFL draft were hailed as steals. Others were pilloried as reaches. And others yet just left fans and pundits alike wondering what exactly just happened.

    For the Texans, these picks fell into that last category:


    C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: Round 3, Pick 1 (65)

    No one is going to dispute that the Texans were in need of additional depth at the tight end spot. Long time starter Owen Daniels left for Baltimore in free agency, and while Garrett Graham is a decent player he's not much more than that.

    However, using the first pick of the third round of Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz was puzzling for a couple of reasons.

    For starters, in the opinion of Rob Rang of CBS Sports, the pick itself was a reach. "I think this is high for this tight end," Rang wrote. "He is a solid player, and they have a need, but this is a little high for me. Some scouts thought he was overrated."

    However, the really head-scratching part was that the Texans passed on the quarterback they so badly need to pick up a tight end they could probably have had with their second pick of the round (if not later).


    Lonnie Ballentine, FS, Memphis: Round 7, Pick 41 (256)

    It may well be unfair to Memphis safety Lonnie Ballentine, the final pick of 2014, to call him "baffling," especially since the Texans have a need at safety.

    However, if Ballentine was a good pick, why wasn't he drafted earlier?

    If he was a bad pick, why was he drafted at all?

    And most importantly, why should we care?

    After all, the 6'3", 219-pound Ballentine was Mr. Irrelevant.


    Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.