The Houston Texans have drafted pass rushers with three of their last four first-round picks in the NFL Draft, snagging J.J. Watt in 2011, Whitney Mercilus in 2012, and then Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick a year ago.
One would think that, given that all three of those players are still in Houston, and that Watt is the most feared pass rusher in the game, that the Texans might focus Round 1 resources on another area of the team. That is not the case for Brett Kollmann of Battle Red Blog, who has fallen in love with another pass rusher, and is picking him No. 16 overall in our 2015 NFL mock draft.
16. Texans: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
Kollmann: This pick came down to a close vote in the Texans' war room between Eric Kendricks, Bud Dupree and Melvin Gordon, but at the end of the day we opted to go with a freaky pass rusher loaded with potential over two position groups that still may offer value in later rounds. Houston has invested heavily at outside linebacker with Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney all being taken with high picks since 2011, yet the position itself still could use more help. Reed is now a Falcon, Mercilus has yet to do much beyond be crowned as the unquestioned king of the unblocked sack, and Clowney is coming off of microfracture surgery on his knee that may or may not create setbacks in his already injury-plagued career.
Enter Dupree -- the freakiest freak in all of the freakdom that is the SEC. As a 'tweener coming off the edge for the Wildcats' defense, Dupree has experience rushing from multiple stances as well as extensive work in space, where he has shown more natural coverage ability than perhaps any other top-tier pass rusher in this class. He is a perfect fit at Sam linebacker over the tight end in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4, which would coincidentally put him right next to J.J. Watt on most downs. If Clowney remains an injury scratch and Mercilus continues to be average (at best), then Dupree might finally be the answer that Houston has been looking for at outside linebacker for going on half a decade.
On the flip side, however, if you can find me an offensive line in the NFL that can block Watt, Dupree, Vince Wilfork and a healthy Clowney simultaneously ... well ... you can’t. That doesn’t exist. Sign me up for that nonsense, please.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: As a Bud Dupree fan, I like this pick. But looking at Houston’s roster, it seems excessive. By far, Dupree’s biggest strength is his ability to get after the passer. With Watt and Clowney, though, how many more pass rushers does one defense need? I’ve gone with Kendricks in so many mocks because he does something completely different while filling a need.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- 15. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- 19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
- 20. Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
- 1-16: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
- 2-51: (coming April 14)
With that, the second full week of the 2015 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft is officially underway! Coming up next: the No. 17 overall pick, held by the San Diego Chargers, with the pick being made by Bolts from the Blue. See you at noon ET!
SB Nation presents: Houston's needs in the draft