Published November 20, 2014
The optimism fostered from last year's breakthrough campaign has been tempered some by the significant personnel losses the Texans encountered during the offseason, with premier pass-rusher Mario Williams, offensive linemen Eric Winston and Mike Brisiel, inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans and undervalued tight end Joel Dreessen among those no longer on the roster. The team is still confident it has players ready to step in at all those spots, though, which would allow Houston to concentrate on addressing its most pressing need -- a young wide receiver with size that can stretch the field and provide a big-play complement to All-Pro Andre Johnson. The quality of this year's wideout class shouldn't have the Texans handcuffed by picking late in the first round, as prospects that fit the club's profile such as LSU's Rueben Randle or Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill could very well be still on the board if it chooses to go in that direction. Much of Houston's draft strategy will be geared towards gathering reinforcements for those positions thinned out by the veteran depletions, however, and there's also not a true fullback or a kicker on the present payroll.
2011 Record: 10-6
Top Needs: WR, OL, FB
First Three Picks: No. 26, No. 58, No. 76
Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7)
FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - J.J. Watt (DE, Wisconsin); 2010 - Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama); 2009 - Brian Cushing (LB, USC); 2008 - Duane Brown (OT, Virginia Tech); 2007 - Amobi Okoye (DT, Louisville); 2006 - Mario Williams (DE, North Carolina State); 2005 - Travis Johnson (DT, Florida State); 2004 - Dunta Robinson (CB, South Carolina), Jason Babin (DE, Western Michigan); 2003 - Andre Johnson (WR, Miami-Florida); 2002 - David Carr (QB, Fresno State).