The Houston Texans traded away a sixth round draft pick to move up a whole slot to grab Notre Dame’s Will Fuller. Fuller is one of the fastest player in the draft, but let’s not forget so was Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Did the Texans make the right pick?
The Houston Texans have done some good at the wide receiver position in the NFL Draft. Their two hits have been legendary. Andre Johnson is a Hall of Famer and the way DeAndre Hopkins has steadily improved in each of his three seasons, he may be well on his way.
For every Andre Johnson, there has been a DeVier Posey. For every DeAndre Hopkins, there has been a Keshawn Martin. Sure, these were second round draft picks or later, but they were also seen as third receivers to alleviate the pressure off whomever the Texans superstar No. 1 receiver was at the time.
That’s why this pick scares me a little bit. Fuller is easily one of the most exciting players in the NFL Draft, and the Texans are clearly transitioning their offense from a ball control game to an attempt at a high-octane offense, however, they basically drafted their third wide receiver. Nuk is the man, and suspension or not, Jaelen Strong showed glimpses of becoming an outstanding No. 2 wide receiver. Fuller will be nothing more than a spread-the-field guy.
Which is fine, but is a guy who won’t see the field on every play a first round draft pick? Or are possibly the Texans acknowledging that their tight end play has been atrocious the past few seasons and looking to run a more permanently spread offense? If so, this pick has a lot of upside.
They’ve drafted pure speed guys before. Jerome Mathis, Jacoby Jones and Trindon Holliday come to mind. All three were good at their roles, but none merited being a first round pick. We have all seen that when speed is one’s greatest asset, it doesn’t always translate to the NFL from the NCAA. Once again, DHB, I’m looking right at you. Cordarrelle Patterson? Percy Harvin? All first round picks.
If Fuller came to the Texans with speed and some other interesting attribute, this would be a home run kind of pick. The glaring issue is that he drops the ball… a lot. So he has Martavis Bryant type freakish speed and the hands to match. The same case of the dropsies. Ask the Steelers about the emotional roller coaster Bryant has them on every week, like the consecutive weeks he tallied one total reception last season down the playoff stretch.
The Texans needed speed that’s for sure. They didn’t need another inconsistent receiver in the hands department. Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington were great at dropping passes, and they did it for a lot cheaper.
I don’t think this is a terrible pick. I have faith more so in OB than I do in Rick Smith, and this was a Bill O’Brien guy who he recruited at Penn State (please don’t tell me that Christian Hackenberg is in the near future). Because I trust OB, I trust that he sees the value, but this is clearly a gamble.
Speedsters often seem to be a high risk, high reward type of pick. If this pick was a second rounder, I think I would personally be elated and excited. As it stands as a first round pick, I am excited… with reservations.
The Texans have a good history with first round picks. Fuller is their 16th ever, and seven have made the Pro Bowl. Whitney Mercilus and Kevin Johnson showed glimpses that they may be the next two Pro Bowlers in 2015 and I still believe in Clowney. People who read my Texans coverage know that I have a love/ hate relationship with Kareem Jackson, but if he plays like he did in the final eight games as opposed to the guy that got benched in the first eight games, he is quality.
My point is, the Texans have given their fans enough faith to trust the system… at least in regards to their first and second round picks. Am I personally hesitant to say I love this pick? You bet. Is there upside there that justifies the gamble to have the Texans first true home run hitter in a looooong time? 100-percent.
I guess that makes it ok, for now. If Fuller hits, this offense is the scariest it has ever been.