May 7, 2015
Johnson, McKinney, Strong Highlight Draft
by Bob Hulsey
The Texans had needs going into the 2015 draft and chose to target players whom they wanted most to get in the first three rounds. With the 16th overall choice, they skipped past outside rushers Shane Ray and Bud Dupree, instead choosing Wake Forest corner Kevin Johnson.
A slender six-foot corner, Johnson should see play immediately in nickle situations and likely take over for Johnathan Joseph once his contract ends at the end of the season.
Houston moved up in the second round after a trade with Cleveland, giving up their 2nd, 4th and 6th-round picks for Cleveland's 2nd and 7th. With that pick, the Texans selected inside linebacker Bernardrick McKinney or Mississippi State.
At 6-4 and 246 lbs., McKinney should line up next to Brian Cushing and supply solid run defense. Whether he helps in the passing game is somewhat questionable but the Texans needed a thumper in the middle, especially with Cushing slowing down some.
In the third round, Houston packaged their 3rd, 5th, Cleveland's 7th and reserve receiver DeVier Posey to get the New York Jets' pick and selected wide receiver Jaelen Strong of Arizona State. Strong is 6-2 and has 4.4 speed with the talent to win jump balls and make the sort of tough catches that Andre Johnson was making when he was here.
The Texans had the chips to trade up because of three compensation picks from the 2014 free agency period. The last day was for projects and special teams hopefuls. Keith Mumphrey, a WR from Michigan St., was picked late in the 5th round. He starred in last January's Cotton Bowl with a 50-yard TD against Baylor.
South Florida LB Reshard Cliett, Rice DT Christian Covington and LSU RB Kenny Hilliard round out the final picks and all will have to work hard to make the 53-man roster. Hilliard may make the roster as a short-yardage specialist.
After the draft, the Texans plucked their share of undrafted free agents, including Toledo C Greg Mancz, Norfolk St. LB Lynden Trail, Oregon LB Tony Washington Jr., Michigan St. S Kurtis Drummond and Boise St. TE Khari Lee.
In addition, late free agent signings by the Texans include S Stevie Brown, formerly of the New York Giants and RB Chris Polk, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, who will compete with Alfred Blue for playing time behind Arian Foster.
The Colts, Titans and Jaguars had solid drafts so the Texans needed to make some solid picks to keep pace. We'll see how it all fits together come September 13th at home against the Kansas City Chiefs.
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