1. That secondary struggled badly in 2010, but the Texans are also making the switch to a 3-4. So do they draft a cornerback or a 3-4 pass rusher with that first-round pick?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? The Texans are helped out by the fact that it’s rather unlikely that either LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson or Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara will be available at No. 11, leaving them with no clear cornerback choice. Every sign at this point seems to be that the Texans are looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker, whether that’s someone like North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Missouri’s Aldon Smith, or even a sleeper like Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan. It’s also a possibility that they’ll look to trade down, because as you note, they do have a lot of holes to fill.
2. Obviously the defense needs help, but are there any under-the-radar need positions in Houston?
Wide receiver is a concern in the eyes of the fans. Jacoby Jones struggled mightily in the slot last year, particularly with drops on third down. Depending on what happens with the new collective bargaining agreement, he may be a free agent as well. Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson aren’t getting any younger. There’s quite a groundswell of support to make Julio Jones the pick if he’s on the board at No. 11 as a clear-cut case of best player available. The Texans could also be looking for a late-round fullback or punter, as it’s unclear if the team is willing to pay Vonta Leach big money and it appears unlikely that incumbent punter Matt Turk will be back.
3. Is there a specific player you’re hoping they land in Round 1?
Personally, I’d hope for Quinn or a trade down. I don’t think Julio Jones is a realistic option in the eyes of the front office, and if that isn’t the case, Quinn is regarded as head-and-shoulders above the rest of the rush outside linebackers in the pool, excluding Von Miller of course. If he’s not around, the Texans probably should look to trade down and pick up an additional high-round pick so they get another shot at filling a hole. It’s a pretty deep rush linebacker crop and they may just find what they’re looking for down in the 20′s (or maybe even the 30′s) anyway.