The NFLUKMock was a lot of fun to do. It is a fluid mock that leaves you reacting to the unexpected more than any other style of mock. That unexpected led me to trading away my first round pick. I then followed that up by making major improvements to the biggest area of need on the Houston Texans roster in rounds two and three.
Now with three offensive lineman already added it is time to look at the moves I made with what turned out to be my final three picks. Entering the fourth round I originally had four picks. The two fourth round picks were benefits of earlier trade downs, and the last two were ones I entered the draft with.
Let’s take a look at the moves I made to close out my draft.
Pick 110: Damien Harris, Running Back, Alabama
I have no major issue with Lamar Miller for the Texans. However, this is the last year of his contract and he is already the ninth highest paid running back in the league. There is a good chance that this is his final season with the Texans. Currently they do not really have a replacement in place. D’Onta Foreman was a third round pick back in 2017, but he has yet to prove he can be a full time running back. This was also a bonus pick that I gained in the deal with the Bengals. Therefore, it was right to use this pick to gamble on a potential home run player.
That is where Harris comes into the picture, especially when the value is this good. There is next to no chance we actually see Harris slip to the fourth round. However, if he does the Texans should absolutely pounce. His 40 time was not amazing, but the combination of solid production (5.8 yards per carry) and a fairly light workload should be appealing to NFL teams. Harris has the talent to be a three down running back in the NFL, and Houston are one of the teams who could do with one.
Pick 130: Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse
In the last article I talked about picking an East-West Shrine game standout in Trey Pipkins. This time it is another stand out from that week in Slayton. He dominated in practice and looked good in the game. The other great bonus is that he seems to be versatile along plenty of spots. He has the potential to play nose tackle, as well as a defensive end in the Texans 3-4 system.
The defensive line is not somewhere you would consider a massive weakness for the Texans. However, they lost the surprisingly effective Christian Covington in free agency this year, and will need to look to replace him. Slayton could be the perfect fit on that line, and if some draft sites are to be believed could be a second or third round talent.
Pick 158: Mike Bell, Safety, Fresno State
Originally my last two picks in the draft were in the sixth and seventh rounds. However, the value on this pick was too good to pass up in the middle of fifth. I do not see safety as a huge need for this team, but that doesn’t mean there was no point looking for an upgrade. I tried to move up in the third round to take Jonathan Abram out of Mississippi State. Unfortunately, someone else beat me to the punch and left me looking for a safety project later in the draft.
Bell is exactly that project, and with him having a second to fourth round grade on some sites this was also a value. Bell raised some eyebrows with a slower than expected 40 time, but he has shown enough in college to be interesting. The Texans style dictates needing a safety who can help with the run and work in coverage. Bell has shown that ability, with 87 tackles, eight passes broken up and three interceptions. He also has the ability to be either a free or strong safety in the future, which for a team with no specific need is an interesting addition.
Image credit: Cedric Mason – Touchdown Alabama Magazine