With the 42nd pick of Pride of Detroit's 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the Houston Texans select Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling. Lead Hunter is serving as the Texans' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
As mentioned in my write-up for the 11th pick, the Texans' needs include CB, OLB, FS and to a lesser extent, DT/NT. These needs are because Houston is switching to a 3-4 defense and the plain fact that they were near the bottom of defensive statistics as a whole. OLB was addressed with me taking Aldon Smith in the first round. My thoughts for filling one of the remaining needs are after the jump.
It would have been nice to pick a solid NT for Wade Phillips to work with in the new scheme. Kenrick Ellis would be the next best NT on the list. He is certainly big and strong enough to fit the bill. There are a couple of concerns I have with him at this pick, though. He was suspended and then released from South Carolina, which means off the field issues. I could really overlook this, but the bigger issue is after leaving, he played for a I-AA school and although he did well, it was just not well enough for me to like him in the second round.
DT was another area I could pick from here. Christian Ballard is still on the board and might work out here and has the ability to play 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT. From what I read on him, he would probably work out better in a 4-3 setting. Needing starters as bad as the Texans do, I chose to pass on a maybe.
Looking at who is left at CB, I could see there is actually some talent on the board. The top two CBs are Davon House and Ras-I Dowling. The rankings have these two guys pretty close. I can attribute this to the fact that Dowling had leg injuries in the 2010 season, limiting his playing time, as well as his combine and pro day. If it were not for that, Dowling would be ranked a bit higher. In fact, I believe he has a better chance of starting right away than House does. The Texans could use a starter at the CB position for more than just the simple reason of need. By selecting a potential starter at CB, the Texans can move Glover Quin to FS, where he is better suited. Upgrading two positions with one pick makes Ras-I Dowling a solid selection at No. 42.
Check out the 2011 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.