Draft Central: Texans still need a safety?
Ed Reed brings experience, swagger and unmatched football knowledge to the Texans secondary. After 11 seasons he may no longer be in his prime, but the truth is that Reed can still play and play well.
The signing of Reed was a move to make the Texans more mentally tough, something owner Bob McNair stressed to head coach Garry Kubiak during this offseason. Reed has done it all and then some. 61 career interceptions, nine Pro Bowls, five All-Pro seasons and a Defensive Player of the Year award to name a few. The Texans know they are not getting the old Ed Reed and are settling for an older Ed Reed. But that’s not entirely a bad thing. Reed will make so much of a difference in terms of preparation and film study to the Texans, and that alone could be worth the move. Throw on top of that he still has a reputation as one of the best ballhawks in the game, and the fact that every quarterback in the NFL will openly admit that they look to find where Reed is before they snap the football Reed makes The Texans defense immediately better.
But because of his age and the situation, the Texans need to draft a safety in one of the first three rounds. A bonus is that they have four picks within the first three rounds. Whichever safety the Texans decide to take in the draft, that player will be heading into a situation that every safety in the draft should envy, a chance to sit everyday in a film room with Reed. That player will go through a season of school work on football that would rival a workload during a year at MIT. He will come into a starting role when Reed leaves with more knowledge than a six year veteran.
Whoever the Texans take at safety will also get to play on the field with Reed. The Texans like to go with three safeties and he’ll have to play some but not a ton. Sharing playing time with Reed to go along with the off the field experience will have a value that is unmatched.
So who do the Texans take as a safety in the draft? That depends on where the Texans decide to pick up a safety. Draft expert Mike Mayock talked specifically about the safety position on Thursday. Mayock feels that Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft and should go around the second half the of the first round. After Vaccaro, Mayock feels that Matt Elam out of Florida can do anything on a football field, but lacks great size and could go late first or early second round. Two other safeties in Jonathan Cyprien out of Florida International and Eric Reid from LSU could go in the second round according to Mayock. An interesting note for Texans fans is that Mayock feels that Phillip Thomas from Fresno State, a third round prospect by many, is the best “ballhawking” safety in the draft. Who better to learn how to master that style of play other than the master himself?