Texans Evaluate Talent In Their Own Back Yard

By PFC Writer Wayne Lin

The Houston Texans saw some impressive young talent at the East-West Shrine game on Saturday.  Despite their obvious glaring need for O-Linemen and Linebacker the Texans made note a couple players that could drop to them in the middle to late rounds in the draft, much like Jacoby Jones did two seasons ago.  With an offense as good as it was in 2008, many of these players made a good showing and may find themselves donning a Texans uniform come training camp:

Brian Hoyer, QB, Michigan State: Hoyer comes from a background that is spread-oriented, but coming out from under center, he showed poise and leadership.  He made accurate throws to his receivers and he seemed undaunted in the pocket.  The down side of Hoyer is his ability to put some zip on the ball and do it accurately.  Another problem is he impressed plenty of scouts at practices and has now come up on many teams’ radars.  Projected third to fifth round pick.

Lendy Holmes, S, Oklahoma: Holmes started his career as a Wide Receiver, but switched to Safety his sophomore season and was part of a secondary that showed flashes of brilliance.  His speed makes up for his lack of coverage skills.  He is better suited as a safety than a corner, but what makes him stand out is his football IQ.  Some have it and some don’t, but Holmes is up in the top tier of athletes who analyzes each play.  He was ruled academically ineligible in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007, but has bounced back and graduated with a Sociology degree.  He saw limited playing time in the Shrine Game, but had an impressive showing in practices leading up to the game. Projected third to fifth round.

Sebastian Vollmer, OL, Houston: Houston might be gutsy enough to take a chance on Vollmer, not because of his local player, but he has the intangibles to be a great lineman.  At Houston he looked lost on some assignments and got burned because he wasn’t quick enough, but at times he can play angrily and smash the defense.  He isn’t as fast as some would like, but he has improved on his speed from his junior to senior years and there’s no telling what kind work he’s going to do in the combine.  It’s too early to tell on Vollmer because his size is also in question, but if coached correctly, he could be a Larry Allen or Flozell Adams.  Projected fifth round to rookie free agent.

Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina: Brinkley dominated at South Carolina, but he has a propensity to miss tackles.  That may bump him into the lower rounds, but his practices were impressive.  Brinkley has the speed of a wide receiver, has the body size of a safety, and has the strength of a defensive lineman.  He is a hybrid player that can be dangerous if he’s within five yards of the ball.  Brinkley has a good shot to go high in the draft and be a player that a defense can build around, but his down side is his attitude.  He was an outspoken player at Carolina and that may not fly well with NFL coaches.  If Brinkley is drafted, he may move to the safety position or use him in blitz packages.  Brinkley’s instinctive and that makes him good.  He looks at the ball at all times, never letting go of it until the tackle is made.  Projected second to fourth rounds.

Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona: Thomas set the all-time receptions record for the Pac-10 in 2008, but he doesn’t have a lot of speed.  However, he is a type of player that can make a defense miss.  He’s shifty and has agility which makes him a valuable commodity.  One problem of Thomas’ is his ability to hold on to the ball.  He may have set the receptions record at Arizona, but he might have also set the all-time fumble record.  The Texans could draft a receiver high in order to give Andre Johnson some rest or use him as a decoy.  Thomas is the right type of player for that.  His speed is suspect for a wide receiver, but one thing scouts have noted is that he doesn’t get injured which is a plus at any position and he has great hands.  He catches 90 percent of the passes thrown his way.  What made Thomas so popular at Arizona is his ability to get yards after the catch.  Any coach salivates at a receiver who can get them.  Projected second to fifth round.

Of course, these are just projections.  These players and others can improve their stock with the combine coming up and scout day at their universities.  Stay tuned for updates on the Texans draft needs or Texans news.