Senior Bowl 2021: Houston Texans Targets

Ahhh NFL Draft season, undoubtedly my favorite part of the offseason and a perfect distraction from the drama engulfing Texans fans' psyche right now. With an altered NFL combine this year, the Senior Bowl is the main event and best place to gain more insight into many talented prospects. For a full list of all the players attending you can look here and I encourage you to do your own research and let me know which prospects intrigue you!

As for this article, you’ll be getting 10 quick looks into my top targets for the Texans to pay attention to. I’ll be diving into prospects who are projected to be drafted in the 3rd round or later (don’t feel the need to look at 1st/2nd rounders until the doomsday scenario occurs). So, let’s get into it!

#1 Deonte Brown, IOL, Alabama

Brown’s name has started to really gain traction in Texans circles and has become a fan favorite for our 67th overall pick (3rd round). He measured in at the combine at 6’3, a monstrous 364lbs and a solid 32” arms. His physical build is an OL coach’s dream and he matches that with a physical/nasty streak in the trenches.

He moves defenders with ease, paving lanes for RB Najee Harris to have a historic season. The Texans had the 32nd ranked run game this past year and Brown would go a long way to correcting that. He’s best suited for a gap/power scheme (fits Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard too), to utilize his brute strength and hide his below average mobility.


PFF has also credited him with not giving up a single sack in his entire career - a strong addition to his resume. In pass protection, his mountain of a man stature is what really helps him. He’s not the most technically proficient with his hands, but defenders run into a wall when they meet him.

If he’s there at 67, we can feel good about adding a standout guard who should be a starter for a decade. Big fan of Brown.

#2 Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh

Jones is a huge draft crush of mine, largely due to the fact I see shades of Jadeveon Clowney in him. I fell in love with Clowney’s freak athleticism, super high ceiling, and flashes of utter dominance. EDGE is my favorite position to scout and Jones feeds right into my addiction.


Apart from also having lucious dreadlocks, Jones shares Clowney’s elite burst off the snap. Often surprising offensive linemen and giving him an instant advantage. His explosiveness will be key to his success and he pairs it with good hip fluidity, to bend to the QB and finish sacks. Jones also has flashes of speed to power moves and good hand usage, something that took Clowney years to work on.

Look at Jones win on this inside swim move, Clowney’s go to pass rush move. I’m quite convinced Clowney never went to Tennessee and instead reincarnated to Jones at Pitt.I very much welcome a Clowney/Jones reunion on the Texans and while he’s currently being projected in the late 3rd/early 4th, I would love him with our 67th pick.

#3 Marvin Wilson, DT, FSU

Marvin Wils- I mean Marvin Thiccson is a humongous human being. He measured in at 6’3 and 320lbs with 33” arms. Perfect size for a NT and he plays even bigger than that. The Texans are in grave need of a NT to eat up double teams and help Zach Cunningham get back to his elite level of play.


Marvin was touted as a top 10 lock and the best defensive player in the class, had he declared at the end of 2019. I still don’t understand why he didn’t but after an injury riddled and thus lackluster 2020 season, his stock is plummeting. Now projected around the 4th round, it’s natural to question why the steep decline. He didn’t play nearly as consistent in 2020 but after I watched his 2018 and 2019 seasons I was amazed.

I saw someone who consistently demanded double teams and always stood his ground, allowing LBs to play free and unblocked. Offenses needed to gameplan around him and he even showed an ability to split those doubles and make a play himself.

Marvin is the rare NT who can give you a little pass rush help as well. He’s more agile than you’d think and shows good clubs, rips, and chop moves to get to the QB. If he shows his old self at the Senior Bowl and proves his poor play was due to injury and nothing else, he could be the steal of the draft. I would be happy with him in the 3rd round and I urge you to join me on my #MarvinSoon campaign.

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#4 Michael Carter, RB, UNC

Michael Jordan and Vince Carter both played at UNC… so is Michael Carter the perfect blend of both? Probably not but it’s not as wild of a comparison as you’d think. Carter has some of the best footwork from any RB in this class, much like Jordan’s calculated and detailed approach. It allows him to make quick and sudden cuts to gain extra yards that the OL hadn’t blocked for him.

That’s a major trait I’m looking for when scouting RBs for the Texans - can you make the first defender miss? It’s something we’ve lacked for years and will definitely help improve our league worst run game.


Michael Carter is also quite explosive, a trait shared by Vince Carter, one of the best dunkers in NBA history. That explosiveness to jump off the court, or cut on the field allows Michael Carter to rip off numerous big plays. He averaged a ridiculous 8.0 yards per carry on a good sample size of 156 attempts.

Carter’s being projected around the 3rd/4th round and with a super deep RB class, the Senior Bowl on Saturday is his best chance to separate himself from the pack. I expect big numbers from him, as usual.

#4 Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, FSU

Hamsah is a freak of nature, at 6’3, 213lbs he also pairs that with an unheard of 34” arms. He’s built like a weak side LB and played all over the field for the Seminoles. As a deep single high free safety, in the box and even a nickel CB. I think his best position in the NFL is as a physical box safety, in the mold of Jeremy Chinn from last year’s draft class.


Both Hamsah and Chinn have a passion for tackling and fly downhill with a vengeance. Hamsah will set the tone for a defense and bring a much needed level of physicality and fire. He’s not like the DJ Swearinger’s of the world however, who excel vs the run but struggle to cover. Hamsah’s fluidity and explosiveness allows him to patrol zones but also stick with TE’s in man coverage.

Currently projected around the 4th round, Hamsah would be a dream pick of mine there. He’d fit well with the Texans current safeties, allowing Justin Reid to go back to playing free safety, where he saw so much success as a rookie.

#5 Drake Jackson, Center, Kentucky

Jackson follows suit from one of my draft crushes from last year, Logan Stenberg, also an IOL from Kentucky. While Stenberg blocked with a nasty streak and was great for a power scheme, Jackson’s elite mobility is more suited for a zone blocking scheme.


He might be the best offensive lineman I’ve watched this year at climbing to the 2nd level and blocking LBs. The Texans have struggled to work double teams, and often allow LBs to blow up run lanes. Drake does great to make sure his teammate can hold the initial block, before getting out in space, squaring up and making contact on a LB, shielding him away from the run.

He’s also very aware and active in pass protection. You’ll often see him with his head on a swivel, looking to help his guards. Nick Martin is a prime cut candidate this year and Drake could step in and play better from day one. Currently projected around the late 4th/early 5th, that would be PERFECT value for Drake.

#6 Ifeatu Melifonwu, DB, Syracuse

Melifonwu is the brother of Obi Melfonwu, a freak athlete who shot up draft boards due to exploding at the combine. While Obi was all potential and hasn’t worked out yet, don’t let that scare you away from Ifeatu.


He measured in at 6’2, 212lbs with 32’ arms, amazing size for a boundary CB. While he’s listed at DB and some will want to move him to safety, his 2020 tape at CB shows tons of potential and even polish.

He plays in a low stance which allows him to be fluid and move well for his size. He’s very aware in zone coverage and would be better suited in that system, than a man heavy one. His length is a great deterrent at the catch point, where he’s very competitive.

The Texans are in dire need of CB help and Ifeatu, who’s projected around the 5th/6th round would be a great prospect to take a chance on. He will need some work/coaching but has the potential to be a starter in the future.

#7 Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston

Speed is the name of the game in the NFL. The Chiefs have continued to display that with their explosive offense and Marquez is very similar to Mecole Hardman. They both excel in stretching the field vertically on GO routes and impose fear into CBs in front of them. In addition they add value stretching the field horizontally, on jet sweeps and various handoffs.


Marquez is a big play waiting to happen, and if the Texans do end up hiring Eric Bieniemy, providing him with yet another speedster will be huge. With Fuller and Cooks already on the roster, I understand the skepticism of similar skill sets. However, Stevenson is more of a gadget player and isn’t a developed route runner, similar to Hardman.

So Fuller and Cooks can continue to build off the success they saw this season, while Marquez focuses on GOs, slants, screens, jet sweeps and handoffs. He can have a very different role from the others and provide a spark whenever his name is called.

Being projected around the 6th/7th round, this would be the perfect time to take advantage of the deep WR class and snag a difference maker in Marquez, keeping him in the H.

#8 Payton Turner, DE/DT, Houston

Let’s continue talking about Coogs and look to Turner as someone who can solidify the trenches. He measured in at 6’5, 270lbs and monstrous 35” arms. Looking at those numbers it makes sense why he’s touted as a bit of a tweener. So far, he’s garnered looks at both DE and DT at Senior Bowl practices.


He has the power, length and leverage to play on the inside, but also the fluidity and hand usage to dominate the EDGE. I see a lot of Denico Autry and even Charles Omenihu in Turner. Someone who could play the EDGE on run downs and provide stout run defense. Then slide inside to DT and use his relative quickness to wreck havoc and get to the QB.

His powerful hands and long arms will be his greatest weapons at the next level and I would love him as an early day 3 pick.

#9 Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Shi is one of the most entertaining players to watch and he runs routes like an artist. He’s an explosive athlete who uses deception and burst to get rid of CBs downfield. He’s also very competitive at the catch point and pulls off some ridiculous highlight reel plays.


South Carolina played him in the slot and outside, and where he translates to at the NFL will be huge for my interest in him. Personally, I see him as a slot guy, especially with his measurements of 5’10, 186lbs. The Texans aren’t in need of a slot WR, with Randall Cobb being signed last offseason and Keke Coutee finally emerging once given a fair shot.

Thus, I’ll be watching very carefully how Shi is used during the game on Saturday. If he can dominate on the boundary, he’ll definitely be worth considering in the 4th round. Adding an electric playmaker who can bring big plays and win consistently.

#10 Jabril Cox, LB, LSU

Last on my list is Jabril Cox, who transferred to LSU after stellar seasons at North Dakota State. While he didn’t play very well this year, resulting in his stock taking a hit (3rd round now) his athleticism is certainly worth banking on.


He’s one of the better coverage LBs in this class and has great fluidity and instincts to read what offenses are showing him. The Texans have needed a coverage LB for all of their existence and Jabril could be that guy.

He’d work better as an off-ball LB which makes his fit a bit tricky with us. Cunningham is also best suited for that position, could the two co-exist together? I think Jabril would be great to bring in on pure passing downs to start, and really take advantage of that skillset. I’m not too sure of drafting him in the 3rd, but if he falls to the 4th, scoop him up!

Concluding Thoughts

If you’ve gotten this far thank you, and your gift is some bonus names to keep an eye on: Cornell Powell, WR. Demetric Felton, RB. David Moore, OL. D’wayne Eskridge, WR. Kylin Hill, RB. Quincy Roche, DE. Levi Onwuzurike, DT. Richie Grant, S.

I could talk about the draft all day, and have many more targets to look at so stay tuned as draft szn heats up! Check out the “Draft Profiles” tab for full scouting reports and more content will be on my YouTube (Texans Thoughts) and Twitter/Instagram (Texans_Thoughts).