26. Houston Texans - CB Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina) -- MIKE MARSHALL
Mr. Gilmore's stock has risen to the level of very likely being the 2nd overall cornerback taken in the draft and a potential top ten pick. None of which has much to do with his actual on the field talent (although he is a fine player). Most of the causation comes from his peers being downright idiots. Alfonzo Dennard punched a police officer last week and spent the weekend in jail, costing himself a briefcase full of gold. Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested for marijuana possession in January (charges were dropped, but still...). Janoris Jenkins has been kicked off Florida's football team and fired his agent this month...the most important month of his life. It's truly a battle of attrition as to who wants to lay low the longest and be the 2nd cornerback in this draft.
Gilmore has risen all the way up to Buffalo at number 10 or Jacksonville at number 7 on a handful of mock drafts recently, so any team that he'd slide to this late would be thrilled. The Texans secondary actually wasn't terrible last season. Largely because they were on the quarterback before he could threaten them and largely because of the acquisition of Jonathan Joseph. A dominant defense can take you very far if paired with an efficient offense like Houston's. The Texans have managed to reconstruct their identity as a defensive headache in the matter of one shortened off-season and 18 games. You can never have too many coverage backs. This unit will be a top 5 defense for at least the next 5 years.
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)