HOUSTON -- This is something sure to excite the Houston Texans' fan base -- at least the portion not concerned about the Texans failing to get a quarterback in the first round.
Mel Kiper's Mock Draft 2.0 has the Texans taking Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott No. 22 overall. Running back is absolutely a position of need for the Texans, whether or not they bring back Arian Foster at a reduced salary. Even if Foster returns, the Texans need to prepare for the future at the position.
Foster's cap hit would be more than $9 million on his current contract. With his health deteriorating (he hasn't played a full season since 2012) and his age (he'll be 30 next season), the Texans can't keep him if he remains that expensive. They'd save $6.6 million by releasing him, but if he agrees to a pay cut they could keep him to bridge the gap.
Elliott produced against elite defenses in college. Here's more about Elliott from Houstonian and NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein:
"Elite combination of vision and decisiveness. Instinctive, short strider with instant reaction time. Has a bona fide jump-cut to elude penetration in the backfield and enough burst to elude chasers when he bounces runs to the outside. Able to change directions with no hesitation or wasted motion and is always headed forward. Has innate feel for developing blocks in space and is excellent at setting his blocks up and accelerating from behind them when the linebacker is trapped. When it’s gridlocked inside, finds yards on his own. Rocked up physique but still maintains loose hips for agility. Exceptional balance through contact and takes tacklers for a ride. Has a “come at me, bro!” mentality as a runner. Loves to end runs on his physical terms. Uses lead shoulder as a weapon, but plays with outstanding ball security. Looks to absolutely bludgeon defenders as a lead blocker and is often successful. Able pass catcher who adjusts to throws and can do something with it after the catch."