ChiefsDude with the pick...
If there's anybody who understands the pain of having a top notch offense with no post-season potential better than a Chiefs fan, it's a Texans fan.
Throughout Houston's building years, they've had a number of superb draft picks on both sides of the ball. Guys like Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, Owen Daniels, DeMeco Ryans, and last year's defensive rookie of the year, Brian Cushing. Even with the amount of busts they've had (and there've been a few), it's tough to understand why they still haven't reached the playoffs.
I can offer at least one reason: Peyton Manning. If Houston has any hope of making the playoffs in 2010, they need to find a way to mitigate Manning's relentless offensive attack and climb their way to the top of the AFC South.
As we've seen in recent years (unfortunately not so much from the Chiefs), there are a number of ways to beat teams like the Colts. It takes a bit of luck, but you can build dominance on both sides of the ball like the Patriots did throughout the Pioli years. You can build a defensive beast like that of the Steelers. Or you can just beat the Colts at their own game, ala New Orleans. Well, Houston was already a better passing team than any of last year's offensive behemoths but they lacked one critical element: the running game. And, in my humble opinion, that's Houston's fastest track to the Super Bowl in 2010. It's a gamble, for sure, but one that could pay huge dividends if the right players are selected.
And it just happens that my fellow mock GMs have left me with an answer for Houston:
Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State.
Mathews is a runner with ideal size, strength, and speed who had very good combine and pro day numbers on top of being last year's top rusher. Someone who can rush for 234 yards and 3TDs against Boise State is not someone you want ignore if you're looking to improve your running game. There's certainly room for development with Mathews and a little concern about durability, but there's too much to like about him not to take him in the 1st round. He'll have to work hard this off-season, but Ryan Mathews is a guy that can help nudge the Texans over that playoff hump.