222nd: Andrew Motuapuaka, LB Virginia Tech
Motuapuaka (mo-TOO-uh-POO-WAH-kuh) was born in New Zealand to Tongan parents who eventually made their way to Virginia. He was an all-state player in high school. His play parlayed him to a scholarship at Virginia Tech. He redshirted his freshman year due to a fractured right scapula. He bounced back quickly from that injury to become a three-year starter.
Motuapuaka plays with grind and grit that is unparalleled. No, he is not the most physically gifted player in the draft, nor does he have the best instincts. However, no one outworks this guy and does not display the leadership he does.
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Motuapuaka may never become a superstar in this league, but at this point, that’s not what the Houston Texans need. After Brian Cushing‘s release, the team needs solid depth and special teams play. Motuapuaka can provide both. He has enough heart to pair with his skill to become a solid contributor in the league. Who knows, we could have another Dylan Cole on our hands. Motuapuaka is the type of guy you dream of at the end of drafts.
New Houston Texans GM Brian Gaine came in with a lot of cap space, but not a great draft cabinet. So far, I’ve been impressed with his ability to work with what he’s got. His first draft, however, will be telling for his tenure as GM. He has some decent capital, but not having a first or second round pick will make it tougher.
The Houston Texans have some holes left to plug and a roster to fill out. The offensive line and depth pieces on defense will be a must. There is a decent amount of depth across the majority of positions in this draft. There may not be a ton of talent at the top in positions of need for the Texans, so it works out that the team doesn’t have a first or a second.
With the draft officially one week from today, the NFL world is about to get crazy busy. Even though we likely won’t see the Houston Texans on the board until next Friday, seeing how division rivals shape out will be interesting.
As always, mock drafts are extremely speculative and rarely exactly right. Hopefully, this gets us, as fans, in the right mind for the draft and gives us an idea of the holes the team will be trying to fill.