The best immediate pass-rush fit from this draft? We'll take Whitney Mercilus in Houston. The only real question on the former Illinois DE seems to be whether he's a 1-year wonder. Well, that's 1 more year than Jason Pierre-Paul posted in college. Obviously, nobody else's road proves or disproves Mercilus' worth. If there's one thing DC Wade Phillips knows, though, it's pass rushing. Mercilus led the nation in sacks and forced fumbles and ranked 2nd in tackles for loss during a wildly productive junior year in 2011. The Texans like the pass-rushing ability of OLB Connor Barwin, but Mercilus should be an improvement on 2011 2nd-rounder Brooks Reed in that area. If he can get enough snaps, Mercilus should be a sack factor right away. He probably won't be draftable right away in most redraft leagues, but he looks like a 10+ sack threat whenever the playing time is there.
Texans OLB Mario Williams is done for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Sunday's loss to Oakland, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. That leaves Williams' starting spot to 2nd-round rookie Brooks Reed. The former Arizona Wildcat had a 2-sack game in the preseason and registered 2 QB hits and 4 tackles (3 solo) Sunday after replacing Williams. Reed had tallied just 43 snaps before Week 5, so we'll see what kind of impact he can make with more time. His immediate fantasy outlook isn't exciting. Houston's next 5 opponents all ranked 17th or better in Football Outsiders' adjusted sack rate through Week 4. Fellow rookie Brian Braman -- a preseason revelation -- figures to see a bit more work as well. Williams' loss certainly hurts the D overall, but it doesn't kill the Texans' value. DE Antonio Smith has led been the top-performing pass rusher so far, according to Pro Football Focus. Reed, Braman and Connor Barwin give the team talent on the outside, and LB Brian Cushing is a strong pass rusher as well. He could see more blitz opportunities going forward.