Troy Nolan (Getty Images)
With the safety position certainly considered an area of need for Houston, as their depth chart currently reads Eugene Wilson and Nick Ferguson as the starters, many believed that Houston could address the position as early as round two. The Texans stuck to their guns, continued to pick the best player available, and finally drafted a true safety in round seven, in Arizona State’s Troy Nolan.
“With our seventh-round pick, we took (Troy) Nolan out of Arizona State,” Texans GM Rick Smith said. “Again, another need position. He’s a good-looking free safety who started two years in the Pac-10 and had a very productive career there at Arizona State, so we felt better about him at that spot.”
Nolan isn’t a Bob Sanders type of safety who will make highlight films with his bone-jarring hits, but he is a guy with great range who has a nose for the football.
“Skill-wise, I’m a ball-hawking safety,” Nolan said. “I like to get to the ball and I like to make plays on the ball and I get out there and make hits. I can bring all of that to the team skill-wise, and attitude-wise, I was a leader in college. I can bring my leadership qualities to the table and see where it takes us.”
Nolan knows that being a late-round draft pick guarantees him virtually nothing in terms of making the final roster–
“I got chosen pretty late, but that’s OK. It’s a great opportunity. The coaches seemed like they liked me when I talked to them on the phone. I’m just excited to get out there, get done, get to something new and help the team out, just play and do what I can.”
We asked Devils Digest.com publisher Hod Robino, who covered Nolan throughout his entire time at ASU, to give us a scouting report–
Nolan is a very opportunistic defender. He had 10 INT's and five defensive TD's in his two years at ASU. He also had 128 tackles and 13 pass breakups in that span. So he definitely has great field vision and anticipation. He started all 25 games he suited up.
While he's a good tackler, he doesn't have great closing speed and isn't that great of an open field tackler. He does have good size though for a safety.
Individually a class act person that never got into trouble here.
Even though Nolan is a seventh-round pick, he still has an opportunity to make the Texans roster and even compete for a starting job, as the veterans in front of him are mostly average football players. Still, Nolan doesn’t want to get ahead of himself–
“I don’t know about that right now, but I know I’m coming in to compete and try to get a starting spot and do everything I can. I believe that. I’m going to do my best to get a starting spot, get out there and compete with everybody.”
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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