Texans open 2nd round of draft by picking Xavier Su'a-Filo

UCLA offensive lineman Xavier Su'A-Filo runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
May 9, 2014 8:14:52 PM PDT
Xavier Su'a-Filo had a two-year layoff between his first season of football at UCLA and his final two years, thanks to a Mormon mission. The guard, taken by the Texans with the first pick in the second round on Friday night, believes the time off helped him improve as a player and a person.

"Obviously I was away from the game for two years, but I think it helped me be physically more mature and mentally more mature and helped me just become a better football player," he said. "When I came back I was an older guy. I was more suited to be a leader at UCLA. I look at it all positive."

Despite a need at quarterback, the Texans went with another position again after selecting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday night. They continued that trend in the third when they took Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with the 65th pick. Houston traded the first pick in the fourth round (101st overall) and the first pick in the fifth round (141) to the Eagles to move up and select Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix at No. 83.

Despite their need at quarterback, the Texans have also drafted defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick and guard Xavier Su'a-Filo in the second round and picked up tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with the 65th overall pick.

Nix started eight games in 2013 and finished with 27 tackles and two tackles for losses.

In 2009, Su'a-Filo became the first true freshman in UCLA history to start 13 games before leaving for his mission in Alabama and Florida. He picked up right where he left off in 2012 when he started 14 games at left guard for an offense that averaged 466.5 yards a game.

He split time between left guard and left tackle last season and won the Morris Trophy as the Pac 12's top offensive lineman. Su'a-Filo isn't sure how the Texans will use him, but he's looking forward to showcasing his versatility in Houston.

"I can play either," he said. "I just want to get in there and I want to compete and contribute and help the team as best as I can."

Fiedorowicz had 30 receptions for 299 yards and six touchdowns last season. Houston re-signed tight end Garrett Graham this offseason, but lost tight end Owen Daniels in free agency. The 6-5, 265-pound Fiedorowicz said he has always looked up to New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and that despite his own skill as a blocker he wants to prove he can be a well-rounded tight end.

"I feel like I'm going to really prove to everybody that I'm a dual-threat," he said. "I'm going to catch the ball, I'm going to block on the edge and do everything (O'Brien) asks."

Su'a-Filo has fashioned his game after veteran New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins and raved about his skills.

"I love the way he plays," Su'a-Filo said. "I think he's physical. I think he's nasty. You know, I try to implement as much from his game that I can."

The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Su'a-Filo, perhaps unsurprisingly, is looking forward to the culinary delights in Houston.

"The whole state of Texas is pretty great, but I'm looking forward to eating at Pappadeaux and Whataburger," he said of the Houston-based Cajun restaurant and the burger-chain, which started in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Nix started eight games in 2013 and finished with 27 tackles and two tackles for losses.

He can't wait to join a defensive line with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and Clowney.

"I never thought ever in life that would happen," Nix said. "I'm super excited."


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