Dale Money | April 29th, 2020
In the next draft review, we head to Houston. The Houston Texans came into the NFL Draft without a first-round selection, after trading it away to the Miami Dolphins for Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil. The Texans would have just five selections in the Draft but would manage to fill some of their glaring weaknesses. Adding both Ross Blacklock and Jonathan Greenard with their first couple of selections should help in solidifying a pass rush that was severely lacking a season ago.
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Round 2, Pick 40: Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
The blows kept coming for the Texans and that defensive pass rush in 2019. The Texans would decide to trade Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of last season. In late October J.J. Watt would suffer a torn pectoral, which would keep Watt out of commission for the rest of the regular season. As you can imagine, the numbers would suffer greatly because of it. They would rank 26th and 19th in sacks and total tackles, respectively.
The defensive front came into the NFL Draft, in need of significant patchwork. Watt is still arguably the biggest player on this team let alone the defense. However, Watt’s health issues have not gotten any better over the last four seasons, having played the full 16 game slate just once. That’s quite a sharp decline when you consider in Watts first five seasons with the Texans, he did not miss a regular-season game.
Snaring Blacklock with the 40th selection you could argue was minor theft, given his potential. After missing all of the 2018 season because of an ACL tear, Blacklock would return with his best year at TCU. Along with besting his defensive totals from 2017, he would be named to the first-team All-Big 12.
He Has good movement for a player that weighs over 300 pounds. Blacklock’s first step is good enough, where he can get the jump on opposing offensive lineman. Has the ability to play at several different positions on the defensive line, when called upon. With the loss of D.J. Reader to free agency this off-season, Blacklock should look to fill that hole left at defensive tackle.
Draft Grade: A
Round 3, Pick 90: Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
The Texans added to the defensive haul, selecting Greenard the edge rusher out of Florida. Greenard burst onto the scene in 2019, which was his lone season with the Gators. His 10 sacks along with 52 sack yards were first and fifth-best in the SEC. One of the more talented edge rushers in the draft, Greenard has great burst and quickness.
Brennan Scarlett currently holds down the strong side linebacker spot. Scarlett would have a solid 2019 season, contributing 51 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 10 games started. However, Scarlett is going to be paid $1,125.000 in base salary for 2020, after which point he will be without a contract.
Draft Grade B+
Round 4, Pick 126: Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina
Tunsil will be around for the next four seasons, after signing a three-year extension for $66 million ($50 million of which is guaranteed.) After firing his agent Jimmy Sexton in March, Tunsil would do a masterful job in maximizing his contract leverage.
Heck is well versed at playing both the right and left tackle spots, having split his time at each position over the past two seasons at North Carolina. One admirable trait Heck brings to the table is his dependability. In his last three seasons with the Tarheels, he would play all but one regular-season game. That missed game, in fact, was down to a broken hand suffered in his junior season against Wake Forest, he would only need the one-week hiatus before returning to action.
Draft Grade: B-
Round 4, Pick 141: John Reid, CB, Penn State
In early April it was announced, Bradley Roby would be kept on the club for another three seasons at $36 million. However, Gareon Conley will be playing out the last year of his current contract, before he becomes a free agent in 2021. Following his mid-season trade, last season from the then Oakland Raiders, Conley added 27 combined tackles in the short eight-game stint with Houston.
The Texans realizing they needed to shore up the cornerback depth, bring in Reid a fifth-year senior out of Penn State. Having played five seasons in the Big 10, Reid has certainly seen his fair share of quality NFL ready receivers. Reid was ranked No. 11 all-time in pass breaks among Nittany Lions. Last season he would contribute seven tackles on the road against Iowa.
Draft Grade: B
Round 5, Pick 171: Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island
The loss of DeAndre Hopkins left a huge hole at the Texans wide receiver position. However, in an attempt to try and best refill the void left by Hopkins, Brandin Cooks would be brought over through a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, giving up a second-rounder in the process. While Cooks isn’t on the level of a Hopkins, he is still a very solid weapon that should be able to help Deshaun Watson. They would also sign Randall Cobb to a three year 27 million dollar contract. Cobb contributed over 800 yards and three touchdown receptions last season with the Dallas Cowboys.
Brings a lot of attractive attributes, including good size, quickness, and height. Coulter’s receiving totals rapidly increased over his three seasons at Rhode Island, jumping from 42 receptions and just over 600 yards in 2018 to 72 receptions and over 1,000 yards in 2019. Caught eight of his 12 touchdowns last season with the Rams.
Draft Grade: B
The Texans would make the most of their five selections. They would have just one main focus entering the event, which was to help renew the teams pass rush. And I feel they were able to accomplish that feat, although time will certainly tell. Blacklock should be able to work himself into a day one starting role with the loss of Reader. With the Texans uncertainty at the cornerback position after 2020, picking up Reid could fill that need.
Draft Grade: B+
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