Houston could still bolster their roster after the NFL Draft
10 NFL free agents still available for the Texans
The 2020 NFL Draft is finally upon us. Bill O'Brien and his Houston Texans aren't scheduled to have a selection in the first round, which kicks off Thursday, April 23rd. Houston is on the clock for two picks on Friday and five on Saturday, albeit, three of those five picks fall within the last 15 picks of the draft.
Due to the global pandemic and the unusual circumstances that comes with it, O'Brien feels that his team may be best suited looking towards veterans to improve the roster. NFL teams don't know how much of their offseason workouts, camps, etc will be altered or even cancelled. The situation could lead to rookies being further behind than usual and for many it may result in a lost year.
While there's truth to that, it appears that O'Brien values veterans over draft picks, regardless, and the way things have unfolded in 2020 just plays into his modus operandi.
Houston isn't done adding veteran players. Why wouldn't Houston just add the veterans now, as it would alleviate some of the pressure of drafting at positions of need? Well, the Texans allowed DJ Reader to leave in free agency for a massive contract. Houston doesn't have a lot of draft picks in 2021, as well as this week's draft. DJ Reader should provide a high compensatory pick for Houston next year. The Texans realize this and that's why they'll wait until after the draft to add veterans that won't affect the comp formula.
O'Brien has been under severe scrutiny these last couple of months. He understands that he needs to have success this season. Here's 10 players that could help solidify the roster and keep his plans on track.
Everson Griffin - He's 32 years old and may be open to a one-year deal. Griffin has played in either 15 or 16 games in 8 of his last 9 seasons. The one exception was 2018 when he played in 11 games. He's a defensive end that's still putting up impressive stats. Last season he had 24 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks. JJ Watt has missed more than half of the games in three of his last four seasons. Whitney Mercilus showed last year that he needs to have other talented pass rushers around him or he'll vanish. Jacob Martin flashed as a situational pass rusher. Charles Omenihu should take another step forward and Duke Ejiofor is a wildcard. While they have options that could lift the pass rush in the front seven, O'Brien and new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver don't have the luxury of banking on that growth.
Cordy Glenn - When Glenn was coming out of college, most people thought he'd have to kick inside to guard. I loved him at offensive tackle and believed that would be his position in the NFL. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and became their left tackle. Glenn will turn 31 this year and has missed time in each of his last four seasons with injuries. After Glenn was traded from Buffalo to Cincinnati, he finally kicked inside to guard. Injury led to him moving back to offensive tackle, but I believe he'd be a solid addition at guard for the Houston Texans. O'Brien loves massive linemen and Glenn fits the bill at 6'6 350 pounds with arms that are almost 36". The Texans offensive line has come a long way in recent years and Glenn would finish off a line that includes Laremy Tunsil, Max Scharping, Nick Martin and Tytus Howard. Zach Fulton could be cut to free up $7 million in cap space.
Markus Golden - This pass rusher is only 29 years old and is coming off another solid season in which he put up 72 tackles with 27 QB hits, 13 TFLs and 10 sacks for the New York Giants. It wasn't his first big season in the NFL. Before two down years in 2017 and 2018 in which he only played 15 games total and recorded 2.5 sacks over those seasons, he displayed his potential in 2016. It was his second season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 when he put up 51 tackles, 22 QB hits, 16 TFLs and 12.5 sacks.
Damon Harrison - Timmy Jernigan isn't going to replace DJ Reader. However, adding Jernigan with Damon "Snacks" Harrison onto a line with JJ Watt, Angelo Blackson, Brandon Dunn, Omenihu and Carlos Watkins, would definitely suffice. Much like with Griffin, Harrison hasn't missed many games, despite being 31 years old. My "Late Hits" co-host on ESPN Houston 97.5, Patrick Creighton has had the inside track on the Texans/Snacks negotiations. He's reported that Houston is leery on "Snacks" desire to play another season and aren't willing to meet his contract demands. It'll be interesting to see if his price drops after the NFL Draft and if Houston re-opens negotiations.
Ross Cockrell - Let me start off by saying that Cockrell doesn't fit the Texans postional parameters with 4.6 speed and short arms. His next team would also be his fifth team in his sixth season in which he played. Houston brought back Bradley Roby, Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines to go with Gareon Conley and Lonnie Johnson Jr. The group is ok. Cockrell gives them another veteran in the mix in case there's injury, falloff in play or lack of development. Cockrell has averaged 11 pass defensed and two interceptions over his last four seasons played.
Nigel Bradham - He'll turn 31 years old this year but can still cover ground from the linebacker position. It's a passing league, now more than ever. In a conference with the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, Houston needs to have multiple linebackers that can cover in space. Bradham would give Houston another linebacker to pair with Zach Cunningham to help cover tight ends, running backs out of the backfield, etc. I don't believe anyone in Houston wants to see Benardrick McKinney chasing in coverage any longer. If Houston decides to keep McKinney instead of freeing up his contract by trading on draft day for a pick, McKinney could still provide his role as a force in the running game.