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.

Eric Reid - First off, Reid should already be signed. The Texans could benefit from picking up Reid and pairing him with his little brother, Justin, in Houston. Instant chemistry among the safety room and the trio of the Reids with Tashaun Gipson could alleviate some of the stress put on the cornerbacks, specifically in big dime situations. Reid is coming off a season in which he had 130 tackles, 7 TFLs, 6 PDs, 5 QB hits, 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Who wouldn't want to add that type of production to their defense, at a discount and he'd get to player with his little brother! Make it happen.
Kelvin Beachum - Here's another player that doesn't fit the Texans' positional parameters but in the late stages of free agency you have to throw all of that out of the window and find guys that can make the team better. I'm not sure that Beachum would come to Houston on a deal that would make him a backup, but if the Texans could persuade him, it'd make a lot of sense. O'Brien has rolled the dice on a lot of injury-prone players at key positions. He won't be able to use injuries as an excuse in 2020. That being said, he'll need to have insurances at key position. While the Texans wisely brought back Roderick Johnson, to continue to develop as a swing tackle, they would be prudent to add a vet like Beachum that could step up at left tackle if something were to happen to Tunsil.
Kamalei Correa - If Houston decides not to add Griffin or Golden, then Correa would be a low-cost signing that could provide added depth. At only 26 years of age, Correa could be a Texans' signing in the mode of when they added a young, John Simon. Correa had 3.5 sacks in 2018 with only four starts in 13 games and then five sacks last season in only five starts and 16 games. Correa, combined with Martin would give the Texans two situational pass rushers to throw in the mix with Mercilus to keep pressure on opposing defenses.
Josh Gordon - I know, I know...how many chances does one guy get. Houston has already decided to roll the dice at the wide receiver position this year. They traded away one of the most durable wideouts in the NFL, DeAndre Hopkins, while keeping one of the most injury-prone, Will Fuller. Then they signed and/or traded for two other receivers that have concerns surrounding their future durability. They might as well take a shot at another speedster with major concerns surrounding their ability to stay on the field. Gordon at 6'3 - 225 would replace the size in the offense while keeping the Nascar feel to the attack. Gordon has played for Bill Belichick in New England, so O'Brien could get the intel he needs to make the move. Gordon is also a native of Houston, Texas. Let the prodigal son return.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.


Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.


RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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