The first day in pads were big for a few different Texans

11 observations from Texans training camp, July 27

If you missed day two you can find them here.

First day in pads

There wasn't a ton of thumping in pads but there was some solid work. The defensive line had a solid day despite not having J.J. Watt or Jadeveon Clowney. The defensive backs and wideouts got good work in today with each other as well. The running backs had a long day with the linebackers.

Learning Lonnie

Imagine being a rookie and trying to cover DeAndre Hopkins. This rep didn't go Lonnie Johnson's way but after some quick instruction and another chance later the rookie won a rep against Hopkins via solid technique and being physical. A huge asset for Johnson is he seems to pick things up quickly.

Testing Tytus

Tytus Howard has a solid day. There were certainly some moments where he looked less than impressive but he held his own on a few different reps including a pseudo-pancake of D.J. Reader. He got a little tired and the technique was a little loose later in the practice. These early days will be huge for testing his conditioning and ultimately improving it. O'Brien noted he worked more at left guard but got some tackle work as well. Howard said he uses Matt Kalil as a resource to learn.

Key piece on the line

D.J. Reader was a terror today for all the offensive linemen. Wherever he worked he annoyed the offense. He got into the backfield more than a few times. He will be a key piece to the Texans defensive line this season. Nobody else can do his job.

Welcome to the NFL moment for Scharping

Max Scharping looks the part and he had a decent day on the offensive line. He did have some moments where he will likely want those reps back. There's plenty to work on for the second round pick but there are moments where it is clear why the Texans invested in him.

Healthy Heath

Joel Heath has been around the Texans for a few years and has been in and out of the lineup. He had a really good day Saturday and showcased his length and athleticism. There are plenty of options for the Texans to choose from on the defensive line but the numbers will start filling up quick. Heath will need to build on this day and stay healthy but he looked solid.

Tougher than college

Fullback Cullen Gillaspia had a long day. His first year playing fullback was last season for his college team Texas A&M. There were moments where he looked like he had a tough time with the strength of some of the defenders he was asked to block. He also had a few miscues in the passing game. O'Brien mentioned technique and fundamentals are an early emphasis for the younger players.

Omenihu stands out

Rookie defensive lineman Charles Omenihu stood out a few times. He flashed strength and speed on a couple of occasions. He looked like he was more ready than some for pads. I will be anxious to see a rep against Matt Kalil down the line for Omenihu to see if the veteran can use his experience to tame the young defender.

Johnnie Dixon's opportunity

​Former Ohio State wide receiver Johnnie Dixon has been stringing together solid days. He has an opportunity for this team with the final two wideout spots up for grabs and maybe some special teams action as well. He has a lot of competition but among the young wideouts he had one of the best plays of the day. He used his agility to dip away from a defender and create a ton of separation.

Play of the day

Will Fuller had a couple of plays where nobody was even close to him. He's making it look easy.

Quote of the day

Texans OL Tytus Howard

Cody Stoots

"70 yards"

Texans OL Tytus Howard when asked if he can still throw the ball far. Howard was a former high school quarterback.


Mock my Mock: 3rd edition

Photo via:Browns/Facebook

Fantasy football draft season is upon us, so we know what that means. It's time to do some mock drafts to prepare us for the drafts that really matter, and can put cash in our pockets. I wrote this column last year and it seemed to get a lot of good feedback, so why mess with a good thing?

Here's how this works. Each week I will draft a different fantasy team and I will change my draft position to highlight the types of teams one can build depending on where they are drafting. If you missed my last couple articles, you can read them below. One draft I selected from No. 1 overall (edition 1) and the other from No.7 (edition 2). You can also check out my PPR fantasy ranks.

Mock My Mock edition 1

Mock my Mock edition 2

Fantasy Football ppr rankings

I always advise people to participate in as many mocks as they can before drafting, but not everyone has the time. If that's the case for you, I'll do all the leg work participating in dozens of mock drafts, and you can sit back and learn the positives and negatives of each draft slot. These are PPR drafts, by the way. Let's get started.

For this week's exercise, I participated in a mock draft in which I drafted with the No. 12 overall pick. Keep in mind I get two picks every time the draft snakes back to me. One popular way to approach drafting from No. 12. is to draft two stud receivers right out of the gate. If I had done that, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Tyreek Hill would have been my picks. Instead, I opted for balance. I took J. Smith-Schuster and RB Nick Chubb. I really like this start. Le'Veon Bell was already gone, and I considered taking James Connor, but I like N. Chubb a lot this year, so he was my pick at RB. As far as WR, Tyreek Hill was tempting, but his off-field stuff makes me a little nervous. Odell Beckham was another player I considered, but since I had decided to draft Chubb, I didn't want to have too many Browns on my roster.

I had to wait awhile before I got to pick again and I selected one of my favorite draft targets, Chiefs RB Damien Williams. I was surprised he was still there at the back of the third round, so I was thrilled. If you've read my other draft content, you know how much I love RBs that play in Andy Reid's offenses. The guy knows how to get his backs involved in the passing game.

After the Williams pick, I wanted to add a receiver and Robert Woods was a no-brainer for me in the fourth round. I have to say, I really like this start to a team. I have 4 really good players and great balance with two RBs and two WRs. Also, notice that all four of my players are on terrific offenses. I always try to keep that in mind.

With my next pick, once again I had another long wait before I got to draft again, and I was looking for another guy I have been drafting a lot, 49ers RB Tevin Coleman. Kyle Shanahan gets the most from his RBs and Coleman has looked good so far in the preseason. Plus, Coleman is familiar with Shanahan's system since they were both together in Atlanta a few years ago.

Round 6 is where I decided to take my TE. In my last couple articles I drafted TE early with Travis Kelce in Round 2 and Zach Ertz in Round 3. This time, I wanted to wait a little longer and load up on RBs and WRs. I got TE O.J. Howard in Round 6 and I feel like that was great value. I think he'll have a big year, and TE turns into a wasteland after the Top 6 guys go off the board.

I don't think I could be any happier with the start to my team, and I have all my starters locked down except for QB. I have waited until the double digit rounds to take a QB in every mock draft I have written up, and this one is no different. My approach for the next four rounds is to add depth at RB and WR. Since I didn't love the RBs available to me in Rounds 7 and 8, I added WRs.

Panthers WR Curtis Samuel and Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders were my next two picks. Samuel is one of my favorite sleepers this year, and Sanders has looked explosive in the preseason despite coming off an Achilles injury. My next pick I used the same strategy, grabbing another sleeper WR I think can turn back the clock in WR DeSean Jackson. With my 10th round pick, I added some insurance when I drafted Chiefs RB Darwin Thompson. If Damien Williams falters, I think Thompson will be the guy for Andy Reid.

In Round 11 I finally added my QB when I selected Lamar Jackson. I love his rushing potential and I also added another QB later just in case Jackson struggles. Round 12 I took a shot on Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage. He could have a significant role in the offense, and that's good value in the 12th round.

Round 13 I grabbed Chargers RB Justin Jackson. I think he could take over the main RB job and get some goal line work if Melvin Gordon holds out all season. Finally, I drafted Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Round 14, giving me some depth behind Lamar Jackson. You won't typically see Winston go this late, but it happened in this mock.


I think this is the best team I have drafted. Picking from the No.12 spot allowed me to load up on RB and WR early, but also still come away with a TE that I'm excited about.

Here's a look at my starters.

QB (BAL) Lamar Jackson/ (TB) Jameis Winston

RB (CLE) Nick Chubb

RB (KC) Damien Williams

WR (PIT) JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR (LAR) Robert Woods

TE (TB) O.J. Howard

FLEX (SF) Tevin Coleman


WR (CAR) Curtis Samuel

WR (DEN) Emmanuel Sanders

WR (PHI) DeSean Jackson

RB (KC) Darwin Thompson

RB (MIA) Kalen Ballage

RB (LAC) Justin Jackson

Final thoughts

My QBs are a little shaky, but Lamar Jackson has a great chance to surprise this year with Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator. Roman was the OC in San Francisco when Kaepernick was the QB, so this guy knows how to work with a running QB. Winston should get a ridiculous amount of pass attempts, so he could easily be a Top 10 QB. This was one of those drafts where the player I wanted fell to me almost every time. There's not much I would change if I had to do it again. You might notice that I didn't draft Kareem Hunt to lockup the Browns backfield. I did that on purpose. With Hunt serving an 8-game suspension, I didn't want to waste a roster spot on him for half the fantasy season. Most fantasy owners will end up dropping him after two or three weeks, so I don't feel like he's a priority as the handcuff to Chubb. I hope these mock drafts help you with your drafts this season.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or listen to my radio show with Jerry Bo Sundays from 10-noon on ESPN 97.5 FM. We talk all things fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday. Also, we'll be drafting at Twin Peaks 290 this Friday night (8/23) from 7-9pm if you want to come out and grab a beer.




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