Grades are for classrooms, this is football.
Best and worst case scenarios for the 2019 Texans draft class
The Texans have themselves a draft class. Most fans wanted the team to draft tackles and help in the secondary and they did just that. Here is my assessment of the draft class void of grades. This isn't a classroom.
Before you read my assessment I encourage you to get to know the Texans draft class.
Tytus Howard - OT Alabama State - 1st round - 23rd overall
Contrary to my Twitter feed I don't hate this pick nor do I believe Tytus Howard will be bad. What I came to feel about this pick is he doesn't seem like he can help the Texans this season as much as other players potentially could have helped.
Andre Dillard is a better player right now, it would seem. The Eagles snatched him out from under the Texans if the rumors are true they coveted Dillard. Do I believe they could end up being the same level of talent eventually? I do. The more I read from Howard, the more draft people saw him as a diamond in the rough. It takes time to polish it up so it would seem Julién Davenport gets the first crack at left tackle with a healthy lead.
I am sure Howard was doubted as a quarterback nicknamed "Weenie" and then a tight end and then ultimately the tackle charged with protecting whoever was slinging the ball at Alabama State. He comes to the Texans as one of the most critical but also critically panned draft picks in Texans history. Hopefully he turns out to be one of the best or Deshaun Watson could be in trouble.
Best case scenario: Duane Brown 2.0 eventually
Worst case scenario: Julién Davenport 2.0
Lonnie Johnson - CB Kentucky - 2nd round - 54th overall
Houston goes corner— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) April 27, 2019
Texans pick Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson pic.twitter.com/ikmYKe0XP2
Lonnie Johnson is one of Jalen Ramsey's favorite cornerbacks. That's a good start. He reached out to Ramsey for help at playing the position. I like the initiative and I like the physical tools even more. Long and rough with pass catchers and no fear of bringing the hurt.
Johnson in all likelihood shouldn't learn too many names in the cornerbacks room. There is a good chance he is one of the senior members of the group in a couple of years. The pedigree is far from a Kentucky standout. Johnson was recruited by Ohio State, you know the school where Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore plied their trade before a first round selection. He didn't qualify because of grades. When he was leaving his junior college Georgia wanted him.
This feels like the pick that has to pay off for the Texans to start their trek back to being comfortable in the defensive backfield.
Best case scenario: Richard Sherman lite eventually
Worst case scenario: Julian Wilson
Max Scharping - OT Northern Illinois - 2nd round - 55th overall
Texans make their second consecutive selection— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) April 27, 2019
Northern Illinois OL Max Scharping ends up in Houston pic.twitter.com/42lCM0lRq2
He was the highest rated tackle on a lot of rankings when the Texans selected him. A traditional grinder who takes care of his business and does what he is asked. This is evidenced by playing multiple spots as well as starting all his games in college. This, unlike the Howard pick, was best tackle available as far as most people were concerned.
The tremendous amount of experience is a huge positive. The Texans love players who can play lots of positions and this guy is no different. He played left tackle but it would seem he would project as a swing/backup this year behind Seantrell Henderson with hopes he could take over the position should Henderson get hurt in 2019 or move on after the season.
Best case scenario: Marcus Gilbert with more consistency
Worst case scenario: Duke Robinson
Kahale Warring - TE San Diego State - 3rd round - 86th overall
Boom or bust is the potential here. I also don't believe he can truly contribute this year. He is so new to football and experience works against him right now but in the long-term he could benefit from it. There likely aren't as many bad habits to fix with someone who hasn't had a lot of reps compared to some of his peers.
He will have to continue to be an athlete while also proving his toughness in the run game. If that means adding some weight, he can't lose his incredible athleticism. He was close to 8th overall pick T.J. Hockenson in a lot of combine drills.
Combining him with Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins allows Bill O'Brien to play the matchup game to end and even will allow him to get closer to the two tight end sets he implemented in New England when he was the offensive coordinator in 2011. They don't have to replicate that success, but making teams worry about every tight end in a totally different way is a nice problem to make the defenses have.
Best case scenario: Todd Heap eventually
Worst case scenario: He ends up back playing water polo
Charles Omenihu - DE Texas - 5th round - 161st overall
I love this pick. The Texans have hit in the late rounds more than a few times with a defensive lineman under Bill O'Brien. Christian Covington, D.J. Reader, and Carlos Watkins have all ended up as rotation help as a late-round pick.
Omenihu terrorized some of the best offenses in the Big 12 including a talented Oklahoma team. He has plenty of sacks and tackles for a loss. It is a crowded defensive line room but draft picks have an easier time sticking than other guys who don't have that investment. He needs to prove consistency to stick.
Best case scenario: Rotational player for four years
Worst case scenario: Lost in the shuffle a la Jeoffrey Pagan
Xavier Crawford - CB Central Michigan - 6th round - 195th overall
INTERCEPTION! Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford (@XCrawford_5) picks off Kentucky QB Terry Wilson. He read the pass and stayed in bounds to give the ball back to the Chippewas. pic.twitter.com/izW6qKBEqb— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) September 1, 2018
This dude was fast at his pro day. He ran a 4.3 flat though it sounded like the Texans clocked him at 4.37 but still that's fast. He will be asked to compete for a roster spot at a position that needs someone like him but has a lot of players ahead of him.
He will have to contribute on special teams before we see what he is made of at cornerback. He has an uphill battle with some solid special teams players, a healthy Aaron Colvin, and some veterans in front of him right now.
Best case scenario: Special teams and some slot in 2019 and getting more over time
Worst case scenario: Practice squad in 2019
Cullen Gillaspia - FB Texas A&M - 7th round - 220th overall
With 30 seconds left and the total sitting at the closing number (58 points) Texas A&M handed the ball off to Cullen Gillaspia.— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 1, 2019
Fun fact about Cullen Gillaspia:
HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR UNDER BETSpic.twitter.com/5qoRAsuPH7
A special teams demon who now plays fullback. He is a freak athlete. Had he been at the combine he would have been close to some top numbers in the shuttle and 3-cone drills. If he can develop as a fullback there is a spot for him on this team.
Best case scenario: Fullback for the team and special teams demon
Worse case scenario: Cut
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch - Johnnie Dixon - Ohio State
He can scoot and can return kickoffs. He could have a chance to push for a practice squad spot with the hopes to eventually compete on the roster. A productive player when he finally got on the field for Ohio State. Might need to play inside more than outside but the versatility never hurt a Texans prospect.
Ultimately I feel like this draft class has the potential to be the 2006 draft class remade if they hit to a large degree. HUGE if, sure but stay with me here. Tytus Howard might never make anyone happy but could be productive like Mario Williams was throughout his Houston career. Lonnie Johnson could be the DeMeco Ryans if he develops with his gifts. Max Scharping could be the Eric Winston player here with a career initially as backup and then starter. Of course Owen Daniels is Kahale Warring. David Anderson was a specialist for those Texans teams and Cullen Gillaspia is the same with this class.
There is also heavy bust potential and could challenge the 2005 class as the worst in team history if things go wrong. Especially considering how much the current Texans need these picks at these positions to pay off.
This also concludes the Duane Brown trade as the pick used on Lonnie Johnson was acquired via that trade. The Seahawks ended up with Brown, who has since been an All-Pro and Shaquem Griffin while the Texans have Johnson and Martinas Rankin from last year's draft to show for the move. The team never should've traded Brown and the offensive line and recent selections would look so different. Unfortunately he was moved and the quest to replace him has hopefully come to an end.
Brian Gaine CRUSHED the draft last year. He deserves the absolute benefit of the doubt with this class. Almost all these players could end up being important just like the majority of last year's class turned out to be. They don't have to be stars this year. Just contribute and we can all call it a win.