Del Aware

Del Olaleye: Several ways to watch the NFL draft if your team does not have a pick

Brian Gaine might as well be playing golf.

I’m in the middle of cutting the cord. I’m breaking away from one of the main pay for TV services. “Bless up” for free trials. I’ll document my experiences next week but the whole thing got me thinking about how I would watch the NFL draft. More specifically, how I would watch the NFL draft without a first round pick. Which is the position Texans fans find themselves in. There will be a five-hour party celebrating the NFL on Thursday and you’re not even invited. The Texans disinvited themselves due to a number of moves we don’t need to get into. We all know how Thursday came to be. There are plenty of ways to attack Thursday. Rick Smith isn’t available for you to kick around anymore and Brian Gaine has the night off but I have your draft primer here.

Don’t Watch:

Depending on who you are this may be the most attractive of all the options. You know your team doesn’t have a pick. Any draft party involving Texans fans will just be sad. Ignore those invites and keep your television on TNT. The Celtics have a chance to close out the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 6. The old standby Netflix is a legit option as well (check out Dark if you haven’t seen it). If you’re looking to get out of the house, Avengers: Infinity War will be theaters that night. The NFL doesn’t run your life. Well at least it shouldn’t in late April. Watch a top 5 comic book movie of all time. Yes I’ve seen it and Josh Brolin is great as Thanos by the way.

Stress Free Watch:

No anticipation. No stress. No cares. Watch the draft to enjoy the spectacle. Your team doesn’t have a first round pick, so they can’t piss you off by picking a guy you don’t want. Appreciate the old standards. You know Roger Goodell is going to get booed. Somehow, someway some kid will be convinced by his dad that if their favorite team drafts “insert player name” it will be the worst mistake the franchise has ever made. Cue that kid’s favorite team taking that aforementioned player and his apoplectic response. Don’t forget the draft staple of a team making the “wrong” choice which leads to fan cam. I didn’t say “sad fan cam” because I don’t think I’d describe this emotion as sad . Fans aren’t the only ones who can be memorable. I doubt we’ll ever get another troll like Cowboys great Drew Pearson but we can always hope. The draft can entertain even if your team doesn’t pick till late Friday.

Hate Watch:

Without a first round pick your team can’t possibly screw up but someone else can. We won’t know if anyone has actually screwed up for months or years but that won’t stop instant overreactions. Fans at the draft always want skill positions players or at least someone from a school they have heard of. For maximum outrage hope for a defensive lineman or a small-school offensive lineman to get picked when a player of need at a skill position is on the board. I enjoy a team picking a player that wasn’t on Kiper or McShay’s board at the team’s spot. Not because the team could be wrong but because I get to watch two draft experts explain how they got it wrong. That’s my own personal hate watch.

Twitter Watch:

For those familiar with the twitter search feature that should make an entertaining night for you. You’ve got the obvious follows like Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer but simply entering the name of a player and the team they were drafted by will get you reactions that run the gamut from excited to furious. If you like reading tweets that call an NFL decision maker a “F--- Boy” then Thursday night is the night for you.


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Let's make a deal. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Houston Texans have a significant decision to make regarding their franchise star, J.J. Watt. The Texans are 1-6 through the first seven games of the season, and the next few years of the franchise seem a bit bleak.

No player or staff member has encapsulated Houston's frustration quite like Watt. Excluding the Texans' victory over the Jaguars, the future Hall of Famer has looked miserable in every post-game press conference. Each week, it's the constant look of despair. And in hindsight, closing the chapter on Watt's career in Houston seems to be best for both parties.

At 31-years-old, the All-Pro defensive tackle should be spending the twilight of his career competing for Super Bowls — not playing for a team who is clearly about to hit the reset button at the conclusion of this season.

By departing from Watt, it would allow the Texans to get a jumpstart on their rebuilding project — one that has the potential to bring back quality draft picks, a young prospect, and clear close to $20 million in cap space.

If they decide not to move on from Watt, the Texans risk putting themselves in a situation where they may miss out on obtaining higher draft picks and strapped for cash heading into the 2021 free agency market. And with one year left on his contract following 2020, the Texans also risk losing leverage in a potential deal if forced into trading Watt come next season.

At this stage of his career, the Texans may not receive a haul for Watt's services but could maximize his trade value by dealing him to a championship-contending team. A move that would give Watt the best chances of adding a championship title to his luxurious resume in return.

With the future of the franchise in mind, here are three potential trade ideas that would be best if the Texans are truly considering moving on from Watt.

Watt returns home to Wisconsin and joins the Packers

Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick and LB Kamal Martin

Packer receive: J.J. Watt

The Green Bay Packers are one of a handful of teams who has a realistic chance to stamp their ticket to Super Bowl LV. Following a win over the Texans on Sunday, the Packers stand first in the NFC North with a 5-1 record and possess one of the NFL's best offensive teams.

Green Bay's offense can compete in a shootout with just about any team in the league, but their defense may be the reason why they fall short of representing the NFC in Tampa Bay come February. They have only accumulated a total of 10 quarterback hits and are currently 30th in the league in pass rush through the first six games. The Packers' lack of ability to get to the opposing team's quarterback could be an immense problem during a playoff game that could feature Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

So what do the Packers have to lose by acquiring their Wisconsin native?

The addition of Watt would allow the Packers to add one of the best pass rushers of all-time. Although Watt is nowhere near the player that finished second behind Aaron Rogers for league MVP honors in 2015, he has illustrated that he is still a disruptive defensive lineman five years later.

Through the first seven games, Watt has accounted for 11 pressures, six quarterback hits and three sacks — which would make him Green Bay's second most reliable pass rusher trailing only Za'Darius Smith.

For the Texans, receiving a first-round pick for Watt is self-explanatory and would be the most suitable return for the aging star. However, for a team that is building for the future, the Texans should consider obtaining a young and raw prospect to evaluate.

Kamal Martin, a fifth-round draft selection in 2020, made his NFL debut against the Texans on Sunday and left an exceptional first impression. He recorded six tackles and one tackle for loss in 29 snaps inside NRG Stadium, and could be a building block should the Texans begin to make modifications to their linebacking corps.

Seattle sends multiple draft picks for Watt

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and fourth-round pick

Seahawks receive: J.J. Watt

If the Packers do not take advantage of improving their pass rush with Watt — perhaps the Seattle Seahawks will. Both NFC teams mirror each other with a high-powered offense, but a feeble defense may hinder one another from advancing to the Super Bowl. In a deal for Watt to the Seahawks, the Texans would miss out on the chance to acquire a first-rounder, but obtaining multiple picks would be just as prominent.

Seattle's general manager John Schneider is no stranger to taking a significant risk, and appears willing to make any moves that will put his organization closer to their long-overdue second title with Russell Wilson. Perhaps, Watt would be that missing key.

The Seahawks are pretty solid at stopping the run but need a tremendous upgrade in their pass defense. Seattle has given up the second-most passing yards on the season (2,212), and the reason seems to be their inability to get to the quarterback. Seattle has only implemented pressure to the opposing team's quarterback on 20.1% of their dropbacks, while only recording a total of nine sacks.

The Seahawks pass defense may not become elite, but the disruption of Watt on their defensive line could be enough to limit the devastation they have experienced through the first seven weeks of the season.

Watt to the Big Easy for Brees' last dance

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and Marcus Davenport

Saints receive: J.J. Watt

Seven weeks into the season, the New Orleans Saints are not sitting near the top of the NFC nor their division when compared to recent years. A bevy of injuries have been attributed to their minor decline this season — mainly to their All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas.

However, the Saints have prevailed through the injury bug to march their way to a 4-2 record. If New Orleans can get healthy during the second half of the season, they will be in the running to represent the NFC in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV. But unlike the Packers and Seahawks, this could be the Saints last chance to recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy in what is likely Drew Brees' last dance.

The addition of Watt to the Saints would give general manager Mickey Loomis a chance to create the most disruptive defensive line in the league. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen would be able to shift the five-time Pro-Bowler to the interior — allowing the Saints to trot out a d-line of Watt, Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson.

This trade would give Watt arguably the most help he has ever had on the defensive line — which would allow New Orleans to maximize what is left of his career.

This trade would have the Texans missing out on obtaining a first-rounder, but a sound-round pick would be just as valuable for Watt. However, Houston should consider adding a young prospect in a potential swap, and Marcus Davenport would be their best return.

Drafted in 2018, Davenport is a former first-round talent who can help transition the Texans into the post-Watt era. He has showed promise of a bright future through his first two seasons, but injuries have prevented the 24-year-old prodigy of San Antonio from establishing himself as one of the league's top young talents.

This season, elbow and toe injuries have limited Davenport to just a pair of games in 2020. Although there is an immense concern regarding Davenport's health, the Texans cannot pass on adding a player who has already registered 11.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits through his first 28 career games.

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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