FALCON POINT

Fred Faour: Draft week lacks intrigue for Texans, but there is still much to be accomplished

Deshaun Watson essentially is this year's No. 1 pick. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

With the fourth pick in the 2018 draft, the Houston Texans select…

Deshaun Watson.

Draft week is upon us, and it understandably lacks the usual anticipation in Houston, as the Texans -- barring a deal -- will not pick until the third round. They traded what became the fourth overall pick this year in order to move up and select Watson last year.

Lance Zierlein wrote last week about what the Texans would do if they still had their 2018 pick. The reality is the Texans would have likely been picking second had they not made the trade for Watson. Tom Savage won all of one game as a starter.

Meanwhile, assuming he stays healthy, the Texans have a franchise quarterback for years to come, one that looks better than anything they could have drafted this year. The negative? The interest in the draft is way down.

Ordinarily, fans would be excited, hoping for an impact player who could step right in. While that conceivably could happen, it’s more likely they will add some depth players who might eventually become productive.

The obvious need is for offensive line help, but whoever they draft is unlikely to be a contributor right away. The most likely position where the Texans could get someone who could make an impact on the field next season is running back. D’Onta Foreman showed promise last year before his injury, and the Texans could easily find a player who will have similar production.

The secondary will also need to be addressed, and whatever player they get could see significant time before season’s end.

It will GM Brian Gaine’s first draft as the main man in Houston, and one can presume there will be a heavy Bill O’Brien influence as well. If Gaine and the Texans have a good draft, it will build on last year’s, which is looking very solid.

Besides offensive line, secondary and perhaps running back, the Texans could also look to tight end as well as interior defensive linemen. A project backup quarterback would not be a bad idea, either. Also, keep an eye on undrafted free agents; the Texans have historically found players there.

So while the draft itself might lack the drama of past versions, the biggest impact has already happened: Deshaun Watson. Later this week, the Texans just hope to add a few more pieces. 

 

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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