Why Houston fans are on board with NFL Draft expert’s surprising pick for Texans

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NFL.com draft evaluator Lance Zierlein released his first mock draft of the season this week, and he has the Texans going defense with the 23rd overall pick.

Zierlein said DeMeco Ryans' comments about beefing up the d-line factored into his pick for Houston. With that in mind, he selected Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson to be drafted by Houston in the first round.

While many Texans fans were happy with this selection, it does raise some questions about what Houston will do in free agency. If the Texans elect to re-sign DE Jonathan Greenard after his 12.5 sack season, certainly that could change Zierlein's stance on the matter.

While LZ is a fan of Greenard's game, his injury history does raise some concerns, as he hasn't played a full season so far in his 4-year career. Add that to the massive salary he is going to command this season, and you have some legit reasons to let Greenard walk, and draft a young pass rusher with a much cheaper contract.

As mentioned above, free agency will have an impact on what every team does in the draft. What if the Texans let TE Dalton Schultz and Greenard leave in free agency, and instead use that money to sign the best player on the market, Chiefs' all-world defensive lineman, Chris Jones.

In theory, Houston could use the money saved on Greenard and Schultz to pay Jones around $24 million/year to wreak havoc on the d-line, and draft a player like Chop Robinson to replace Greenard.

Don't miss the video above as John Granato and Lance Zierlein break it all down!

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Raners defeat the Astros, 4-2. Composite Getty Image.

Josh Smith homered twice with four RBIs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Smith had a two-run shot in the first and added another one with two outs in the eighth to push the lead to 4-1. It’s the first multi-homer game of the 26-year-old’s career.

The Rangers won the last two games of the series after dropping Friday’s opener 6-3. They also got a 2-1 victory Saturday thanks to Nathaniel Lowe’s RBI single in the 10th inning.

Jake Meyers cut the lead to 1 with a solo home run in the third but the Astros went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position to fall to 50-46 entering the All-Star break.

Texas starter Max Scherzer allowed four hits and a run with six strikeouts in four-plus innings in his fifth start of the season.

Jon Singleton walked before a single by Jeremy Peña with no outs in the ninth. There was one out in the inning when Singleton scored on a groundout by Joey Loperfido to cut the lead to 4-2. Trey Cabbage grounded out to end it and give Kirby Yates his 16th save.

Ronel Blanco (9-4) permitted two hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings. He settled down after his tough first inning and retired the last 12 batters he faced.

Marcus Semien singled to start the game but was out at second when Corey Seager grounded into a foreceout. Smith gave the Rangers an early lead with his towering shot to the second deck to make it 2-0.

Meyers opened Houston’s third with a shot to the seats in left field to cut the lead to 2-1. Jose Altuve singled with two outs and stole second base but Scherzer struck out Alex Bregman for the third out.

The Astros had a shot to tie it or take the lead in the fifth. Peña and Meyers both singled before Loperfido walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning and chase Scherzer. Josh Sborz (2-0) took over and escaped the jam by striking out Mauricio Dubón before retiring Altuve on a pop up and Bregman on a groundout to end the inning.

Seager walked with two outs in the eighth before Smith connected again to give him 10 home runs this season.

Altuve reached on a fielding error by Smith with one out in the eighth before Bregman singled off José Leclerc. Jacob Latz took over and struck out Yordan Alvarez before Yainer Diaz grounded out to leave Houston emptyhanded again.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (fractured right wrist) swung 15 times off a tee using a regular bat Sunday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would continue increasing his activity during the break as he nears a rehabilitation assignment.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) threw a bullpen session of 25 pitches Sunday. Manager Joe Espada said he looked “really good” and would throw another bullpen session during the break.

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