Joel Blank: I grew up a Bucks fan but Harden is the MVP

POINT BLANK

James Harden has a great opportunity to make an MVP statement on Tuesday night when the Rockets take on "The Greek Freak" and the Milwaukee Bucks. A huge performance tonight may be enough for Harden to put a stamp on his historic season and add another MVP award to his trophy case.

Most Popular

The Texans drafted in the first round FOUR times in the past two years. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Houston Texans won last year’s NFL draft by taking quarterback and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 pick before trading up to draft defensive end and AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. third overall.

There will be a lot less excitement in Houston in this year’s draft as the Texans don’t have a first-round pick and won’t select until the 10th pick of the second round with the 42nd overall selection.

However, coach DeMeco Ryans has said that he considers the second and third rounds the “sweet spot” of the draft and is looking forward to adding more guys who can contribute to his team.

“We continue to add guys who fit the Texans’ culture,” Ryans said. “And that’s guys who are made of the right mindset, guys who have that relentless mindset, guys who are true competitors, guys who love football, guys who love pushing their teammates to be their best, guys who want to be the best at what they do. We add those type of players to our locker room, that’s how we follow up a great draft last year.”

The 42nd pick is one of nine selections the Texans have in this draft as they try to add pieces to help them take another step this year after going from worst to first in the AFC South last season.

Houston already boosted its offense this offseason with the blockbuster trade for star receiver Stefon Diggs and the deal that brought running back Joe Mixon to Houston. But Ryans said those moves won’t change the way they approach the draft.

“Just because we’ve added guys at a lot of different positions, that doesn’t stop us from evaluating every position and looking at every avenue to continue to upgrade our team and continue to get our team better,” he said. “So, for the draft process, our process will be exactly the same. Who can we add to our team that adds value to our locker room and adds value to us on the field?”

PICK ’EM

The Texans don’t have a first-round pick this season because of two trades. They shipped their own selection in the opening round at No. 27 to Arizona last year as part of the deal to trade up to nab Anderson. They also had the 23rd pick in the first round, which they received as part of the Deshaun Watson trade. They sent that pick to Minnesota last month for No. 42, a sixth-round pick this year and the Vikings’ second-round pick next year.

NEEDS

Last month the most glaring need for this team would be to add another receiver to join Nico Collins and Tank Dell. Acquiring Diggs changed that, but it still couldn’t hurt to add more talent at the position for the future.

A big need for this team is defensive tackle after both of their starters at the position from last season are no longer with the team. Sheldon Rankins signed with the Bengals this offseason and Maliek Collins was traded to San Francisco for a seventh-round draft pick.

The Texans signed former Titan Denico Autry, who had 11½ sacks last season, but could still use some depth at the position.

DON’T NEED

The Texans should be set for years at quarterback after drafting Stroud last season. Their offensive line is also solid with left tackle Laremy Tunsil and right tackle Tytus Howard leading the group.

WHEELING AND DEALING

Houston general manager Nick Caserio has shown a propensity for trading draft picks since being hired by the Texans in 2021. Of course, his biggest trade was the one that allowed them to vault up from the 12th pick to No. 3 to get Anderson, but it’s far from his only one.

Only three of the Texans’ picks in this draft were originally theirs, with the other six coming via trades. They got a sixth-round pick this year in the deal for Diggs and a seventh-round selection in the Mixon trade.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM