The Z-Report

Lance Zierlein: Potential targets for Texans in 3rd/4th round

There's a good chance the Texans will have to trade up to get a tackle like Joe Noteboom. Reese's Senior Bowl/Twitter

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. It will be a long wait for Texans fans as they look for the newest group of reinforcements for a team that has some very clear holes to try to fill without the benefit of a 1st or 2nd round pick. However, there are plenty of starters around the league who have come from the third and even the fourth round.

We all know that the offensive line, tight end, and the secondary are the positions most in need of help, so let’s take a look at players the Texans could be considering with their three picks in the third round and their lone pick in the fourth.

Third Round: (68), (80), (98)

Fourth Round: (103)

Joe Noteboom, OT, TCU: Noteboom has the physical traits the Texans will covet and his Senior Bowl and Combine were much better than his 2017 tape. He’s a fast-riser in a weak tackle class and the Texans may have to trade into the second round to land him. It’s also worth noting that the Texans coached him at the Senior Bowl. (Round 2)

Brian O’Neil, OT, Pitt: Athletic, but lacking in strength, O’Neil is an “upside” tackle who would have been a better fit for Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme running game. The Texans could view him as a future starter if they believe he can carry more weight and strength. (Rounds 2-3)

Jemarco Jones, OT, Ohio State: Jones isn’t always pretty, but he gets guys blocked. His workout was really disappointing which could cause the Texans to question whether or not they take him. (Rounds 2-3)

Orlando Brown, OT, OU: Brown’s Combine performance was atrocious, but he was a little better at his pro day. He’s massive and finds ways to get guys blocked, but will the Texans take a chance on such a marginal athlete? Brown understands how to use his long arms and is a nasty guy as a blocker. (3rd)

Braden Smith, OG, Auburn: Built like a weight room warrior, Smith is a big, strong guard who has heads-up power but can be inconsistent against athletic defensive tackles. I feel like he’s a third or fourth round type, but he’s more likely to be drafted late second or early in the third. He could challenge for a role early on.

Will Richardson, OT/OG, N.C. State: He’s got a history of some character issues off the field which is likely to hurt his stock, so he might still be there for the Texans in the fourth round, but I’m not sure he would be on their board. Richardson is well-coached, but does have some holes to work on his pass protection. (4th)

Jamil Demby, OT/OG, Maine: While the Texans didn’t coach him, Demby was at the Senior Bowl and did a very nice job. He played tackle at Maine but will need to bump inside to guard. What makes Demby appealing in the fourth round is that he has experience at tackle and will be an above average pass protector at guard. (4th)

Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech: Tremendous muscular build, but he played much better in 2016 than 2017. He’s got good body control and hands and can control players in front of him, but he’s a little limited as a run blocker in space. (4th)

Tarvarius Moore, S, USM: Moore was a one-year wonder at USM, but he has some very good tape and ran a 4.32 with outstanding quickness and explosiveness at his workout. He wasn’t invited to the Combine which was a joke. He could be there in the third round a safety who can be moved around the field. (3rd)

Duke Dawson, CB, Florida: Dawson would potentially fill Kareem Jackson’s role as a slot cornerback with the ability to handle the run support. Dawson is a good man cover guy and plays with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. I’m a fan. (3rd)

Kyzir White, S, West Virginia: White is the brother of Kevin White who was a first round pick of the Bears in 2015 and he plays the game with a professional approach already. He’s big and very physical but limited in coverage. He’s more of a box safety, and some see him as a hybrid safety/linebacker. (3rd/4th)

M.J. Stewart, CB,  North Carolina: Card-carrying tough guy who makes life miserable for receivers when he’s jamming them off the line of scrimmage. He lacks speed which will hurt his draft stock, but I also think he could be a quality safety if he converts over.

Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas: One of the hot names in the draft at cornerback. Smith has great speed and pulled down 15 career interceptions. He will take his fair share of chances which could get him beat early in his career. Might have some similarities to a young A.J. Bouye. (4th)

Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford: Stanford tight ends usually play a long time in the NFL and Schultz is no exception. He’s limited as a pass-catcher, so he may not see the targets that Fiedorowicz saw, but he’s a junkyard dog as a run blocker. He would be an early starter. (3rd)

Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana: Ascending talent who is still unpolished. He has plus blocking potential, very good size and is a decent athlete who should get better as a blocker. He could slip into the third round, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him go in second. (2nd/3rd)

Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame: Smythe is another good run blocker who helped to fortify the Notre Dame rushing attack, and he could compete for a starter’s job early on. Like Schultz, he will have some limitations as a pass catcher. (4th)

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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