CB, OT should be targets early

Lance Zierlein's Texans draft primer

Andre Dillard. Cody Stoots/SportsMap

The Houston Texans are in a precarious spot because they have quality core players on the roster, but they are dangerously low in talent and/or depth at offensive tackle and at cornerback. While we're at it, they need more depth at wide receiver and running back to help fortify the offense's explosiveness.

With all of that said, let's take a look at what you need to know headed into the draft.

Needs

Offensive line: The Texans need at least one and maybe two tackles in this draft. The supply doesn't match the demand for the left tackle spot so the Texans will need to consider any good tackle, right or left, when they get their shots. The Texans could also look for more competition at both guard and center in this draft.

Cornerback: Brien Boddy-Calhoun, Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are all on one-year deals so there is a chance that all three will be gone next year - along with Aaron Colvin if he doesn't get things figured out. The Texans may have to address cornerback more than once in this draft and keep firing into next year.

Running back: Lamar Miller has done fine, but he's playing at a replaceable level and the Texans could look to add running back depth to compete with both Miller and D'Onta Foreman for carries. Foreman will be on a short leash this year and will need to show and prove or he could be gone after the year.

Wide receiver: Based upon the amount of private visits and the interest level the Texans have shown at the wide receiver position, it is obvious that position will be targeted. Will Fuller can't stay on the field and KeKe Coutee's soft tissue injury wouldn't heal properly. The Texans will be looking for depth that could turn into a future starter, but it may not be until later in the draft.

Defensive line: There is a belief in league circles that Jadeveon Clowney could be on the trade block as you read this. If that is the case, the Texans will absolutely need to be prepared to look at depth/talent on the edge.

Round 1 targets

Andre Dillard, LT, Washington State: The most gifted left tackle in this draft will likely go way before the Texans pick and I don't expect them to trade away their valuable picks to get their hands on him unless he drops far enough to where it may cost them a future third next year.

Greg Little, LT, Ole Miss: He's solid and a multi-year starter in the difficult SEC West, but he's below average in the running game and might be more of an early second round talent. The value of left tackle could push him up.

Kaleb McGary, RT, Washington: He check the traits boxes and the toughness that the Texans will covet under GM Brian Gaine and head coach Bill O'Brien. This might be a shade early for him, but there are teams who like his potential and toughness.

Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas St: Risner has played right tackle and center and should have no problem moving to guard if needed. Because Risner is so versatile and so consistent, he could find his way into the first. I'm higher on Risner than most.

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: Murphy doesn't have great length or speed (4.55 forty) so I struggle with whether or not to put him as a target for the Texans, but he's ultra-competitive and has 20 passes defensed including 6 INTs in just 20 career games.

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: He's long and fast and has terrific ball skills, but he's slender and he's not the toughest tackler out there. Some teams worry that Greedy seemed to shut down the competitiveness late in the season.

Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple: He is a graduate transfer from Presbyterian who went to Temple for his last year and immediately was given a single digit number in the off-season representing the toughest players on the team. He's a former championship wrestler with great strength and physicality but average speed. He fits the personality the Texans are looking for.

Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky: If the Texans traded back, Johnson could be a target. He's big, long and fast and showed the ability to get into the receiver's face in press and choke them off at the snap. He struggled to find the football and gave up too many touchdowns over two years, but some defensive back coaches believe that is coachable and they see Johnson has a high upside talent. He's got the traits that the Texans will typically covet at that position.

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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