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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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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