AND THE HOUSTON TEXANS SELECT...

Josh Jordan's mock draft 1.0

Josh Jordan's mock draft 1.0
Alabama RB Josh Jacobs. Photo via: Alabama/Facebook

It's that time of year again and now that the NFL Combine is over, it's time to start all the mock drafts. The Houston Texans have the 23rd pick, so let's take a look at how the draft board might stack up.

1. Arizona Cardinals- OU QB Kyler Murray

Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray

Murray is a great fit in Kingsbury's offense.

Composite photo by Brandon Strange

Kingsbury gets his QB and the Cardinals move on from Josh Rosen.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Ohio State DE Nick Bosa

49ers get some help rushing the passer, and this guy will make an immediate impact.

3. New York Jets- Kentucky Edge Josh Allen

The Jets add Josh Allen to help get after the QB.

4. Oakland Raiders- Alabama DL Quinnen Williams

Williams made a huge splash at the Combine and the Raiders take the best player on the board.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Michigan DE Rashan Gary

The Bucs need some help on the edge, and they get exactly that with Gary.

6. New York Giants- Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

Haskins is sitting there for the taking at #6.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat

The Jags need to get their defense back to dominance, and a pass rusher just might do the trick. This dude can RUN!

8. Detroit Lions- LSU LB Devin White

Matt Patricia gets a playmaker at linebacker, and he's fast too.

9. Buffalo Bills- Washington State OT Andre Dillard

The Bills have to address the offensive line and protect their young QB.

10. Denver Broncos- Florida OT Jawaan Taylor

Corner might be an option, but right tackle Jared Veldheer is a free agent in 2020, and they have to protect Flacco.

11. Cincinnati Bengals- Oklahoma OT Cody Ford

12. Green Bay Packers- Iowa TE Noah Fant

13. Miami Dolphins- Duke QB Daniel Jones

14. Atlanta Falcons- Alabama OT Jonah Williams

15. Washington Redskins- Missouri QB Drew Lock

16. Carolina Panthers- NCST OL Garrett Bradbury

17. Cleveland Browns- Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf

18. Minnesota Vikings- Michigan LB Devin Bush

19. Tennessee Titans- Clemson DL Christian Wilkins

20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown

21. Seattle Seahawks- Clemson Edge Clelin Ferrell

22. Baltimore Ravens- Ohio State WR Parris Campbell

23. Houston Texans- LSU CB Greedy Williams

The Texans would love to take an offensive tackle, but they're desperately in need of help at corner too. I believe that all the tackles worth taking will be gone by the time the Texans pick, so they get a stud corner and a steal with Williams.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Bears)- Florida State Edge Brian Burns

25. Philadelphia Eagles- Washington CB Byron Murphy

26. Indianapolis Colts- Houston DL Ed Oliver

27. Oakland Raiders (via Cowboys)- Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

28. Los Angeles Chargers- Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence

29. Kansas City Chiefs- Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin

30. Green Bay Packers (via Saints)- Kansas State OL Dalton Risner

31. Los Angeles Rams- Georgia CB Deandre Baker

32. New England Patriots- Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson


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The Astros are back in action Friday night against the A's. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Astros need to whip up on the Oakland A’s this weekend in California as they did in sweeping four from them last week at Minute Maid Park. That was the start of a homestand which ended up with seven wins in 10 games. That goes down as a successful homestand, especially since it felt like the Astros’ prior winning homestand came while Donald Trump was President (it actually started in late July). Still, 7-3 doesn’t feel like a smashing success with it ending by dropping two of three games to the lowly Los Angeles Angels.

It is not exactly with bated breath that anyone should be waiting on Jose Abreu’s return to the lineup, but it’s coming. It should not be on this road trip. After the three games with the A’s the Astros move up the coast for a big four game set with American League West leading Seattle. The M's start all right-handed pitchers. That is no time to sit Jon Singleton to see if Abreu has managed to pump a few drops of gas into his tank while spending the better part of this month at the Astros’ minor league complex. It’s not as if Singleton has been stellar since Abreu’s departure, but by comparison, he’s been Lou Gehrig-esque. The series with the Mariners isn’t make or break but the Astros are strongly advised to get at least a split. That it should be Framber Valdez starting the opener Monday night doesn’t breed tremendous confidence, coming off his meltdown outing against the Angels. Another start, another opportunity.

The Mariners are at the Nationals this weekend, starting it a mere four and a half games ahead of the Astros. In four of the five other divisions the Astros' 22-28 record would have them at least 10 games off the lead.

One step forward, two steps back

Speaking of washed-up first basemen, Joey Votto should be a future Hall of Famer. The 40-year-old Canadian is trying to make it back to the big leagues via the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays. Votto was an absolutely tremendous player with the Cincinnati Reds. As the Beastie Boys said, “Ch-check it out.” Over Jeff Bagwell’s first ten seasons with the Astros he hit .305 with a .417 on-base percentage and .552 slugging percentage, yielding a phenomenal .970 OPS. Over Votto’s first ten full seasons with the Reds: .313/.429/.540 for an exactly phenomenal .970 OPS. Where am I going with this? Read on!

Votto had phenomenal strike zone and bat control. He turned 30 during the 2013 season. That year Votto had 581 at bats. He popped out to an infielder once the entire season. Alex Bregman turned 30 the third day of this season. Bregman popped out to the shortstop four times in the Angels series. So much for Bregman’s “knob past the ball” epiphany that saw him hit three home runs over two games last week. Going into the weekend Bregman has one hit in his last 23 at bats. His season stats continue to be pitiful: a .209 batting average and .607 OPS. Bregman has only struck out once in the 23 at bats of his latest deep freeze. It’s that so much of his contract is feeble. There is a lot of season left for Bregman to build up to decent numbers, but one-third of the regular season will be complete after the Astros play the Mariners Monday night.

While Bregman’s season to date has basically been one long slump, Jose Altuve is in a funk of his own. Since blasting a homer Monday, Altuve is hitless in 12 at bats. Mini-slumps happen to everybody but Altuve’s woes trace back farther. Over his last 15 games, Altuve is batting .175. He last had more than one hit in a game May 5. He’s also drawn just two walks over those 15 games. It’s tough to ever sit Altuve, but he’s probably playing a little too much. Altuve turned 34 earlier this month. He has started 48 of the Astros 50 games at second base. Mauricio Dubon should be getting a start per week at second (and probably another at third given Bregman’s level of play). Over a full season not playing the field once per week still means 135 starts. Altuve should mix in some more at designated hitter (he has just one DH game so far this season). Wear and tear is a real thing, players don’t grow less susceptible to it as they get to their mid-30s.

King Tuck

On the flip side, Kyle Tucker! So far this season, he’s making himself as much money as Bregman is costing himself. Only Shohei Ohtani (1.069) starts the weekend action with an OPS higher than Tucker’s 1.060. The law of averages dictates that Tucker won’t finish as high as 1.060, but if he does, it would be the greatest full-length season offensive performance in Astros’ history. Jeff Bagwell posted an absurd 1.201 OPS in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign. Yordan Alvarez came in at 1.067 in his 87 games played rookie season of 2019. Lance Berkman’s 2001 was a monster. Enron Field was more hitter-friendly then than Minute Maid Park is now, but Berkman’s numbers were “Oh My Gosh!” spectacular. .331 batting average, 55 doubles (second in franchise history to Craig Biggio's 56 in 1999), 34 homers, .430 on-base percentage, .620 slugging percentage, and 1.051 OPS. And that was just Berkman’s second full season in the majors. Lance finished fifth in National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. Giant-headed Barry Bonds won MVP with his 73 home runs among other sicko stats.

* Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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