Post-draft Texans fan freak out...or not
Last week, I wrote about the Texans needing to draft more out of need as opposed to best player available. That came about after watching the roster moves they made and didn't make in free agency. Lance Zierlein brought up a good point on their morning show when he stated that by the Texans continuing to sign less free agents than they lose, it keeps them eligible for compensatory draft picks.
The draft came a few days after the article, and to form, the Texans drafted out of need instead of adding quality depth. I'd say five of their seven selections were done because of need: two offensive linemen, two defensive backs, and a tight end. Defensive end Charles Omenihu and fullback Cullen Gallaspia were guys who added depth at their positions, but weren't necessarily needs. Defensive end is a position they have decent players at, and they've never really carried a fullback. However, the fifth and seventh rounds aren't rounds you typically take quality depth guys. Those rounds are reserved for special teamers and/or taking a flyer on a guy for various reasons. Cody Stoots wrote a very good in-depth look at the Texans 2019 draft class. If you're looking for info on these guys, some film, analysis of their skillsets, and even some fun tidbits, I suggest reading his article.
What I want to focus on here are the fan freak outs. Fan reactions after drafts have always been a range of emotions. Some fans will act as if this is the worst draft class ever and the team will take years to recover. Some will think the team just drafted three future All-Pros and maybe a Hall of Famer that will lead them to several Super Bowl wins. Others will take more of a mild mannered approach. The proper response is to wait and see. Unless you're a Giants fan. In that case this year, it is totally OK to freak out and think your team has been set back several years.
I've noticed a range with Texans fans. Social media tends to bring out the worst in people, especially when it comes to sports and/or politics. Texans fan reactions have ranged from "Why did we take another project offensive linemen? We could've taken ___ instead!", to "I love this pick! I think he's going to anchor the line for years to come!," to "Meh. Let's see what they do when it's time to play."
I must say, I'm pretty damn proud of Texans fans this year for not going too overboard. Taking the wait and see approach is best. Draft classes take about two to three years to tell whether or not they were good. Instant draft grades only tell you the opinion of the person giving the grade as it relates to what their perceived needs for that team were before the draft started and how it relates to the players they took. For the most part, Texans fans have more fallen into the "love/like" or "meh" categories. I think they're happy that there were some needs filled, but are skeptical as to how well the players will be able to fill those roles. In years past, Texans fans have freaked out big time. Mario Williams, JJ Watt, and Duane Brown are the most famous freak out picks. Jadeveon Clowney and Andre Johnson were two picks the fans seemed to love universally.
This growth and maturity as a fan base should be met with some production by the team and the front office. When a fan base shows a level of maturity and wises up, it can often leave your team high and dry if you can't produce winning results. I'd love to see the day when fans start protesting with their money and force ownership to make some actual changes. But I'd rather see this team start winning and giving those fans something to celebrate and give me more interesting things to write about.