The Washington State left tackle killed it at the combine

Texans and Andre Dillard are a match made in heaven

Cody Stoots/SportsMap

The Texans need Andre Dillard. More specifically, they need a player like Andre Dillard. A freakish athlete who backs up his wow workout moments with success on the field at left tackle.

Currently scheduled to pick 23 in the first round and with need on the offensive line, the Texans would be very lucky to be able to pick Dillard. His floor might be higher than the Texans selection after today.

People Andre Dillard's size shouldn't be able to do the things Dillard did Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former Washington State left tackle manned the blindside in Pullman, WA for years and he is well on his way to making that his career path in the NFL.

Dillard started the day showing off his freakish speed.

That would end up being the fourth best number by an offensive lineman on the day. He would be the top performer in the 20-yard shuttle among the offensive linemen as well.

He would again be the best in the combine class with a huge broad jump.

It is the second-best offensive lineman broad jump since 2006.

Now how about the actual on-field play. After all, he's not getting drafted to play gym he's getting drafted to play football. According to Dillard's former quarterback Gardner Minshew his left tackle took a lot off his plate.

Having started 39 consecutive games for the Cougars running a Mike Leach offense there is plenty of film for teams to consume and get used to Dillard's pass blocking. Each of the past three years Washington State led the nation in pass attempts.

"A lot of teams have said it's a good thing that I have pass-protection ability," he said. "Because the NFL passes a lot. It's something that's not easy to master, so they like that I have lot of that in my background."

He credits some of his footwork success to being a multi-sports athlete.

Now, about run blocking. The Cougars have been dead last in rushing attempts the past two seasons meaning any inconsistency in his run blocking sticks out more with less reps to analyze.

"I'm pretty critical of myself," Dillard said at his combine media availability. "So one area for improvement is definitely continuing to improve on the run game.I showcased a bit of that ability at the Senior Bowl, and I just plan to continue that."

He joked the offense in college had just two zone running plays and that was it.

Helping the ground game will obviously have to get better but the Texans need help at tackle and they need it now. The team met with Dillard at the Senior Bowl but as of Thursday he hadn't met with the Texans at the combine. The league leaders in sacks allowed and a talent like Dillard, though initially maybe lacking in the rushing game, can help the pass game tremendously. Also, with teams having reservations about his ability to run block, he could slide down the draft board to where the Texans select.

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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