Every-Thing Sports

Texans Draft: Need vs best player available

NFL.com

The NFL Draft starts up on Thursday at 7 p.m. with the first round kicking things off. It'll take place in Nashville this year as the league continues to move it around and make a fan experience out of what can be an otherwise boring event.

Fans will also be full of hope and watching in anticipation as their teams draft what they may deem as the players who may turn the team's fortunes around. The likelihood of that actually happening is rare. First rounders pan out and realize their potential as stars less than 50% of the time. As you go deeper into the draft, the success rate drops dramatically. Which is why making sure teams hit on picks, especially early on in the draft, is so critical to team success.

When a team hits on draft picks, they get quality cheap labor compared to what a comparable veteran may cost them. If Deshaun Watson was an unrestricted free agent right now, he's command a salary north of $25 million a year. Since his rookie deal is paying him an average of $3.5 million a year, in essence, the Texans have an extra $21.5 million in cap space to spend. They came into free agency with the third most cap space to spend in the league and acted as if the money they were throwing around weighed as much as manhole covers.

The team desperately needed to bolster the offensive line; they lost two key defensive backs that needed replacing in Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu; the running back, wide receiver, and linebacker positions could all use an infusion of talent. However, the team continued to put Band Aids on gaping wounds praying it would stop the bleeding. Maybe this is a smart move in the long run, but I'm skeptical considering the franchise's past. Don't forget about Jadeveon Clowney being franchise tagged. Failing to agree to a long term deal with Clowney under the terms he's looking for foreshadows a separation in the near future. If that's the case, why not trade him and get something for him instead of going the Mario Williams route?

All of this leads up to the draft. Now they're in a position to draft because they have needs. Being in a position to draft the best player available gives a team the flexibility to add quality depth and not rely on guys to come in and be immediate impact players. Drafting for need will often leave your team disappointed when the players can't come in and contribute from day one.

We've seen this happen time and time again. Good team building components are equal parts spending wisely in free agency and drafting well. But when you have a franchise quarterback on his rookie deal, you must go for the gusto and take some chances spending in free agency. If the Texans don't come away with at least two offensive lineman and two corners that can contribute within the mid first two years in the team, I'll consider this offseason another waste. Had they gone out and spent on these positions of need and gotten better than a broken offensive lineman and a corner who's on a prove it deal, they could've been in position to select the highest ranking player on their draft board. Now, they may have to reach to fill a need.

I'm not suggesting they can't still salvage this offseason. Perhaps Brian Gaine will hit homeruns with every pick. Maybe there will be some cap cuts of quality vets before or after training camp the team can add. What I am saying is beware of the position the team is in heading into the draft.

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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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