Every-Thing Sports

Texans Draft: Need vs best player available

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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.

Predicting the Houston Texans 53-man roster

2019 Texans 53-man roster version 2.0

The Houston Texans have wrapped up their second preseason game. There is still some jockeying over roster spots and I'll take my best educated guesses at who holds those spots as of today.

53 -man roster

Kicker (1)

Ka'imi Fairbairn

Punter (1)

Trevor Daniel

I have my first change on the roster, from my previous 53-man prediction. Early-on, Bryan Anger had the better hang time and bigger leg. On Monday, Bill O'Brien was lending a watchful eye to the punting competition and Anger had a bad case of the yips. It was a bad time for this to happen as Daniel made the most of the situation. Daniel was booming kicks and not just with distance but with an improved hang time to boot.

Long snapper (1)


Jon Weeks

Quarterback (3)

Deshaun Watson

AJ McCarron

Joe Webb

Watson has looked the best he ever has as a pro. He's set for a huge season.

McCarron has missed time of late, but his spot at backup is safe.

Running back (5)

Lamar Miller

Duke Johnson

Damarea Crockett

Cullen Gillaspia

Taiwan Jones

On the first 53-man roster, I mentioned that I'd expect the Texans to bring in someone from the outside to take over the roster spot voided by the waiver of D'Onta Foreman. Enter Duke Johnson.

Damarea Crockett has great vision, patience and instincts, all packed into a 5'11 - 225 pound frame. If anything happened to Lamar Miller this season, Crockett would get a lot of run with Duke Johnson.

Karan Higdon falls off the roster with the addition of Duke Johnson. Higdon gets downhill quick and has great balance, but his vision leaves something to be desired.

While Buddy Howell is a fan favorite after a productive game in the fourth quarter against the Lions in the second preseason game, I still believe that Taiwan Jones is ahead of him. Jones is a veteran that helps on all of the special teams units. Howell is in a tough spot as Higdon is a better running back and Jones is the better option on special teams.

Cullen Gillaspia will also secure a spot on the 53 with his value on special teams and the hope that the Texans can develop him into a lead blocker that will allow Bill O'Brien to give more versatile looks.

Wide receiver (5)

DeAndre Hopkins

Will Fuller

Keke Coutee

DeAndre Carter

Vyncint Smith

DeAndre Carter has come back better than I could have imagined. Carter hit the ground running and not only looks like a veteran in the slot, but an improved veteran at that.

Vyncint Smith gives the Texans insurance for Fuller as he works back to 100%.

Steven Mitchell Jr has looked great in camp and has played well in the preseason games but Houston already has Keke Coutee & DeAndre Carter taking roster spots at the slot position.

Tyron Johnson's speed may not be safe on the practice squad, but he's too raw to carry on the 53-man roster. Johnson has shown alligator arms in both of the team's preseason games to this point. Houston will have to risk, sliding him unto the practice squad.

Tight end (4) 

Darren Fells

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Akins

Jerell Adams

O'Brien doesn't keep four tight ends, but you adjust to your roster and the talent you have. Fells is a great inline blocker that can also move the chains as a big target for Watson.

Akins is ready to take a second year leap and has built great chemistry with his quarterback.

While Jordan Thomas has missed a lot of time in camp, he's working swiftly to catch up. His upside is exponential. He'll be a beast when he reaches his ceiling.

Jerell Adams has shown up every day of camp and deserves a roster spot. The size, speed and athleticism of this tight end group allows O'Brien to keep four as they can contribute on special teams.

Kahale Warring should be an injured reserve stash as he'll need much more time to get caught up with his understanding of this offense.

Offensive line (9)

Matt Kalil

Roderick Johnson

Tytus Howard

Nick Martin

Zach Fulton

Seantrel Henderson

Max Scharping

Senio Kelemete

Martinas Rankin

Kalil will be the starting left tackle for the Texans week one, unless Houston trades for a tackle or Kalil has a setback on the injury front.

Behind, Kalil, Roderick Johnson has been the most consistent tackle in Houston. Roderick can be the swing tackle or step in for Kalil or Henderson if there's an injury.

Zach Fulton showed well at center while Nick Martin was out. Fulton can start at either guard spot as well.

Nick Martin returned on Monday to his position as the starting center.

Seantrel Henderson relies on size and length, even though the technique falls apart at times, he's done a decent job to hold off the pass rush in camp.

Senio Kelemete has garnered credit from his head coach. At this moment, I'd list him among the top eight offensive linemen on the roster.

Martinas Rankin has seemed to be in OB's doghouse this training camp, buried down the depth chart. When I watch Rankin, I don't see a guy that should be cut from the Texans roster. I have him making the roster as the ninth and final offensive lineman.

Greg Mancz doesn't make this projection of the 53-man roster. Due to the injury and how well Fulton has played at center during this camp, Mancz can become expendable. Julien Davenport has never played at an NFL level and I don't believe he has the upside or talent of Rankin.

Defensive line (7)

JJ Watt

Jadeveon Clowney

DJ Reader

Angelo Blackson

Brandon Dunn

Charles Omenihu

Carlos Watkins

I never thought that JJ Watt could get back to a form that was even close to his old self, after only playing in eight games in 2016 and 2017 combined. Not only did he do it in 2018, but he looks even better so far in 2019.

Angelo Blackson is the best kept secret on Houston's defensive line. He won't be a secret any longer, after 2019.

Brandon Dunn keeps Reader fresh without allowing too big of a falloff at the nose.

Charles Omenihu is young but has all of the attributes that you could dream of. He uses great leverage and sheds offensive linemen with ease while driving them back with a reach of seven feet and one and a half inches. He'll only get better as the season goes along.

Carlos Watkins has missed time during camp. It's a big season for him as he enters year three. I believe he's competing with Joel Heath for the last roster spot on the defensive line. Heath deserves to be on an NFL roster, but with Watkins cutting down the baby fat, he looks primed to breakout.

Linebacker (7)

Whitney Mercilus

Benardrick McKinney

Zach Cunningham

Dylan Cole

Brennan Scarlett

Davin Bellamy

Peter Kalambayi

In a contract year and looking fierce, be on the lookout for a big year for Whitney Mercilus.

Dylan Cole looks like a man possessed and ready for his best season to date.

Brennan Scarlett won't "WOW" anyone at first glance, but when you watch the film, you'll be impressed by his effort and motor to run non-stop from the snap to the whistle.

Peter Kalambayi has made a name as a special teamer, but he's shown some playmaking ability on the defense in the preseason in 2019.

Bellamy makes the roster as his explosiveness sticks out, but will need to be more discipline. Houston could upgrade this spot as other teams cut down to 53.

Cornerback (6)

Johnathan Joseph

Bradley Roby

Aaron Colvin

Johnson Bademosi

Lonnie Johnson Jr

Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Bademosi leaves his mark on special teams.

Lonnie is a work in progress, but if called upon, he can jam receivers off the line and agitate passing lanes with his length. Houston will keep safeties around his side of the field when he's playing to provide a safety net.

Boddy-Calhoun has had an up and down camp, but brings some veteran depth to the bottom of the group.

Safety (4) 

Justin Reid

Tashaun Gipson

Jahleel Addae

AJ Moore

Reid, Gipson and Addae are a solid trio that could see themselves on the field together often in "big dime". Due to the lack of cornerback talent and depth on the roster, Houston would be wise to rely on this trio.

AJ Moore made a name on special teams with the Texans, but all camp long, he's been ball-hawking every time he has gotten on the field.

Practice squad

1) Albert Huggins

2) Steven Mitchell Jr

3) Tyron Johnson

4) Karan Higdon

5) Jamal Davis II

6) Chris Johnson

7) Austin Exford

8) Javy Edwards

9) Derrick Baity Jr

10) Xavier Crawford

Noteworthy cuts or IR:

1) Kahale Warring - Injured Reserve

2) Greg Mancz

3) Joel Heath

4) Julien Davenport

5) Buddy Howell

6) Tyrell Adams


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