The Pallilog

Texans still have work to do, right move for Oliver and Rockets-Warriors

Tytus Howard out of Alabama State could develop into a tremendous offensive tackle who protects Deshaun Watson for the next decade. He probably won't but he certainly could. If Howard is a good, dependable starting tackle he's a good pick. He went 23rd overall not third. It's still difficult to not think that Texans' General Manager Brian Gaine got beaten to the punch for his first first round selection, and was forced to some extent, settle. To my knowledge, no one credible thinks Howard is the tackle prospect that Andre Dillard is. The Texans had been regularly linked to Dillard. The Eagles paid a modest price of fourth and sixth round picks to trade up three spots and select Dillard immediately before the Texans went on the clock.

The Texans aren't thinking they got a stud o-lineman from Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, right?

With two second round picks and one third rounder, the Texans absolutely should be thinking another offensive lineman and a cornerback for two of those selections. With the other pick "best player available" expanding to running backs to complement/challenge/succeed Lamar Miller, wide receivers to give depth beyond the fragile Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, and a pass rusher since J.J. Watt is 30, Jadeveon Clowney's future is up in the air, and Whitney Mercilus enters the last year of his contract having produced just five sacks in 21 games over the last two seasons.

Oliver to the Bills

Only silly people criticized Ed Oliver for not playing in the University of Houston's bowl game. Playing would have entailed only risk, no reward. Especially for a guy whose final UH season was disrupted by a knee injury. Oliver's decision needed no validation, but going number nine in the draft to Buffalo made for a very good Thursday night for him. The ninth pick last year (o-lineman Mike McGlinchey to the 49ers) signed a guaranteed four year contract worth more than $18 million dollars.

Oliver is just the sixth UH Cougar to go in the top 10 overall. Of the prior five, Riley Odoms is the only one to start an NFL game after he turned 28 years old. Those who didn't: Mack Mitchell, Wilson Whitley, Andre Ware, and David Klingler.

​Finally, Rockets-Warriors

Unless the Golden State Warriors complete an epic collapse we will get the long anticipated Rockets-Warriors rematch. The champs are clearly vulnerable having lost two home games already to the Clippers. If the Warriors close out in six they face a quick turnaround to game one with the Rockets Sunday afternoon in Oakland. If the Clippers force the two-time defending champs to a Game 7 the Rockets would have time to kill until Tuesday. If somehow the Clippers win the series the Rockets would get homecourt advantage for round two.

With loads of respect to the Clippers pushing things this far, Rockets-Warriors remains the desired marquis attraction. It should be a tremendous series. It better be a tremendous series, because other than one incredible game and shot from Damian Lillard, the first round of the NBA playoffs has generally been awful.

On paper it still sets up as advantage Warriors. If both teams play their best ball, Golden State simply has more top end talent, with the tipping point player being Kevin Durant. James Harden didn't have a great series vs. Utah (37.4 percent field goal shooting stinks) but as a player he's better than he's ever been, and he'll have to be because Chris Paul isn't. In boxing terms, and probably basketball terms, as a tandem Harden and Paul have to outpoint Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Eric Gordon probably needs to be outstanding. He's not remotely of Durant's caliber but needs to score well, and likely is the primary defender on Thompson, with Harden hidden on Bogut, Andre Iguodala, or Draymond Green.

The injury loss of DeMarcus Cousins takes away one very potent Golden State option, which makes life easier for Clint Capela. But having brought back Andrew Bogut was a shrewd Warrior moves. He's not an offensive threat, but Bogut is a better and smarter defender than Cousins.

Along with the historic ramifications of winning a third straight title and fourth in five years, before moving across the Bay to their billion dollar playpen palace in San Francisco next season, the Warriors want to finish their Oakland era with one last title at Oracle Arena. The Rockets would so love to be the detonator that demolishes Oracle a few weeks early. All dynasties end. I just don't think this one does quite yet.

Buzzer Beaters

1. John Havlicek died Thursday at 79. An acknowledged all-time great, eight time NBA champion, but I think underappreciated as more time passed. 2. The Rockets have zero reason to regret trading for Chris Paul, but given the circumstances the Clippers did great in getting Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell. 3. Best Paul/Harden insurance commercials: Bronze-Clutch Fires Away Silver-The Bot Gold-The Microwave

Every-Thing Sports

Post-draft Texans fan freak out...or not

Brian Gaine had a decent draft. Houstontexans.com

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.

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