6 Prospects at positions of need for the Houston Texans

Texans still have holes to fill

Composite photo by Jack Brame

The 2020 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away. The Houston Texans need to replenish several positions with quality prospects. Houston isn't scheduled to select in the draft until the 40th overall selection, which they acquired via trade from the Arizona Cardinals for DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans just sent their other second rounder, the 57th overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams for wide receiver, Brandin Cooks and a fourth round pick in the year of our Lord 2022.

Brandin Cooks is a different article. While Houston may still invest in the position, it would seem unlikely that they would do so with their top selection. The wide receiver position falls down the ranks among positions of needs.

Biggest Needs

  • EDGE rusher
  • Cornerback
Houston needs to add an offensive guard, running back, wide receiver and defensive lineman, along with the previously mentioned positions but they aren't as glaring of needs.

There's several different ways that the Texans' General Manager, Bill O'Brien could attack the draft.

  • Trade Up - Look to solidify one of the positions with the best player they could acquire
  • Trade Down - Look to accumilate more picks in this draft or replenish the 2021 draft
  • Trade Player - Houston could trade a player on the roster, like a Benardrick McKinney to acquire more picks
  • Make selections as is based on best player available at any position
  • Make selections as is based on best player available at position of need
O'Brien has the luxury of a draft filled with talented cornerback prospects. Unfortunately, for Houston, the edge class is lacking in top-end talent. O'Brien has three picks inside the first 111 and as you may have heard, isn't afraid to make a deal.

When day two of the draft starts with pick #33 overall, those first several picks will be a premium as teams wake up to day two of the draft surprised by a handful of prospects that are still available. While Houston needs to replenish talent for 2020, O'Brien would have to listen to trade offers that could help him either pick up additional picks in 2021, while sliding further back in the 2020 draft or trade back in the 2020 draft just to add more top 100 picks. I wouldn't be surprised by either move with the caveat being who the prospects are that are available.

When evaluating the NFL Draft, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My draft evaluations are independent and don't always follow the consensus of what's being reported in the media. This has led to me making some great finds where others were wrong i.e. George Kittle, David Johnson, etc but also it's left me with egg on my face at times, as was the case with Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, etc.

No evaluators are going to be perfect and I'll own my blunders but I'll still trust my eyes and relay what I see in hopes to make the draft process a little more enjoyable. You're welcome to shrug off my evals or buy in. I mention this as full disclosure as some of the prospects that I mention below, I'll either be a lot "higher" on than consensus, while other names that you don't see mention may be due to my personal evaluation not being as flattering as what's the general belief. On some of these prospects, I will even have them graded a few rounds higher or lower than what you may be accustomed to seeing. Don't get too caught up in this as their are 32 teams and their personal evaluations vary across the board on prospects and there isn't a general consensus as you would believe from looking at social media and broadcasts.

What the Texans Should Do

Before I get into listing three prospects at cornerback and edge that Houston should look at selecting with their pick in the second round, I want to list some other options that could be available to them.

EDGE - AJ Epenesa - In a less than stellar edge class, Epenesa is the value pick. It's a pipe dream to hope that he would last to the 40th pick overall. I couldn't blame Houston for trading up to select Epenesa, who reminds me of a poor man's JJ Watt. If they do make the move up, it would leave them chasing at the receiver and cornerback positions. While they could still land contributors at both positions, it'd be extremely difficult to get the early difference makers that they need at multiple positions of need. It's still worth considering based off the falloff at the edge position after Epenesa and the depth at the cornerback.

Now, lets get to the two positions with the biggest needs and three guys that I believe Houston should target there in the second round.

Cornerbacks

Noah Igbinoghene - Auburn - He doesn't fit the new NFL standard of 6'1-6'2 but at 5'10 and with arms that are almost 32 inches, Houston would be wise to go outside of their positional parameters to sign this corner that reminds me of Janoris Jenkins. He mirrors and is aggressive. He fights to shed receivers and will come up and tackle. To me, he's the second best corner in this class.

Michael Ojemudia - Iowa - Let me go ahead and tell you that I'm putting my balls out there with this one. Go ahead and google him...yep, that's right, most people have him as a late day three pick. I love his game and believe he'll be a stud at the next level. Standing 6'1 200 pounds with 32 1/4" arms and speed in the mid 4.4s with a 36" vertical to boot. All of those measurements should mesh with O'Brien's parameters, but it's the potential of the tape that I love. Loose hips, wrap-up form tackling, good C.O.D., doesn't over react to jukes/fakes and comfortable in off, press and zone.

Cameron Dantzler - Mississippi State - I don't think I'm going to win anyone over with these last two cornerbacks of Ojemudia and Dantzler. While Dantzler has the height of 6'2, he's rail thin at 188 and only has 30 5/8" arms with 4.64 speed. Those that live and die by combines, pro days, etc, have already thrown him to the wolves. His film shows a great tackler and uses his wiry frame as a dynamic rusher with unique edge bend for a corner. Throw out the numbers, he'll be a solid pro.

EDGE

We don't need to leave the state of Florida for this group of pass rushers. Any of the three would make sense in round two for Houston.

Jonathan Greenard - Flordia - At 6'3 263 pounds and with massive arms that almost reach 35", Anthony Weaver could mold this young man. He plays with leverage and is good in pursuit. He's similar to a Shaq Lawson type.

Jabari Zuniga - Florida - 6'3 264 pounds has him similar in size to his former Gator teammate, but his arms are two inches shorter. What he lacks in length, he makes up for with quickness and speed. He's fast and explosive, engages with leverage and has a deadly long arm. Imagine a situational pass rush of Jacob Martin and Zuniga with Watt and Mercilus.

Jonathan Garvin - Miami - 6'4 263 pounds with 34" arms. He sheds with length, sets the edge and has the ability to flatten with strength and balance. Surprising C.O.D. for his size. I thought Houston could add an aging Everson Griffin for cheap. Garvin will remind you of Griffin with traits in his game.

It's O'Brien's first draft, so I have no clue what will happen, but I'd expect some surprises from Bungling Bill.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

STEELERS 28, TEXANS 21

5 observations from the Texans loss to the Steelers

Getty Images

The Texans are 0-3 after at least putting up some fight before they were dominated in the second half in a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh. It was once thing to get wasted by the Chiefs and Ravens, and the Steelers are better than them as well, but at some point you have to beat these teams. Three tries, three failures. And it was not as close as the score. They were outgained 387-260, out-first downed 25-13, out-possessed 36:51-23:09.

Here are five thoughts from the game:

1) Once again, Watson just wasn't good enough. We pointed out how Deshaun Watson had not been elite over his last 10 games. Make it 11. He was terrific in the first half, but the Steelers adjusted and shut him down in the second half. Watson threw a pick on third and long in the fourth quarter, but it really was not an awful play - he was trying to make something happen on a tough down. It essentially functioned as a short punt. But he did nothing the rest of the half. It did not help that they had no running game (see No. 2) and untimely penalties hurt as well, but the Texans need Watson to win games for them, and to do that, he needs to be great. He was 19 of 27 for 264 yards, two touchdowns, the pick and was sacked five times. Good. Not great. And not good enough.

2) The running game is a real problem on both sides of the ball. The Texans defense for the third week in a row could not stop the run, allowing 173 yards and an average of 4.9 per carry. Conversely, the Texans managed just 29 yards on 15 carries, a pathetic 1.9 per tote. You simply can't win football games like that.

3) This is what the defense will be. Don't laugh; the defense actually played OK - for what they are. This is a below average unit lacking talent at all levels. They did get two sacks, but for the most part they just aren't good enough to stop solid NFL offenses. They will have to get a few stops here and there and rely on their offense for the Texans to win games. (Of course, they can't really rely on the offense, can they?) They don't get turnovers, they don't stop the run, they con't cover well. The guys on the field are playing hard and OK for what they are, but this defense simply lacks any real difference makers other than J.J. Watt, who can be neutralized since he has no help.

4) Tight ends will always be a bane of this defense. The Steelers tight ends finished with eight catches including Eric Ebron's touchdown. The Texans have never been able to stop tight ends, other than a brief stretch when they had Tayshaun Gipson on the team last year. There really is no reason to complain about this, because it will never change.

5) Today's O'Brien blame goes to...O'Brien the GM. He did nothing to fix his defense in the off-season, and that unit isn't getting it down. Yes, we could also bring up his horrific offense, getting out-adjusted at halftime, but then that is O'Brien the coach. The GM gets the blame today.

The McNairs love him, so he will be fine, but any other coach/GM would be firmly on the hot seat.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome