2020 NFL Draft

The Texans 2020 Draft Class

The Texans 2020 Draft Class

With all the offseason player personnel moves, turmoil, and buffonery, it's finally come to an end. The draft is now over. Head coach, GM, master and ruler of all things on Kirby, Bill O'Brien had an okay draft. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't a homerun. I wrote about their first pick Ross Blacklock yesterday. Let's take a look at the rest of their 2020 draft class:

3rd Round #90 Overall: Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida

Jonathan Greenard

NFL.com

Listed as an EDGE in his NFL.com draft profile, Greenard lined in multiple outside rush positions. Whether he had his hand in the dirt, standing, left, or right side, he showed flashes in his time at Florida as well as in Louisville. His 40 time may scare some off as to his explosiveness, but pass rushers don't have to sprint 40 yards to get to the quarterback. At 6'3 and 263lbs, he has ridiculously long arms at 34 7/8 inches. Not sure if he'll start from day one, but if he shows any pass rush ability, he should considering this team's lack of a true pass rush presence outside J.J. Watt. I look forward to seeing what he and Blacklock can do to help this defense.

4th Round #126 Overall: Charlie Heck, T, North Carolina

Charlie Heck

NFL.com

Given the massive extention they gave Laremy Tunsil and 1st round pick invested in Tytus Howard, Heck was most likely a depth pick. At 6'8 and 311lbs, he's a very tall tackle and his 34 1/8 inch arm length is pretty good. Don't expect him to step in and play any time soon. If he does, it means one of the top two guys is hurt. By him being a coach's kid, dad is an offensive lineman coach in the league, he's been around the game long enough and should be well-versed. His draft profile gives you more insight as to the type of player he's projected to be.

4th Round #141 Overall: John Reid, CB, Penn State

John Reid

NFL.com

Reid is a smallish CB with decent speed, but I was more impressed with his 3 cone and shuttle drill times. Those show off agility and burst. His 4.49 40 was decent. His most impressive stat from the combine: 20 reps on the bench press. That isn't always indicative of playing strength, but impressive nonetheless. While I don't expect Reid to compete for much playing time initially, he may show enough moxy to warrant a few reps here and there. He fits the profile of a practice/effort guy, AKA the O'Brien type.

5th Round #171 Overall: Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island

Isaiah Coulter

NFL.com

At 6'2 198lbs and running a 4.45 40, Coulter has that size/speed combo often sought after in WRs. Although he played against lesser competition, Coulter showed enough to warrant a late round flyer with 72 catches for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns last year. He has developmental traits which made him desirable according to his draft profile. The WR room is crowded as presently constructed. Look for Coulter to get some action if that room is cleared up some, especially given the injury history of some of the guys that are in there.

The best part of this draft was seeing O'Brien blow a gasket around the time he took Greenard. Rumor has it the Lions backed out of a trade and that caused him to blow up. Doing so while your kid is a few feet away and on national television is the most O'Brien thing he could've done. After his exchange with a fan and other incidents, you can no longer be surprised at his actions. Blacklock was a steal. Greenard may be a player. Heck seems like a smart guy and quality backup. Reid is a competitor and Coulter has some physical gifts. Nothing special. If Blacklock dominates like I think he can, he will make this draft class look a lot better than it does now. The lack of a 1st rounder made this draft, and next year's, more difficult to find top end talents. Until they have 1st round picks, look forward to more meh in the draft.

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The Astros are back in action Friday night against the A's. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Astros need to whip up on the Oakland A’s this weekend in California as they did in sweeping four from them last week at Minute Maid Park. That was the start of a homestand which ended up with seven wins in 10 games. That goes down as a successful homestand, especially since it felt like the Astros’ prior winning homestand came while Donald Trump was President (it actually started in late July). Still, 7-3 doesn’t feel like a smashing success with it ending by dropping two of three games to the lowly Los Angeles Angels.

It is not exactly with bated breath that anyone should be waiting on Jose Abreu’s return to the lineup, but it’s coming. It should not be on this road trip. After the three games with the A’s the Astros move up the coast for a big four game set with American League West leading Seattle. The M's start all right-handed pitchers. That is no time to sit Jon Singleton to see if Abreu has managed to pump a few drops of gas into his tank while spending the better part of this month at the Astros’ minor league complex. It’s not as if Singleton has been stellar since Abreu’s departure, but by comparison, he’s been Lou Gehrig-esque. The series with the Mariners isn’t make or break but the Astros are strongly advised to get at least a split. That it should be Framber Valdez starting the opener Monday night doesn’t breed tremendous confidence, coming off his meltdown outing against the Angels. Another start, another opportunity.

The Mariners are at the Nationals this weekend, starting it a mere four and a half games ahead of the Astros. In four of the five other divisions the Astros' 22-28 record would have them at least 10 games off the lead.

One step forward, two steps back

Speaking of washed-up first basemen, Joey Votto should be a future Hall of Famer. The 40-year-old Canadian is trying to make it back to the big leagues via the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays. Votto was an absolutely tremendous player with the Cincinnati Reds. As the Beastie Boys said, “Ch-check it out.” Over Jeff Bagwell’s first ten seasons with the Astros he hit .305 with a .417 on-base percentage and .552 slugging percentage, yielding a phenomenal .970 OPS. Over Votto’s first ten full seasons with the Reds: .313/.429/.540 for an exactly phenomenal .970 OPS. Where am I going with this? Read on!

Votto had phenomenal strike zone and bat control. He turned 30 during the 2013 season. That year Votto had 581 at bats. He popped out to an infielder once the entire season. Alex Bregman turned 30 the third day of this season. Bregman popped out to the shortstop four times in the Angels series. So much for Bregman’s “knob past the ball” epiphany that saw him hit three home runs over two games last week. Going into the weekend Bregman has one hit in his last 23 at bats. His season stats continue to be pitiful: a .209 batting average and .607 OPS. Bregman has only struck out once in the 23 at bats of his latest deep freeze. It’s that so much of his contract is feeble. There is a lot of season left for Bregman to build up to decent numbers, but one-third of the regular season will be complete after the Astros play the Mariners Monday night.

While Bregman’s season to date has basically been one long slump, Jose Altuve is in a funk of his own. Since blasting a homer Monday, Altuve is hitless in 12 at bats. Mini-slumps happen to everybody but Altuve’s woes trace back farther. Over his last 15 games, Altuve is batting .175. He last had more than one hit in a game May 5. He’s also drawn just two walks over those 15 games. It’s tough to ever sit Altuve, but he’s probably playing a little too much. Altuve turned 34 earlier this month. He has started 48 of the Astros 50 games at second base. Mauricio Dubon should be getting a start per week at second (and probably another at third given Bregman’s level of play). Over a full season not playing the field once per week still means 135 starts. Altuve should mix in some more at designated hitter (he has just one DH game so far this season). Wear and tear is a real thing, players don’t grow less susceptible to it as they get to their mid-30s.

King Tuck

On the flip side, Kyle Tucker! So far this season, he’s making himself as much money as Bregman is costing himself. Only Shohei Ohtani (1.069) starts the weekend action with an OPS higher than Tucker’s 1.060. The law of averages dictates that Tucker won’t finish as high as 1.060, but if he does, it would be the greatest full-length season offensive performance in Astros’ history. Jeff Bagwell posted an absurd 1.201 OPS in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign. Yordan Alvarez came in at 1.067 in his 87 games played rookie season of 2019. Lance Berkman’s 2001 was a monster. Enron Field was more hitter-friendly then than Minute Maid Park is now, but Berkman’s numbers were “Oh My Gosh!” spectacular. .331 batting average, 55 doubles (second in franchise history to Craig Biggio's 56 in 1999), 34 homers, .430 on-base percentage, .620 slugging percentage, and 1.051 OPS. And that was just Berkman’s second full season in the majors. Lance finished fifth in National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. Giant-headed Barry Bonds won MVP with his 73 home runs among other sicko stats.

* Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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