With the 2018 NFL Draft fast approaching, the Texans have a lot of work on their hands. Tackle, guard, tight end, and many other positions on the team need to be fixed through the draft. Because of this, we as FPC Texans have done a mock draft and attempted to predict what general manager Brian Gaine will do in order to aide the Texans in the pursuit of their first playoff appearance since 2016.
3rd Round (68th overall): Mike Gesicki – Tight End – Penn State
Mike Gesicki was a standout at the University of Pennsylvania, catching 105 passes for 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns during his final two seasons. The retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz leaves a hole at the tight end position that the Texans have not yet addressed. Arguably one of the best tight end prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft, Gesicki would be an immediate playmaker for Deshaun Watson and complement receiving threats DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Gesicki is a proven playmaker, well-regarded for his near perfect route running, ability to gain separation, has great hands (hasn’t had a legitimate drop in two years), and has better ball skills than any other tight end in the draft. In other words, he has the potential to be one of the better receiving tight ends in football. He backed up the hype with a 4.54 40 yard dash and 41.5 inch vertical jump during the NFL Combine. The main concern moving Gesicki down draft boards is that he is an inefficient blocker, which could lead to the Texans passing on him because they don’t want their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson getting injured. Although he could easily get picked before the third round, the Texans could settle for another tight end like Stanford’s Dalton Schultz with one of their later picks.
3rd Round (80th overall, from Seattle): Desmond Harrison – Tackle – West Georgia
Desmond Harrison will be one of the most important picks the Texans make during the 2018 NFL Draft, as getting an impact player will be key to fixing an offensive line unit that was one of the worst in football last season. Despite head coach Bill O’Brien reaffirming his trust in Julie’n Davenport, acquiring a player like Harrison will be important to solidifying a tackle position that was ranked the worst in the NFL. Winning JUCO All-American honors at Contra Costa Community College, Harrison transferred to the University of Texas. After getting suspended twice, Harrison had to leave Texas and play at West Georgia, where he ended up receiving All-Gulf South Conference and first-team AFCA All-American accolades. This success has propelled him into the third round conversation of the NFL Draft, with the Texans specifically being interested because he fills a major void on their team. His off the field issues are concerning, as he was suspended and get let go from the University of Texas for a reason, but his raw talent is tantalizing enough to draft him. Harrison is stands at a monstrous 6’6″ and 288 pounds, and has extremely long arms to complement a frame that could carry even more weight than it currently does. Harrison is known for his tremendous flexibility, quickness, agility, and overall athleticism that allows to manhandle any potential rusher. The main on the field issue concerning Harrison is that he is too raw of a player, doesn’t have much playing experience, and still hasn’t grown into his body. But all of these problems can easily be fixed with training and time. Harrison has the potential to be a cornerstone for the Texans offensive line or to become a complete bust with off the field issues, but the Texans must take the risk in order to have an offensive line that will ensure the longtime health of Deshaun Watson.
3rd Round (98th, compensatory): Armani Watts – Safety – Texas A&M
A Forney, Texas native and former safety for Texas A&M University, Armani Watts will hopefully stay put in the “Lone Star State” and get drafted by the Texans with their compensatory third round pick. Over his four year career with the Aggies, Watts garnered 324 tackles, ten interceptions, and seven forced fumbles and received Associated Press All-American and second-team All-SEC honors in 2017. This efficiency in college led to Watts being one of the many players that the Texans worked out this offseason. This interest, coupled with his talent, makes Watts the perfect pick to fill the current void the Texans have at safety. Watts makes an intriguing pick because he has showcased his above average agility, instincts, and coverage skills throughout his college career, but the main issue bringing him down to the third round is his inconsistency. He is known for making feast or famine plays, gets caught guessing on routes, and has oftentimes not been consistent in run support. Despite these struggles, Watts shapes up to be a potential starting safety for the Houston Texans if drafted.
4th Round (103rd overall): Wyatt Teller – Guard – Virginia Tech
Wyatt Teller is one of the better guard prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft, and could potentially start in the upcoming season. Although the Texans have signed players like Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete, Teller will be a far better long term (and possibly short term) option if he can prove he is worth a starting role. And that could very well happen, as Teller was All-ACC in 2016 and all-conference in 2017. Teller backed up these designations at the NFL Combine, ranking fifth among all offensive lineman with 30 reps at the bench press and a 7.45 second three cone drill. The weight room results are no accident, as Teller is a gym rat with a 400-pound power clean, 460-pound bench press and a 600-pound squat. His large 6’4″, 301 pound frame and strength have allowed him to become a very promising offensive lineman in 2016, but sadly his production tapered off in 2017. A decline in his effort level, aggression, and overall tenacity all led to a far less productive senior season. But if Teller can return to his 2016 form, he could be end up being a steal in the fourth round and help protect franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson for the years to come.
6th Round (177th overall): Braxton Berrios – Wide Receiver – University of Miami
Braxton Miller was one of the worst receivers in football last season, with his 47 grade from Pro Football Focus ranking 94th among all wide receivers. This is why many have the Texans targeting a wide receiver in the draft to fix their slot receiver position, and Braxton Berrios fits what everything the Texans want to a tee. Breaking out for 679 yards and nine touchdowns his senior season at Miami, Berrios looks to be one of the premier slot receiving prospects in the draft. Despite his tiny 5’9″, 184 pound frame, Berrios is a dangerous slot receiver and punt returner (returned 13 punts for 207 yards in 2017). His in-game speed, precise route running, and surefire hands have put him on draft boards and garnered him comparisons to current Dolphins receiver Danny Amendola. Although his small frame and lack of strength will limit his vertical capabilities, Berrios is someone who could work the middle of the field for the Texans and be another weapon for Deshaun Watson to work with. Hopefully the Texans realize that this Braxton is far better slot receiver than the Braxton they currently have.
6th Round (211th overall, compensatory): Michael Dickson – Punter – University of Texas
Although not a sexy pick, Dickson is a player the Texans should stash for the future. Worked out by the team earlier in the year, the Texans have already shown interest in the former University of Texas punter. The Syndey, Australia native won the Ray Guy Award for being the best punter in college football and was a unanimous All-American his senior season with the Longhorns, showcasing why he’ll be a starting-caliber punter in the NFL. With Shane Lechler turning 42 in August, Dickson is a player the Texans can hold onto for the future.
6th Round (214th overall, compensatory): K.C. McDermott – Guard – University of Miami
Drafting McDermott would mainly be for depth purposes, as he has not proven to be more than a late round pick so far. McDermott’s massive 6’6″, 311 pound frame and considerable length make him a formidable lineman to go up against. But despite the aforementioned size and talent, there are just too many holes in his game to currently rank him higher than a late sixth round pick. McDermott has shown that he often reverts to holding, takes inconsistent angles, and just doesn’t yet have the proper technique to be a starting offensive lineman. Despite all of these weaknesses to his game, the Texans can take a flier on McDermott and have him roam the bench until he improves his technique.
7th Round (222nd overall): Joe Ostman – EDGE – Central Michigan
Ostman garn 220 tackles, 26 sacks, and four forced fumbles over his four year career at Central Michigan. Ostmeredan was particularly efficient his senior year, receiving All-MAC honors and ranking top five nationally in tackles for loss and sacks per game. Ostman’s stocky figure has led to many NFL teams underestimate his talent, which is why I expect him to fall down drafts boards. Despite his size, Ostman is known for having a strong motor, being all over the field, and constantly making plays. Besides his size and lack of agility, Ostman has all the tools to be a productive NFL player, and could make a great return on investment if the Texans decide to draft him.