Day 1

The Houston Texans have two big needs entering the draft this season. They need a cornerback to step in and play day one. Jonathan Joseph is aging, and Kareem Jackson left in free agency. Bradley Roby and Briean Boddy-Calhoun signed with the Texans, but there is still a spot open for a starter to come in and make a difference. Otherwise, much has been made out about the need for an offensive tackle. The Texans could absolutely use an offensive tackle, but an offensive lineman at any spot would be very useful. Matt Kalil is a slight upgrade from Julie’n Davenport at left tackle, and Seantrel Henderson is not a stud at right tackle. Martinas Rankin should start, but it would be at either guard spot, or at center. Nick Martin was simply not good last year, and he may see his starting role diminish.

Cornerbacks

There are five cornerbacks that are getting round one talks at this point. Generally, there are two tiers of these five cornerbacks. Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy are in tier one, while DeAndre Baker, Amani Oruwariye, and Justin Layne are in tier two.

Greedy Williams needs some work, but as only a redshirt sophomore, he can be molded into a stud. His coverage skills are very good, but he is a lazy tackler and does not like physicality, which is not a teachable skill. Byron Murphy is a playmaker and is great in coverage as well, but he played off-man at Washington and may not be a great fit for the Texans. Otherwise, Baker is falling down boards due to a weak combine and poor interviews, and Layne is a project with his footwork due to being a wide receiver convert. Oruwariye is a lengthy cornerback who can play in any scheme, but he is probably more of a second round pick, and he may be a reach at 23.

Offensive Line

The tackle position is very deep in this draft, but the high-end interior offensive linemen graded out higher for me thus far, and seemingly for most. Yodny Cajuste is injured and he may not be useful for the Texans at 23 due to a torn quad.

Jonah Williams is a sturdy left tackle who takes care of business in the trenches. Jawaan Taylor is a stud who gets beat very seldom, although he is a right tackle, and whoever drafts him must be comfortable leaving him on that side of the line. Dalton Risner has not given up a sack in years at Kansas State, and he projects as a capable player at any spot on the offensive line. Andre Dillard and Cody Ford both show traits that would have them succeed at the next level, but they may not be as special as day one starters. Cody Ford’s upside is really good, and his versatility on the line is also very impressive.

Otherwise, Erik McCoy, Garrett Bradbury, and Chris Lindstrom are all superb on the interior. They are very good run defenders and solid in the passing game as well. They would almost be a guaranteed upgrade from any interior offensive linemen on the roster.

Ideal Pick

Greedy Williams would be the best selection as a cornerback. Byron Murphy is not a scheme fit, and Baker, Oruwariye, and Layne are slight reaches at 23. At offensive tackle, it is likely that Williams, Taylor, and Ford are all off the board. Dillard would be a solid selection but he is very clearly in a different class to the prior mentioned tackles. McCoy and Lindstrom could both be gone by the time they pick as 23, but it has been difficult to project draft stock for the interior offensive linemen thus far. They would both be excellent selections at 23.

Day 2

The Texans have two picks in the second round, as well as one in the third round. Without a doubt, one of the two second round picks can very well end up being the position that is not selected in the first round. Otherwise, the Texans will look at interior defensive linemen who can pressure the quarterback, and now safety due to Andre Hal’s retirement.

Cornerbacks

Of course, if any of the five prior mentioned cornerbacks fall to the second round, they are instant targets. Otherwise, Rock Ya-Sin and Trayvon Mullen become targets as well. They both have their flaws, but have shown the raw talent to be worth day two selections. They are also both athletic enough to play an important role in the Texans defense. Joejuan Williams has been a name that has come up as a day two pick, but he projects more of an early day three pick.

Offensive Linemen

The offensive tackle list falls off after the names that have been mentioned. Cajuste is only out for three months and could be worth a selection if he falls to the second round. Greg Little and Donnell Greene both looked solid and tape and would be worthy of late second round picks or early third round picks. David Edward’s tape was also worthy of a second round selection, although there are health concerns that have been following him around. On the interior, Dru Samia, Fred Johnson, and Beau Benzschawel have all flown under the radar, and would probably all be able to step in and start as well. Samia has a mean streak that often makes pass rushers look silly.

Interior Defensive Linemen

There are two perfect day two targets on the interior defensive line. Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones and UCF’s Trysten Hill are both tall, lean, pass rushers. Hill is better in the running game than Jones is, but the Texans have the run defenders that they need in Reader and Clowney. Having someone on the interior that can actually rush the passer and add pressure through the A-gap would be a great thing for an already solid defensive line. Jones is likely to be a second round pick. Hill could go second or third round.

Safety

This is a new need for the Texans. Andre Hal just retired from the NFL, leaving the Texans with only Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson at safety. There is some good depth in the draft this season for safeties. Taylor Rapp, Marquise Blair, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Amani Hooker and Juan Thornhill would all make for very good day two targets. Considering the Texans safety depth is very thin, a box safety or free safety would both be targets.

Ideal Pick

The Texans have been linked a lot to many offensive linemen, but the interior defensive lineman should be an absolute must here. Jones could fall to 54, while Hill could fall to 86. As much as the offensive line needs help, Watson did a good job escaping pressure last year. The offense still performed well. Getting pressure up the middle from a pass rusher will make it significantly easier on the cornerbacks as well. Otherwise, a safety looks like a need unless one is signed prior to the draft. Marquise Blair out of Utah is a personal favorite. He could even slip out of the second round into the third.

In this order, I would spend the three day two picks on a cornerback or offensive line (whichever the first rounder is not used on), interior defensive lineman, safety.

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– Max Freedman is the Managing Editor of Full Press Coverage Texans. He covers the Houston Texans. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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