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Red Zone Play: Not Done Yet

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The Texans have done a fine job addressing their defense in free agency, but they’ll have to focus on the other side of the ball in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

While new Houston Texans general manager Brian Gaine and head coach Bill O’Brien have made some solid moves in free agency to shore up the roster, they can’t be satisfied at this point.

Bringing in Tyrann Mathieu to help Romeo Crennel’s lights out defense was a nice splash. Cornerback Aaron Colvin should also be an immediate upgrade as well. Having these two behind J.J. Watt and company should make for some exciting defense this year.

But on the offensive side of the ball, there’s still work to be done.

While salary isn’t a rock-solid indicator of skill, talent, or performance, it does speak to what the team perceives (or once perceived) as value.

This is where it gets scary.

According to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop, offensive guard Jeff Allen is the second highest paid player on that side of the ball behind All-World wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Yes, Jeff. Allen. The guy Capt. Ron nominated as most likely to be replaced by a traffic cone.

Sure, Houston still has about $32 million in cap space (barring rumored extensions for Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus), but Jeff Allen should be competing for a roster spot at the league minimum based on his tenure in H-Town so far.

Thankfully, the 2018 NFL Draft is about two weeks away. The Texans aren’t loaded with picks, but they have enough to do some good things. Houston could conceivably package two third-rounders to trade into the second round. This draft isn’t a cornucopia of great offensive linemen, but there’s a nice little list of guys that could land in range if the Texans play their cards right.

Walter Football has the following offensive tackles at the top of their list:

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Height: 6-7. Weight: 309. Arm: 34. Projected 40 Time: 5.10.

Projected Round (2018): 1.

Orlando Brown*, OT, Oklahoma

Height: 6-8. Weight: 345. Arm: 35. 40 Time: 5.85.

Projected Round (2018): 1-2.

Isaiah Wynn, OT/G/C, Georgia

Height: 6-2. Weight: 308. Arm: 33.13. Hand: 8.5. Projected 40 Time: 5.10.

Projected Round (2018): 1-2.

Kolton Miller*, OT, UCLA

Height: 6-9. Weight: 309. Arm: 34. 40 Time: 4.95.

Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

Connor Williams*, OT, Texas

Height: 6-5. Weight: 296. Arm: 33. Projected 40 Time: 5.05.

Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

Height: 6-4. Weight: 308. Arm: 33.75. Projected 40 Time: 5.20.

Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

Geron Christian*, OT, Louisville

Height: 6-5. Weight: 298. Arm: 35. 40 Time: 5.33.

Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

Brian O’Neill*, OT, Pittsburgh

Height: 6-6. Weight: 298. Arm: 34.13. Hand: 9.38. 40 Time: 4.82.

Projected Round (2018): 2-4.

Austin Corbett, OT/C, Nevada

Height: 6-4. Weight: 310. Arm: 33.38. Hand: 10.63. 40 Time: 5.15.

Projected Round (2018): 2-4.

Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T

Height: 6-7. Weight: 303. Arm: 35.38. Hand: 9.63. 40 Time: 5.37.

Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

McGlinchey and Brown will probably be long gone by the time Houston gets a turn.

Wynn seems to have the solid run blocking, road-grader nastiness that might make for a great right tackle; he could very well be available where Houston can grab him.

Miller has several questions marks that might be a detriment if he’s paired with a less than stellar interior line.

Williams may not be worth what it would take to move up to get him, but with him being down the road in Austin, you can bet the Texans have scouted him.

Rankin could be a great developmental project worth a later pick, but not necessarily a trade up or 68th overall shot.

Christian is another developmental guy, but with scouts comparing him to Duane Brown, it might be worth a later third-rounder if he’s still there.

While Corbett, Jones, and Parker are all development guys as well, any one of whom could evolve into a Pro Bowler in the right NFL program, none of them are worth the 68th pick or a trade up in the second round.

The Texans’ other offensive needs are less glaring, with the exception of tight end. Maybe if Gaine is a true draft wizard, he can manage to land a starting OT and a starting TE with his three third round picks and some combination of later round swapping.

One thing I don’t want to see is more leveraging the future, i.e., trading away a 2019 first or second round pick for a player this year...unless the player the Texans are acquiring happens to be an Pro Bowl lineman who doesn’t have the giant question marks that come with rookies.

Do you have a preferred offensive tackle in the draft pool? If you were Brian Gaine, what would you do with Houston’s trifecta of third round picks? Go after more linemen or take a completely different angle?

Give us your game plan below.