Now that the bulk of the 2019 mock drafts have come and gone, the latest crop o’ mocks is dipping the collective toe in the trade waters, with more than one having the Texans trading on D-Day this Thursday night.
For those wanting a quick recap, here’s the 411 on Houston’s major draft day trades over the course of the franchise’s history:
The Texans traded their second and fourth-round picks (36th and 117th overall) to the New England Patriots for their second and third-round picks (41st and 75th overall), which were used to select tight end Bennie Joppru and offensive tackle Seth Wand respectively.
The Texans traded their second, third and fourth-round picks (40th, 73rd and 103rd overall) in the 2004 NFL Draft to the Tennessee Titans for their 2004 first-round pick (27th overall), which was used to select defensive end Jason Babin. The Texans also exchanged their firth-round pick (138th overall) for Tennessee’s fifth-rounder (159th overall) as part of the deal.
The Texans swapped their first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft (13th overall) with the New Orleans Saints (16th overall), which was used to select defensive tackle Travis Johnson. The Texans also received the Saints’ third-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (66th overall), which was used to select offensive tackle Eric Winston.
The Texans traded their second-round picks in the 2007 (39th overall) and 2008 NFL Draft (48th overall) to the Atlanta Falcons for quarterback Matt Schaub. The Texans (8th overall) and Falcons (10th overall) also swapped first-round picks as part of the deal. The Falcons would go on to draft Jamaal Anderson with the 8th pick and Justin Blalock with the 39th pick, while the Texans would take Amobi Okoye with the 10th pick.
The Texans traded their No. 18 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for the No. 26 overall pick (Duane Brown) in the first round, as well as the Ravens’ third-round pick (No. 89 overall, Steve Slaton) and the Ravens’ sixth-round pick (No. 173 overall, Dominique Barber) in the 2008 draft.
But that was then, and this is now. Houston has a new sheriff in town in general manager Brian Gaine, and while he did relatively well in the abridged 2018 NFL Draft, his free agency in 2019 hasn’t exactly lit a fire under the fanbase. This week is what we’ve all been waiting for.
If the number of proposed trades from draft mockers is any indication, expect the Texans to do some wheelin’ and dealin’ later this week. Let’s take a look at some of the proposals involving your Houston Texans:
The Pick: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
Midway through the 2017 season, the Houston Texans made the silly decision to trade veteran left tackle Duane Brown.
Since then, a bad offensive line has become a joke. According to Pro Football Focus, young Texans franchise signal-caller Deshaun Watson was under pressure more frequently than any other qualified quarterback in the NFL while taking a league-high 62 sacks in 2018. Injury-prone bust Matt Kalil won’t do much to help as Houston’s only significant free-agent addition to the line.
But the last remnant of that Brown trade with the Seattle Seahawks could be the key to the Texans’ quest for a long-term pillar on Watson’s blind side. Dillard isn’t likely to last until No. 23, but Houston might be able to leap into the top half of the first round by dealing the second-round selection it received from Seattle as part of that deal.
That would be the 54th overall pick, which Sobleski accepted on the Redskins’ mock behalf. This is an ambitious trade up for an athletic three-year starter in Dillard who killed it at the combine and appears to have the pass-blocking skills and physical traits required of a stalwart NFL left tackle.
17. Houston: Andre Dillard, T, Washington State
PROJECTED TRADE: Houston sends 23rd and 55th picks to Giants for this choice.
No team in the NFL needs a radical upgrade at tackle as much as the Texans. Per Pro Football Focus,the starting Houston tackles last year, Julie’n Davenport and Kendall Lamm, allowed 101 quarterback disruptions (sacks, hits, hurries) on Deshaun Watson, which is downright abominable considering Watson’s one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league. Think how many pressures he avoided just by being Deshaun Watson. Dillard’s the top tackle on Houston’s board, from what I hear, and teams think he’s got a chance to be a good left tackle.
1 - 13 - OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
from MIA*1 - 23 - to Miami
The Texans will likely have to trade up if they want a shot at one of the first-round talents on the offensive line. Luckily, they have two second-round picks, and packaging one with No. 23 should get them into the top 15, where they take a potential franchise left tackle in Williams, whose floor is a long career on the interior.
Cynthia Frelund (NFL.com)
The Texans trade up for an O-lineman:
Houston Texans receive:
-- 2019 first-round pick (No. 16 overall)
Carolina Panthers receive:
-- 2019 first-round pick (No. 23)
-- 2019 second-round pick (No. 55)
Why it works for the Texans: The model suggests the Texans optimize for wins if they prioritize an improvement on the offensive line in Round 1. Fortunately, they have two second-rounders (Nos. 54 and 55), so they can afford to use one to move up. The likelihood of my model’s two highest-rated offensive linemen (Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams) being available is above average, until the Vikings(No. 18) and Seahawks (No. 21) are on the clock. The Jaguars (No. 7) and Broncos (No. 10) pose the greatest risks before No. 16.
“Wild” Bill Barnwell:
23. Houston Texans
Texans get: 1-14
Falcons get: 1-23, 2-55
The Texans learned just how dangerous it can be to trade up when they shipped off a future first-round pick for Deshaun Watson and ended up missing out on the fourth overall selection last year. They’re happy with Watson, of course, and general manager Brian Gaine wasn’t around for that trade, but you would understand why the franchise might be wary to make a huge leap up, even if they’re attempting to target a position of need.
With an extra second-round pick from the Duane Brown trade, though, the Texans should consider moving up to grab some desperately required help along the offensive line. Washington has been bringing linemen in for visits, and the Texans might need to get ahead of the 15th spot if they want to draft someone such as Erik McCoy or Jonah Williams.
Two of the teams that I’ve heard most often as candidates open to trading up—Carolina (No. 16) and Houston (No. 23)—wouldn’t be going up for quarterbacks. In all likelihood, it’d be a move to get one of the top three tackles. Each has been very present in that market on the scouting trail over the last three months, and the dropoff from the first cluster (Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Washington State’s Andre Dillard) to the second (Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, Ole Miss’ Greg Little) leaves both teams in a bit of a no man’s land, drafting too low for the former and too high for the latter. So both could move up or, failing that, move down.
What do you think? Should the Texans make a move to jump ahead of some other offensive line needy teams? Or would you prefer they play the cards they’ve been dealt? Give us your draft day trade mock-up in the comments box.