Last night, everything fell in place for the Texans to grab a starting offensive tackle for the 2019 season and beyond. Then the Eagles jumped in front of Houston to take Andre Dillard. Then the Texans took Tytus Howard instead of Jawaan Taylor, who I’m guessing has some sort of incurable disease, because there’s no other reason for him to fall out of the first round.
Now everyone outside the organization has their brains scrambled in their skull. The Howard pick may work out; if it does, it will probably be eventually. This is what I had to say about Howard before the 2019 NFL Draft:
N/A: Tytus Howard (Left/Right Tackle—Alabama State)
Howard is an Alabama State graduate, which means there is more video of the Yucca Man or the New Jersey Devil than there is of him. He moved well as an offensive tackle and didn’t look football strong against Auburn, but with his team trailing by an enormous amount, he didn’t make enough blocks to be able to get a feel for him. He moved to right tackle in the Senior Bowl. His entire game was scraped down to four and a half minutes of play.
Against grotesque Reese’s Pieces orange opponents, Howard didn’t show any struggle moving to right after playing left in college. His kick slide and anchor were great in this game. He showed more strength here in this four and a half minutes than in his entire game playing against Auburn.
At the NFL Combine, Howard weighed 322 pounds and ran the 40 in 5.05 seconds. This workout, and a Senior Bowl performance that the bucket hat scouts loved, will lead to him probably getting snatched up somewhere in the third to fourth round. For me, sitting in front of a rainy window, he’s interesting. I just don’t have enough information to feel one way about him or the other. The potential is here. The size and athleticism is here. The video and performance against Power 5 talent isn’t.
Ascending tackle prospect who will require additional work with technique and in the weight room to fully realize his potential. Howard is a gifted athlete with rare quickness and fluidity as both a run and pass blocker and his play issues are correctable with more work. While he will be dinged for level of competition, his upside was on full display with his play against Auburn. He needs development, but he’s much more than a developmental prospect and could find a starter’s spot within his first two years.
If you read any scouting report about Howard, you’ll find something similar. Howard is a big strong man, more bear than human, but he doesn’t have the technical aspects of the position down. He needs to develop. Maybe one day he’ll be come a competent starter or even great player.
This is precisely the problem with the pick. Despite having plenty of cap space, the Texans didn’t add a potential starting offensive lineman in free agency. The idea was apparently that they would fill the holes through the draft with multiple early round picks. Only on Houston’s shoddy offensive line could Howard come in and overtake Seantrel Henderson at right tackle, or battle-fight against Julien Davenport and Matt Kalil for left tackle. In any other situation, Howard would be sitting, stewing, and learning. Houston took a developmental player they could have grabbed in the second and maybe in the third round when they needed someone who could play now.
What makes it all even more perplexing is the team’s situation. Houston’s time to contend is now. Today. This season. Deshaun Watson is still on his rookie contract. The Texans don’t have to worry about committing 20% of their cap to one player. They can build a complete roster while still enjoying the luxury of a great quarterback rather than requiring that QB to make up for the deficiencies in the roster that result from paying one player an enormous sum. The time to win in Houston is now. The only thing there is is now, yet the team instead made a pick for the future.
Howard will probably become a starting tackle for Houston eventually, and that’s exactly why last night’s selection was a bad one.