Earlier this week, you, dear and very loyal reader, voted on and made your opinion heard regarding the Texans’ 2019 NFL Draft class. You made your grades and collective, the Texans earned an ‘A’. The experts made theirs and the Texans finished among the bottom of the league. And now, us, the artists in residence, will make ours. These are the grades we give the Texans 2019 NFL Draft Class.
The Texans didn’t utilize the cap space they had this offseason. They switched out Tyrann Mathieu for a better and cheaper option. They added Bradley Roby, and Briean-Boddy Calhoun to one of the worst secondaries in the league. And they made some depth signings bringing in Matt Kalil and Darren Fells. They didn’t spend big to improve their offensive line, and Brian Gaine never added the interior rushing depth he said they needed, because the prices were too much.
In the 2019 NFL Draft the Texans needed to add talent who could play this season. With Deshaun Watson on his rookie contract, and the talent currently on the team, the time to win is now. Houston has an incredible opportunity to take advantage of until Watson is paid $25 million a year. The draft was here to add cost effective talent and fill holes in the roster.
And what did they do? Well, they used their first three selections on players who may be good in two or three seasons, but they’ll need time to stew. Develop. Potential. Eventually. The Texans needed players who could start and contribute this season and they ended up with two offensive linemen and a cornerback who maybe good one day.
That being said, I do think Kahale Warring will walk in and be the team’s best tight end, and Charles Omenihu is a defensive end who can stop the run and has pass rushing potential, something forbidden for the Texans’ front seven unless you’re J.J. Watt or Jadeveon Clowney. Warring will contribute this year. Omenihu has a horde of run stopping defensive ends in front of him. Fullbacks don’t exist.
The problem is the Texans are squandering Watson’s rookie contract. They didn’t spend enough this offseason. They didn’t add immediate talent in the draft for this season at positions where they needed to. They are playing a demonic schedule this year. Who knows if this draft will be good in two seasons, but for this season it’s bad, and it’s even worse considering the stage of the life cycle this team is in right now.
As with every draft, the immediate grade is “incomplete, check in with me in two years because this is a ridiculous exercise”. But in the spirit of the question, I will give it a C-.
The Texans addressed needs, but seemed to take on a lot of guys that are projects and not immediate contributors. Is that what you do when you have at least a competent defense, a good foundation of weapons on offense, a QB on a rookie deal, and a division rival (Colts) who look like they are about to return to dominating this division? I don’t think it is, but I don’t have the experience and knowledge of any of Houston’s or any NFL team’s decision makers. So yeah, I was not happy with this draft, and I’m not typically a draft class naysayer or doomsday prophet. In fact I have liked the last couple of Texans’ hauls... but this year, I am not feeling it. At all. I will be happy as hell to be proven wrong - BUT even if these guys turn out to be great in three years that still doesn’t address the issue of - ya know - 2019 when the Texans really should not have been too far away from a top contender considering the draft capital and salary cap space they had going into the offseason.
As most of us have mentioned, I just have a hard time believing that the guys the Texans selected can make an immediate impact for this season. The Colts have hit home runs these last two drafts and it doesn’t seem like Houston is keeping pace.
But on the other side, the offensive line was such a weak link that even if they just go from the worst line in the league to let’s say... the 8th worst... that is an improvement. Right? It has to count for something.
I would have liked to see them be more aggressive in trying to trade up and get their guy rather than banking on certain players being available when they were on the clock. It’s not my favorite draft and it’s not a great draft. But, they could have done a lot worse.
I have a fair degree of skepticism regarding this draft. I feel it does little to improve the Texans’ situation right now. As a developmental draft I think it has potential and the D+ is more of an indictment of the fact and I don’t really think it’s aligned with what the Texans should be looking for right now, which is immediate contributors.
Also I’m slightly annoyed by the Andre Dillard missed opportunity, the Jawan Taylor skip, drafting a fullback is a dumb and useless waste of draft captial.
I expect Scharping and Warring to contribute this year.
The first three picks all look like we are trying to become competitive in 2021 as all three are developmental picks. We should be playing for 2019. Instead, we got out-played for Andre Dillard and passed on guys like Jawaan Taylor so we could pick a less athletic version of Julie’n Davenport in the first.
Worst of all, we are now relying on Mike Devlin and Bill O’Brien, two guys with no success of developing offensive linemen for the Texans, to turn all four of our major projects - Howard, Scharping, Rankin, and Davenport - into future NFL caliber starters. I think we should consider ourselves to be lucky if one of them becomes average.
We drafted a FB. I don’t care if it was a 7th round pick or not: it was a waste of a pick for a position that did not need addressing. Straight trash.
I absolutely adore the Kahale Warring selection. Charles Omenihu is going to be a fantastic rotational piece with some upside, and he’ll be a significant upgrade over the Dunns and the Blacksons of the team.
Maybe Brian Gaine is like Rick Smith, though while Smith scored in the first, Gaine does his best work in the third?
This week we are hearing confirmation that the Texans did in fact receive a call from the Ravens regarding a trade on the table for the pick at 22 (with the Eagles) one spot ahead of Houston. According to “sources,” the Ravens requested Houston’s 3rd-round pick to move up, but the Texans refused to do it. This resulted in Andre Dillard going to the Eagles, and Houston held their ground and selected Tytus Howard. For this, I was tempted to issue a grade of “D” or “F” as Dillard looks to be ready to start in the NFL this season, where Howard may need more time to be ready as an NFL starter, which means Houston didn’t do everything they could to protect Watson by the start of the 2019 season.
One could argue that Houston was able to secure two offensive tackles—Tytus Howard in the first round and Max Scharping in the third round—for the price it would have cost to move up and get Andre Dillard, and that it was too costly, but the Texans better hope that one or both of these guys ends up being better than Dillard in the years to come, because the look-back “woulda, coulda, shoulda” debates are already being circled on calendars for the next 2-3 years.
It is looking like the Texans are building a team to be more competitive for 2020 or even 2021 with so many developmental projects and an overt effort in free agency to maximize future compensatory draft picks. The 2019 NFL Draft was not exactly stockpiled with talent and may be one of those years where it proves to be an overall weaker class than average, so if Houston’s strategy was to stand pat and take what they could without consuming future resources, I can buy into the longer play. For that reason, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and bump up the grade to a “C-,“ the ultimate representation of mediocrity; which of course the Texans are.
With that, I ask Brian Gaine and Bill O’Brien: “What’s the most you ever lost in a coin toss?”