I thought all of this is over, but it never stops. There are more grades to be read and debated. This time, it’s from ESPN Insider, where Mike Sando talked to NFL execs, evaluators and coaches throughout the league to come up grades for each squad.
Rebuilding the offensive line was the Texans’ overriding responsibility this offseason. They did that by signing veteran tackle Matt Kalil before using first- and second-round picks for tackles Tytus Howard (23rd overall) and Max Scharping (56th).
”I think they improved,” an evaluator said. “Guys they added in the draft come from smaller schools and are not sexy names, but they are good football players. Tytus Howard is raw and it might take him a while, but once he gets it, he has a chance to be as good or better than than any tackles drafted by anyone else.”
That might soften the sting from Philly leapfrogging Houston in the first round to select tackle Andre Dillard.
Execs thought the Texans would suffer without defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who signed with Kansas City. They also wondered what the future might hold for franchise player Jadeveon Clowney. Some thought a trade could still be in the works if a long-term deal is elusive.
”I would guess there was a point in the past when they thought J.J. Watt might be done, so they would pay Clowney and move on from Watt,” an exec said. “J.J. has come back at a higher level than most of us expected. Now, they have both of them and have to rebuild the offensive line, which is why you can throw out that best-player-available talk in the draft. Sometimes, the cap and your payroll force you to draft need.”
Loading up on line prospects in the draft was the cheaper alternative to paying top dollar for veteran free agents.
”When you sign those veteran guys, you could be drafting their replacements in two years anyway,” an exec said.
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