Last week we discussed draft grades until our tongues turned orange, our gums blabbered away to elongated teeth, and the letters of the alphabet became something bewildering, totally strange. I have one more set of draft grades for you, loyal reader. I promise this will be the last one.
Dan Parr, professional football writing man at NFL.com graded each division. For the AFC South he gave the Tennessee Titans an A, the Indianapolis Colts a B+, the Jacksonville Jaguars a B-, and your Houston Texans a C-. This is what he had to say about the Texans:
MOST SURPRISING PICK: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Houston Texans, Round 1, No. 23 overall
Look, Howard has a chance to be a very good player, but the action around Picks 22-23 was unexpected and it seems like the Texans came out on the wrong end of that sequence. Here’s how it went down: The Eagles swooped in, trading up to take the top tackle in the draft (Andre Dillard) one pick before Houston -- which needed a tackle as badly as any team in the league -- would be on the clock. Stake through the heart for the Texans. Ouch. But hey, they also had a need at corner and none had been drafted yet so that’s not so bad ... right? Except, well, instead of doing something like that or working out a trade down (or trading up for Dillard earlier!), the Texans got locked in at No. 23 and took a player in Howard who most likely would have been available to them well into Round 2. He was 50th in both Jeremiah and Brandt’s rankings and wasn’t sniffing the first round in the final mocks posted to NFL.com. So, yeah, the pick was a surprise, but not the kind Texans fans had hoped for heading into the draft.
BIGGEST SLEEPER: Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State
Houston Texans, Round 3, No. 86 overall
Kahale Kuio Kalani Michael Wodehouse Warring (that is his full name) is still relatively new to football. He starred in water polo, basketball, cross county, swimming, soccer and tennis in high school before taking his talents to the gridiron in his senior year. Originally a walk-on at SDSU, his combination of size and athleticism has made him the darling of some in the scouting community. We’re in full agreement that the upside here is intriguing, and well worth the 86th overall pick. This is a 6-foot-5, 252-pounder with 4.67 speed who has shown the kind of flashes that make teams think this is the next special athlete at the position who won’t cost a first-rounder. He’s going to need some time to develop, especially as a blocker, but if it all comes together, Warring could be a Pro Bowler in a couple years.
Houston Texans C-
We’re all in agreement that the Texans had to make protecting Deshaun Watson the focus of their draft after he was sacked a league-high 62 times last season. Unfortunately, the Eagles knew that, too, and beat Houston to the punch. Yes, Philly traded one spot ahead of the Texans in Round 1 to land the draft’s top tackle, Andre Dillard. That stings, and Houston should have seen it coming. The Texans could have traded up for Dillard and no one would have argued with spending a little extra draft capital to fill such a monumental need, but instead they ended up with what seems like a reach in Howard at No. 23 -- he was ranked as the 50th-best prospect by both Jeremiah and Brandt. You like the upside with Howard, a former quarterback ( yes, really), but you just wonder about the value. Bill O’Brien has to hope the Alabama State product and second-rounder Scharping develop and do so more quickly than some expect or this draft could go down as an epic fail. That said, I like the Johnson and Warring picks. Johnson’s size and length are his calling card. He had a great Senior Bowl week. Warring is going to need some time to acclimate and work on his blocking, but his athletic traits are tantalizing. Omenihu was a nice value in the fifth round. I’m puzzled and intrigued by this group.
Another person who is befuddled by the Texans draft. Nothing new here, but the analysis and the praising of the Warring selection is different. You can read what Mr. Parr said about the rest of the AFC South here.