The draft process is an utter roll of the dice, and this dice roll affects people’s careers and millions of dollars. Around 500 players each season are either drafted, go undrafted and make a team, or join a squad sometime during the season, but only a handful ever see their career last past two or three years.
All it takes is for one player to be a hit to make an entire draft worth it. Look back at the Texans notorious 2013 draft. DeAndre Hopkins was the only true contributor from that class, but where would Houston be without him? Yes it did feature short-term guys like D.J. Swearinger and Ryan Griffin, but their time in Houston won't amount to anything in comparison to Hopkins. For the Texans 2019 class, the team really needed to hit on an offensive lineman. If they found an All-Pro left or right tackle, similar to Hopkins, they’d probably trade away the rest of the draft to ensure that pick was secured. The Texans took two shots at this by drafting two lineman in the first three picks.
We already know the fate of some of these Texans draft picks from 2019, but much of their careers are yet to be written. The class didn’t start out too hot, but their playing time increased as the season progressed. Even so, who has set themselves up to be a Stud in the league and who will be a Dud? Let’s find out...
Stud: Tytus Howard
It’s pretty early to call him a hit, but from what we saw in the few games he was healthy he looked to be a first-round caliber selection. He’s a mammoth of a human being with the most fluid feet on the offensive line. Once his technique catches up there should be a major step in improvement. His injury created a see-saw battle between Roderick Johnson and Chris Clark at right tackle. Although he’s built and plays more like a left tackle, Howard should start at right tackle for many years to come.
Dud: Lonnie Johnson
As we saw with Kareem Jackson, just because a cornerback has a rough first year doesn’t mean they cannot play in the NFL. Johnson was thrust into the spotlight early once the Texans made several surprising roster moves which sent free agent veterans packing. Johnson is built to be an outside corner and a physical presence against longer receivers. He is not built to run downfield with receivers running sub-4.3 40s. Opposing offenses found that out real quick. Johnson was picked on at times by opposing quarterbacks, especially the really good ones. Philip Rivers in particular ate Johnson alive. Trust me, I was there in LA. He and Howard have the highest upside, which is probably why they were drafted so high. Johnson has the talent to play in the NFL, but let’s hope his rookie season didn’t shake his confidence.
Stud: Max Scharping
Scharping was a glue-guy on the offensive line. He worked very well in tandem with Center Nick Martin anchoring against bull rushes and passing back-and-forth with complex blitz packages. Him and Laremy Tunsil never seemed to be on the same page though. That will be a major point this offseason. Scharping won’t wow you with his athleticism and won’t be able to mow down linebackers like Colts’ Guard Quenton Nelson, but he proved he can hold his own in the league. Scharping is locked-in at left guard for the next several seasons.
Major Dud: Kahale Warring
I’ll keep saying it. The Texans were expecting to take Jaylon Ferguson with this pick except the Baltimore Ravens swooped and took him with the pick before. In complete panic and without any sense of our depth chart, Houston chose Warring. Warring never made it off the injured list and struggled with a concussion and a hamstring issue. Warring may join the likes of Sam Montgomery and Brennan Williams as mid-round picks who never suited up. Even if he does play, he’s on a path similar to D’Onta Foreman, Louis Nix, Trevardo Williams, and DeVier Posey to play a minimal number of games. He has raw talent, but that steak was put in the freezer all last season. If the Texans keep Darren Fells around, don’t expect much out of Warring.
Stud: Charles Omenihu
As a fellow Texas Longhorn I was surprised to see Omenihu fall to the fifth round, but I was even more curious why we drafted him. It could have been out of desperation after missing out on Ferguson and knowing Jadeveon Clowney was not meant to be here long, but Omenihu doesn’t fit our system. He’s more of a flex interior defensive end than a stout nickel interior defense lineman. It’s the difference between Christian Covington and Everyone Griffen.
Dud: Xavier Crawford
I completely forgot Houston drafted this guy. The cornerback is no longer with the Texans and is already on his third different NFL roster. A cornerback-for-hire is going to be Crawford’s M.O. in the NFL. He’s a tough and small corner who will probably play special teams somewhere in the league, just not cornerback in Houston unfortunately.
Stud: Cullen Gillaspia
Making the game day roster is no joke. Gillaspia was active the entire season and played on basically every special teams play. Utility players such as Gillaspia are hard to come by and can help actually save a roster spot or two. The offense doesn’t particularly call for fullbacks, and he is not talented enough to play tight end regularly, but he's a Bill O’Brien guy who can help this team out in a number of ways. Not bad for a seventh round pick.