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Red Zone Play: The Texans’ 2020 NFL Draft Outlook

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Surely Bill O’Brien can use Houston’s eight draft picks to improve the team, right?

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Now that most, if not all, hope is lost of the Houston Texans greatly improving their roster via free agency, fans are turning their eyes to the upcoming NFL draft, scheduled to happen April 23rd-April 25th without a live studio audience. That is, unless the current COVID-19 situation takes a dramatic turn for the worse.

When Texans head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien gave up the team’s first round picks for the foreseeable future, did he actually flush the team’s chances at draft success in 2020 down the drain?

In looking over the draft pick pool for the entire league, Houston isn’t positioned quite as bad as it might seem. Over the course of the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, the Texans hold eight picks, the 12th most in the NFL.

ROUND (OVERALL PICK)

2 (40TH)

2 (57TH)

3 (90TH)

4 (FROM MIAMI, 111TH)

5 (171ST)

7 (240TH)

7 (248TH)

7 (250TH)

While the Texans have a solid shot at getting a great player or two with their first three selections, odds are (based on history) they can hope for two of those three to contribute. Not to mention there’s very little chance any of those selections will actually replace a player like DeAndre Hopkins or Jadeveon Clowney.

The Texans desperately need to fill the following spots: wide receiver, running back, defensive end, outside linebacker, and cornerback. Knowing O’Brien’s preferences, we can expect at least one mid-tier defensive lineman/tweener linebacker will be in there, as well as a second to third tier cornerback.

Doing that successfully with eight draft picks, none of which happen in the first round, calls for far more wishful thinking than pragmatic hopefulness. Particularly with the Texans’ draft history. This is, after all, the team that drafted Xavier Su’a-Filo, Kevin Johnson, D.J. Swearinger, and Tom Savage. Any expectations that they’ll hit on more than 50% of their first three picks is hardly built on historical proof of having done so in the past.

In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2006 to find a really solid Texans draft class, with Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Eric Winston, and Owen Daniels. The 2019 class might prove to be just as solid when the smoke clears, but we won’t know for another season or two, particularly since Tytus Howard didn’t make it through his rookie campaign, Kahale Warring mysteriously found himself on Injured Reserve, and Lonnie Johnson Jr. hardly played to the talent level of a second round pick.

2018 might be the best class O’Brien has had a hand in, with Justin Reid, Jordan Akins, Jordan Thomas and Duke Ejiofor, but again, the smoke hasn’t fully cleared on them.

Using both 2018 and 2019 as best case scenarios, the odds of O’Brien finding five solid starters in the draft aren’t in his favor.

With the remaining free agent pool thinning, one might deduce that O’Brien has his eye on players that are sitting on another team’s roster, and he’s waiting for them to get waived or dangled in a trade package. But, we’ve all seen how that works out, when O’Brien wanted Duke Johnson Jr, David Johnson and Jacob Martin.

AP

Normally, the NFL offseason is a time of great hope for fans whose team didn’t just win the Super Bowl. But watching the Texans radically mismanage their assets year after year plays more into the bag over head mindset than the bragadocious “my team is going to win it all” mentality.

No matter what happens, at least we’re still fed a consistent diet of things to discuss, whether that diet is actually nutritious for hungry fans or not.

What do you think? Wish the Texans would do more in free agency? Have your hopes and dreams set on a specific player like Tee Higgins, C.J. Henderson or even Chase Young?

Give us your visions of a bright Texans future in the comments below.