A few days ago, our loyal readers here at Battle Red Blog graded the Texans’ 2020 NFL Draft class, and we posted the experts’ grades as well. Well, now it’s our turn to do the same since the film has been watched, the numbers have been gone through, and the picks have been vetted through numerous scouts and sources we converse with. Here are our grades for the Texans 2020 draft class.
The Texans draft was perfectly fine. I like Ross Blacklock’s skill set, great leverage, pad level, and he’s a jouster on stunts. I just don’t know how that will translate to the pro game as he’s currently constructed. There’s some work to do here. In the run game, Blacklock will need to be a one gap defender, and there are questions if he can rush the passer in one-on-one situations, and collapse the pocket with bullrushes since he didn’t do it much at TCU. I’m just glad the Texans didn’t take Terrell Lewis or A.J. Epenesa with their second round pick. Finally, after all these years, Houston addressed the interior defensive line position.
I love Jonathan Greenard. He doesn’t have peak athleticism but he really understands how to play the game. He should be able to take Brennan Scarlett’s spot at outside linebacker this season, and in sub packages, you can never have enough pass rushers.
Charlie Heck is a fine project tackle to be placed in Mike Devlin’s crappy crockpot. He has some things to learn—hand usage, finishing blocks, second level strength, how to play left—but he has the foundation to be a third tackle, even if his final season at left tackle for UNC in 2019 was disastrous.
If John Reid makes the 53-man roster, it will be because of special teams. He’s already 24. He did a lot of things at Penn State but wasn’t really great at anything.
Isaiah Coulter has a lot of pass catchers to compete with. He’ll probably end up as a practice squad stash unless some other team loves him and scoops him all.
All in all, it was a fine draft, especially considering the fact that the Texans didn’t have a first round pick to begin with.
It’s funny how low the bar was for BOB to look remotely competent for this draft. Hey, look, he didn’t publicly shart himself! AAA+++++ draft whoo!
One problem is that it’s Year 1 of the Laremy Tunsil Buyer’s Remorse Hangover. And if you thought this year was bad, just wait until next year!
The other major problem was the underlying strategy of prior trades, not including the Tunsil deal. Not getting a first round pick for DeAndre Hopkins was just incredibly incompetent.
That said, we got a couple rotational players in Ross Blacklock and Jonathan Greenard, which should help the pass rush to some degree. Charlie Heck might be a swing tackle in the NFL. John Reid is a super interesting prospect in the 4th. Isaiah Coulter in an intriguing developmental project, though I don’t see how he fits on the roster.
The problem, ultimately, is that maybe one of these players is an above average NFL starter, and none appear to be true difference-makers. Time will tell, of course, but this is what happens when you have gutted your roster to only have your kind of player.
There’s a lot of floor here and not much ceiling.
If I were to sum up the Texans’ draft class in one statement, it would be:
“It could’ve been worse.”
BOB did well to address the Texans’ major needs (apart from the Heck pick), drafting IDL, EDGE, CB and WR. The problem with drafting for need is simple—you shouldn’t do it. The smarter teams address needs in free agency and use the draft to add the best players available. BOB opted to do the opposite, foolishly throwing big money at Randall Cobb and Eric Murray, neither of whom filled big positional needs.
This resulted in BOB reaching on every pick except for Greenard, at least in my opinion. I would have liked Blacklock 10-15 picks later. I would have preferred if we didn’t draft Heck at all. I would have understood taking Reid and Coulter each a round later. Nonetheless, no one is perfect. The players are all fine and BOB didn’t fail this draft. He thankfully didn’t take a tight end, quarterback, kicker, or punter.
My grades for each of the picks are as follows:
Jonathan Greenard: A+.
Charlie Heck: F.
John Reid: B.
Isaiah Coulter: B.
I don’t know how to average out letter grades, so I’m just going to give it a B. Again, it could’ve been worse.
BOB did what he needed to do. He filled some team needs, albeit while passing on some higher ceiling players. It’s a strange feeling. Usually, there’s excitement around a new draft class. It’s like getting a new litter of puppies. However, it’s just not there this time.
As is tradition, final judgment will be reserved until two to three years from now. Blacklock, Greenard, and Reid are my personal favorites to produce as rookies. Who knows? Maybe we look back at this class and give them an A.
When breaking down a draft this close to the actual execution of it, it’s hard to gauge the players off anything more than potential. The NFL landscape is littered with high-potential players who never did anything at the next level, and those are offset by players fans and media alike panned when drafted, only to hit the Hall of Fame (if you booed the J.J. Watt pick, you know who you are). Therefore, looking at the draft as a whole is impossible until it’s several seasons in the rear view mirror. As with all things, it’s best to begin at the beginning and the beginning for this draft was the Texans have seven picks, one in each round.
Through a series of dead-horse-beaten moves, Houston ended up with pick #40 as their earliest selection. An argument can be made that Laremy Tunsil is Houston’s 2020 first round pick, but that argument will also have to cover the 2021 NFL Draft, which waters down the value. If Tunsil was a Top 5 left tackle in 2019, this would have ‘slam dunk’ written all over. But he wasn’t. Granted, he was clearly a huge improvement over Matt Kalil, but Tunsil has not yet shown he’s Duane Brown in his prime.
When adding and subtracting all the trades, players added through them, and picks lost, it becomes a wash. Hence the C grade.
The Texans gave up a third round pick for Duke Johnson and then traded for David Johnson, a player with the exact same skillset, this year. Since Bill O’Brien failed to use Duke to his potential last season, it’s hard to imagine he’s going to use both Johnsons to the full extent of their abilities this year. That pick could have landed a player at a position of need instead of David Johnson’s backup.
Then O’Brien traded the 57th overall pick for Brandin Cooks. A.J. Epenesa, Zach Baun, A.J. Dillon, Denzel Mims and Kristian Fulton were all on the board in that range and could have joined the Texans.
Ross Blacklock and Jonathan Greenard have huge upside, but the scouting world is polarized on their potential. They could be steals or busts. Only time will tell.
If you look at the draft in it’s entirety, from where it started with one pick in each round, to where it ended up and how it got that way, it’s a giant F-. If you look at it solely based on what the Texans did over the three days of the draft, it’s more like a B+. Averaging that together and getting a little homeristic about it, I give the Texans a C.
The draft dissonance piece by Rivers McCown is recommended reading on how to grade a draft for those with more roster building curiosity and free time on their hands.