I don’t know how we did it last year. I honestly don’t. Somehow we made it through the offseason, despite the Houston Texans lacking cap space to find franchise-changing free agents or a draft pick in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
That has changed this season. The Texans actually have their pick. In Mel Kiper’s first mock draft, he has the Texans selecting:
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Houston just fired coach David Culley after one season, and studying the roster he had and the numbers they put up on both sides of the ball, it’s a wonder this team won four games. Here are five stats that caught my eye:
27th in total sacks (32)
30th in offensive points per game (15.5)
31st in yards per play allowed (5.9)
32nd in first downs per game (15.6)
32nd in rushing yards per game (83.9)
The bright spot, of course, was the improvement of rookie third-round pick Davis Mills, who played his way into potentially being the opening-day starting quarterback in 2022, but the Texans have holes all over their roster. I think they’d take Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux here if either fell out of the top two, but Neal could be a 15-year starter at tackle or guard; he played both at Alabama before settling in at left tackle. Houston has Laremy Tunsil at that spot, but a thumb injury forced him out of 12 games this season. General manager Nick Caserio & Co. could take Neal and figure out his best position later, not unlike what the Lions did with Penei Sewell in the 2021 draft.
The Texans already have their left tackle in Tytus Howard, regardless of what happens to Laremy Tunsil; Tunsil, of course, missed the majority of the 2021 season with a thumb injury. Selecting Neal would mean Houston trades Tunsil and moves Howard to right tackle or Neal to right, giving them a top tackle combination without anyone to run or catch the football. I don’t like it. The Texans need difference-makers on their defense, and their offense wouldn’t be that much different with Neal if they added him.
What do you think? Are you all in on Neal? Let us know in the comments below.