Lance Zierlein has been a fixture in Houston sports for over 20 years. The current radio market sports three major stations. He has been a featured player on all of them at one time or another. You can find him on air on “The Bench” from 7 to 10 AM with John Granato on ESPN Radio 97.5. In 2015, he also joined the NFL Network as a draft analyst and content provider.
We sat down with Lance to talk about the upcoming draft and other issues related to the Houston Texans. It’s obviously early and he hasn’t finished his scouting reports just like most teams, but he did have a few things to say about the quarterbacks that could be there at number two and that is where we started our discussion.
How far apart are Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud as prospects? What would either bring to the Texans if they were selected? Do you have any good historical comps for them?
Young is more consistent than Stroud and plays with great confidence and poise. I also think he understands how to read defenses better than Stroud at this point. Stroud, however, has the size and accuracy and played amazingly against Georgia. With that said, Bryce is out ahead of Stroud if you are okay with the size. Young brings play now while Stroud brings accuracy as a passer. I’m comping Stroud to Jared Goff and don’t have one for Bryce.
Mel Kiper appears to be on the Will Levis train. There are a few others out there. Please talk us off that ledge. The Texans aren’t really considering him are they? Would selecting him end in disaster?
You can’t back Levis off the 2022 tape. It’s not good. However, Mel is also right that Levis had bad OL play and played through MULTIPLE injuries. When I started my tape studies it was full of WOW throws early on, but as the tape moved forward I just saw too many issues with poise, reads, and accuracy. But I respect Mel for sticking with the 2021 tape (which I still think has holes) and backing the traits and arm talent. Remember he had Josh Allen as his top quarterback too.
Who are you liking at number 12? We keep seeing Quentin Johnston mocked there. Is he the top receiver on the board or is there another guy you’d like more at receiver?
I don’t think I like Johnston there. After studying him, I think it is too early. I see him more as a complimentary WR2 but he has way too many drops and needs more experience as a route-runner. This draft has better options at WR on day two in my opinion. I would love guys like Christian Gonzalez, Drew Sanders, or Brian Branch at 12.
Every draft is unique and there are always certain positions deeper than others. Which position do you see as the deepest in this particular draft? Are there other positions where the Texans could take some advantages?
I still have a lot of players to write up so I can’t answer that completely right now, but the tight end position is incredibly loaded with talent this year.
Many of the 2022 rookies struggled under Lovie Smith. Do you think they will perform better in a new scheme or with different coaching? Is there anyone in that group that you think makes a huge leap in year two?
I think ALL rookies need time. I’m not worried in the least but I do think that Stingley needs to prove he can stay healthy and play in a press-man scheme. I love the run blocking potential from Kenyon Green but he’s got to work on his patience and footwork in pass protection. I think both of those rookies take a big step next year. Don’t forget how bad Kareem Jackson was as a rookie and what a good pro he became.
We want to thank Lance again for joining us so early in the draft analysis process. Clearly he and the scouts have a lot of work ahead of them, but there aren’t too many people anywhere that have a better handle of the draft process or where different prospects should be graded than Lance. Be sure to catch up with him on 97.5 and 92.5 FM in Houston and on the NFL Network.