No 1st Round Pick hurts Houston’s final Draft grade
The Houston Texans did not have much draft capital to work with and this does impact their overall 2020 NFL draft grade. It was well documented that they would be without a first-round draft pick, essentially selecting Laremy Tunsil in that spot.
Tunsil recently inked a front-loaded 3-year deal worth $22 million a season. Word is that quarterback Deshaun Watson is already in preliminary talks to sign a deal. Getting something done before Patrick Mahomes sets a new high-mark at the position will be beneficial. There was no activity on day one for Houston but here is what Bill O’Brien came out with on days two and three of the 2020 NFL Draft and the subsequent draft grade.
Round 2 – Draft Pick #40: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
The Texans were left without a first-round pick despite moving DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for David Johnson. Houston selected Ross Blacklock with the 40th overall pick they acquired from Arizona in that trade. This is a decent pick-up for Bill O’Brien and the Texans here as Blacklock carried a late round one draft grade according to most scouts.
A 2018 Achilles injury held Blacklock back and capped his development and consistency in 2019. He has flashed first-round ability and can play various spots on the defensive line if needed. This was an intriguing first pick to compensate for the departure of D.J. Reader, especially when other names like Grant Delpit, A.J. Epenesa, Trevon Diggs, and Jaylon Johnson were still available at this juncture. The Texans were patient enough to let Blacklock fall to them despite rumors of possibly trading up into the first round.
Round 3 – Draft Pick #90: Jonathan Greenard, Edge, UF
The Texans continued to focus on defense with their second pick. Greenard is another decent selection here in the third round and his best trait is a no-quit motor. His effort in getting to the passer has been described with terms such as hustle, perseverance, and persistence.
The Louisville transfer had a great single year in the SEC as he led the Gators in sacks and tackles. Add QB hunting to Greenard’s resume as he will be tasked with pinning his ears back in the JACK linebacker role for the Texans.
He also possesses the special team skills the Texans seem to look for in players. Greenard is versatile and can rush from both an up or down position on third down. With some hand technique improvement and mentoring from J.J. Watt, Greenard may develop nicely for Houston.
The Texans second overall selection addresses a pass-rush needy defense that failed the team in the playoffs last season.
Round 4 – Draft Pick #126: Charlie Heck, OT, UNC
Aside from some minor technique issues (leverage/footwork), Heck brings surprisingly fluid movement with long arms in his pass protection. A three-year starter for the Tarheels and son of NFL offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Heck was consistent as ever in his college career and boasts a high football IQ because of his father.
Heck is most likely a developmental depth piece that will see action as a swing tackle while he learns the ropes, but at 6’8″ he brings great length and mobility to an offensive line that could use the help and depth behind Laremy Tunsil. It comes as a bit of a surprise given that Houston selected Tytus Howard and Max Scharping in last year’s draft. It is worth noting that both of those offensive linemen were injured last season. He perhaps becomes one heck of an athlete, but Houston traded up to select him and it feels like a reach.
Round 5 – Draft Pick #141: John Reid, CB, PSU
It didn’t take Houston long to refocus on defense as they selected John Reid in the fifth round. Due to his lack of size, Reid will slide into nickel and slot coverage for the Texans. This comes despite showing the ability to cover well on the outside in college as he started 40 games in college and racked up 7 interceptions and 37 passes defended in the process. Reid is a bit of a ball-hawk and clever in zone coverage while also showing an ability to play man well.
Reid has experience as a return-man and can be a factor in special teams for Houston. A 2017 knee injury is a bit of concern as well as his aforementioned size. His intellect, quick hips, and great footwork combined with natural ball tracking skills, competitiveness, and technique will help him push for playing time right away.
There was considerable talent left in the secondary to choose from in the draft at this point. Houston squandered picks to move up and take Charlie Heck the round before when they could’ve used those later rounds to select safety and corner help without reaching for the PSU product.
Round 5 – Draft Pick #171: Isaiah Coulter, WR, RI
As previously mentioned, Houston moved several late round picks to move up and select Heck in the fourth round. The Texans also decided to select another offensive position with their final pick. With a deep draft class at the position, Houston took aim at the wide-receivers.
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Isaiah Coulter is a 6’2″ wide-out with 4.45 speed. He posted a 72/1039/8 receiving line in his junior year at Rhode Island. Coulter has speed and raw athleticism that translated to great games against tougher opponents. Coulter had solid outing versus stiff competition such as Virginia Tech, UConn, and Ohio.
He’s coming into the NFL a year early, so there is plenty of time for him to develop strength in the weight room. He will also look to polish his route tree. This is a great dart throw for the Texans with their final pick. Both Will Fuller and Kenny Stills are only under contract until 2021. It will be interesting to see what Coulter can pick up from coach and former Texans receiver Andre Johnson. Coulter is a fantastic sleeper pick for the Texans at the 171st overall selection.
Houston Texans Final 2020 NFL Draft Grade: C+
It’s still not clear why the Texans traded back, then gave up all of their late-round picks to trade back up and select Heck in the 4th. Houston drops a letter grade just for that.
But it wouldn’t be a BOB draft if he didn’t leave you wondering a bit. Houston also had very little to work with in terms of draft capital but did a solid job addressing needs early on. I couldn’t be too harsh on them in those regards either. Houston could easily receive a grade of C-, but they drafted to strengthen defense with their first two picks. It was an obvious area of concern that they addressed nicely. It was a solid first draft for BOB the GM, it just wasn’t as good as the rest of the AFC South.
Miles Peacock is a content writer covering the NFL’s Houston Texans and various fantasy topics. He is a regular contributor for the Timeskewed.com and Rumboyz.com fantasy sports websites. Follow Miles on Twitter @FF_Peacock.