Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
RE: Angelo Blackson
LE: J.J. Watt
NT: D.J. Reader
ROLB: Whitney Mercilus
LOLB: Jadeveon Clowney
ILB: Zach Cunningham
ILB: Benardrick McKinney
LCB: Bradley Roby
RCB: Johnathan Joseph
SCB: Aaron Colvin
FS: Tashaun Gipson
SS: Justin Reid
Offensive Line: Although Watson added stress to Houston’s pass protection by holding onto the ball at the NFL’s second-highest rate (2.84 seconds) last season, the Texans’ line did him no favors by yielding league highs in sack rate (10.9%) and QB hit rate (24.1%) and finishing 27th in Football Outsiders’ run-blocking metric. GM Brian Gaine’s lone offensive line addition so far is Matt Kalil, who struggled badly with the 2017 Panthers and didn’t play football last year due to chronic knee injuries.
Cornerback: Sorely lacking speed at outside corner, only three NFL defenses coughed up more completions of 40-plus yards (13) than last year’s Texans. Joseph turns 35 in April, and Roby is playing on a one-year deal. Colvin disappointed in his Houston debut.
Pass Rusher: No Texans need is remotely as glaring as offensive line, but there is room for depth reinforcements throughout one of the NFL’s thinnest rosters. The drop-off from Houston’s starting defensive front to its top reserves is among the largest in the league, and the Texans could stand to upgrade their backfield with Miller continually underwhelming and Foreman coming off a lost year.
Texans 2019 Draft Picks
1 (23). T Kaleb McGary, Washington - Best player available is a myth. If you’re living in reality, you know that draft picks are based on the highest grade available, and grades factor in need either consciously or subconsciously. McGary is a mammoth with plenty of right tackle experience. If he gets his hands on you in proper position, you’re done. It’s over.
2 (54). Acquired from Seahawks in Duane Brown trade - CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple - Rarely do you see a player make the FCS to FBS jump as a graduate student. Ya-Sin instantly belonged and consistently showcased a blend of movement to mirror and stay in phase during breaks and also physicality to disrupt on press situations.
2 (55). OL Michael Deiter, Wisconsin - For an offensive line that has holes just about everywhere, why not add a prospect who has experience playing just about every position? Deiter likely won’t stay at tackle despite lining up there in 2017. His future is on the inside at guard or center, and perhaps taking over for Senio Kelemete sooner than later.
3 (86). RB Miles Sanders, Penn State - I know running back isn’t a top need listed by Evan, but hear me out. Lamar Miller is on the final year of his deal. We don’t know if D’Onta Foreman will return to full health. Enter Sanders, who constantly showcased his skills to make defenders miss in the open field and can aid a team in the running and passing games.
5 (161). DL Michael Dogbe, Temple - Dogbe is one of my favorite third-day prospects. He’s an outstanding athlete who has outside experience but might win more consistently on the inside in the NFL.
6 (195). CB Corey Ballentine, Washburn - One of the more athletic corners in the class who tested in the 96th percentile. He has an easy path to special teams in the NFL while developing as a defensive back.
7 (220). WR Ryan Davis, Auburn - The Texans prioritized the inside passing game last offseason. It didn’t really work out, with Coutee and Jordan Akins failing to meet expectations for various reasons. Davis could operate as a backup slot receiver and is great after the catch.