The Houston Texans have seven picks in the 2019 NFL Draft including four within the first 100. The Texans should be able to fill offensive and defense holes with this draft’s depth.
Houston had quite a rebound during the 2018 season after finishing 4-12 in 2017. The Texans finished first in the AFC South with an 11-5 record and were the third seed in the AFC playoffs. The defense continued to dominate led by edge rushers J.J. Watt and Ja’daveon Clowney.
The offense made major strides with quarterback Deshaun Watson playing all 16 games this season compared to seven games after tearing his ACL during in 2017. He threw for 4,165 yards and a 26/9 touchdown to interception ratio during the regular season. He was able to take the offense to the next level. Using some of the team’s draft capital to bolster the line and add offensive weapons is key for the Texans to progress.
How are the Texans going to do this? Using Fanspeak’s mock draft simulator, I ran through Houston’s seven draft picks. My results are below.
Team Needs: OT, G, CB, S, EDGE, RB
Round 1, Pick 23: Taylor Rapp | Safety | Washington
Houston had the secondary decimated at the start of free agency. Safeties Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Jackson, and cornerback Kevin Johnson have signed with different teams while the Texans have re-signed free-agent CBs Kayvon Webster or Shareece Wright yet.
However, Houston did sign CB Bradley Robey from the Denver Broncos and free safety Tashaun Gipson from the Jacksonville Jaguars to start rebuilding that depth.
But what about the other side? With Mathieu headed for Kansas City, Taylor Rapp out of the University of Washington is a solid choice to take over at strong safety. Rapp excels in his tackling and run support and thrives in the box. While his coverage in open space has not been the best, due to his size and ability to play through contact. He will find most of his success covering tight ends, blitzing or in split zones when the QB drops back to pass.
Round 2, Pick 22: Joejuan Williams | Cornerback | Vanderbilt
The first of Houston’s back-to-back second-round picks. After surveying what was still available I decided to fill out the secondary with JoeJuan Williams out of Vanderbilt. With rare size for a cornerback at 6’2″ and 208 lbs, Williams is a developmental pick with exceptional mental processing and awareness.
He struggles to get his head around at times but uses his size well to limit throwing windows and does well to stay in the hip pocket of the receiver. If his technique can catch up to his physical ability he could easily become a solid number two CB for the future of the Texans secondary.
Round 2, Pick 23: Yodny Cajuste | Offensive Tackle | West Virginia
Houston has not had a great time with the offensive line, especially at tackle. Enter LT Yodny Cajuste from the University of West Virginia. An absolute bull off the line, Cajuste dominates with his power at the point of attack and creates gaps and lanes for his running backs.
Cajuste has some limitations in pass protection but between his strength and great football IQ on the line he could be starting on opening day for the Texans at LT.
Round 3, Pick 22: Damien Harris | Running Back | Alabama
At this point, my decision at this point in the 2019 NFL Draft was based on BPA and I decided to add another option to the Houston offense. The Texans currently have a quality starting running back in Lamar Miller, who is entering his fourth year with the team. However, with backup RB Alfred Blue becoming a free agent, Houston needs to address the depth of the RB room.
Damien Harris from Alabama would be a great fit for the Texans. Harris is yet another quality bruising RB head coach Nick Saban has coached down in Tuscaloosa. His pass-protection skills are slightly underdeveloped but he is still leagues ahead of most college RBs. Round three is great value for an RB who can make instant contributions for the offense.
Round 5, Pick 23: Hunter Renfrow | Wide Receiver | Clemson
Another addition to the Texans offense, in the fifth round I selected Hunter Renfrow from Clemson to add an already incredibly talented receiver room. Houston already has, in my opinion, the best receiver in the NFL in Deandre Hopkins and two other explosive receivers in Keke Coutee and Will Fuller.
Renfrow, a two time College Football Playoff National Champion, built his legacy in college football by becoming the definition of clutch. He can catch anything, albeit in a somewhat limited radius, and would be a solid addition to a teams offense in the short to mid range. His weakness is absolutely clear: Renfrow is small. However, in an offense that has quite a few deep and big threats but lacks a pure starting tight end, Renfrow would help in the intermediate part of the offense.
Round 6, Pick 22: Jordan Miller | Cornerback | Washington
The University of Washington has been building long, athletic corners for quite some time and Jordan Miller is no exception. Standing at 6’1″ Miller has great speed running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He is deceptively strong and could easily excel as a press corner.
On top of his athleticism is his length. Miller has arms that can break up the ball no matter where it is thrown to. He does a great job at staying in the receiver’s pocket and uses his length well on the line.
Round 7, Pick 6: Jordan Ta’amu | Quarterback | Ole Miss
In my opinion, this would be the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft. Deshaun Watson is clearly the starting QB and after playing all 16 games this season I’m not as worried about his health. But, he does take an absolute beating throughout the course of the season. A great backup QB is always an underrated position on a team and there have been plenty of examples of a team not being prepared to lose their starter.
Drafting Jordan Ta’amu out of Ole Miss in the seventh-round is taking candy from a baby. He is accurate to all levels of the field in a clean pocket. Ta’amu also has the sound mechanics of a starting quarterback in the NFL. However, he is not ready to start immediately. Ta’amu needs to refine some of the mental aspects of his game, such as picking up pressures pre-snap and how to read defenses more effectively.
To check out other AFC South Mock Drafts, click the links below.