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NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Grades: Houston Texans

2020 NFL Draft grades: Houston Texans
Photo Credit: USA Today SPORTS

After three days and 255 selections, the 2020 NFL Draft is complete. The annual selection meeting is arguably the most important way of constructing a winning roster in the NFL. Selecting the right players in April can pay dividends not just in the upcoming season, but for many seasons to come.

Not every team will have the same level of success from the NFL Draft. However, they all have an equal chance of a selection to be boom or bust. So who were the winners and losers of a unique 2020 NFL Draft? Our series of draft grades continues with the Houston Texans.

Who did the Houston Texans draft?

Best Player: Ross Blacklock

With the selection that they received from the Arizona Cardinals in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, the Texans selected a hometown hero in Ross Blacklock. The defensive lineman played his college football in the state of Texas for TCU, and his father is in the University of Texas Hall of Fame.

Blacklock should be able to come in and provide an immediate impact for the Texans. The once-feared defensive unit was a shadow of its former self in 2019, which has since seen D.J. Reader exit to the Cincinnati Bengals.

He brings a pass-rushing presence to the interior of the defensive line. His quickness and athleticism are reminiscent of a defensive end, but he has still been successful in getting the job done up the middle. Blacklock was productive in the two full seasons he played at TCU, earning honors as a freshman in 2017 and 2019 as a member of the first-team All-BIG 12.

Best Value: Charlie Heck

If you define value by a player being drafted below their draft projection, it’s difficult to look at the Texans draft grades for 2020 and find any true value. Aside from Ross Blacklock, who saw some first-round buzz in a number of mock drafts, most players were drafted around or below where you would expect them to go.

The value with Charlie Heck comes in the form of his versatility. He started every game at right tackle in 2018, then effortlessly switched to left tackle in 2019. That positional versatility will allow the Texans to use him as a swing tackle, effectively solving two positional needs with one player.

Heck has a strong family heritage in the NFL, with his father being a first-round selection in the 1989 NFL Draft and a longtime offensive line coach.

Biggest Reach: John Reid

Let’s begin with some positives. The Texans had a glaring need fill at the cornerback position, and they managed to find a cornerback in the form of Penn State’s John Reid. The Nittany Lions had a strong 2019 campaign, with the defense being the highlight of a surprising playoff run. Reid brings a passion and football I.Q. to the game that is undeniable.

However.

Most NFL Draft analysts had, at best, a sixth-round grade on Reid. Our own Tony Pauline had an undrafted grade on him. At the time he was selected, there were several better cornerback options on the table. Bryce Hall, Kindle Vildor, Harrison Hand, and A.J. Green were all available when the Texans used their fourth-round selection on Reid.

Reid lacks the true size and speed to be able to compete effectively at a high level, and as such, a fourth-round selection was a significant reach by the Texans.

Biggest Sleeper: Isaiah Coulter

Isaiah Coulter was one of the biggest sleepers at the wide receiver position in the NFL Draft, so it will be no surprise to find in as such in the Texans draft grades for 2020.

The Rhode Island receiver made a name for himself in NFL circles with an impressive showing at the NFL Combine. Coulter showcased his speed in the 40-yard dash, positing an electric 4.45 time. He also looked at home competing against the bigger name receiver prospects in the receiver drills.

As a senior at Rhode Island, he surpassed 1000 receiving yards, becoming only the seventh player in the program’s history to pass that mark.

Coulter is an intriguing talent who’s speed, and athletic ability could see him become an NFL starter faster than you might expect from a fifth-round selection.

Draft Grade: D

After some questionable trades in the last few months by the Texans’ front office, and by the front office, I mean Bill O’Brien, Houston was extremely limited going into the NFL Draft. They needed to use the small amount of draft capital they had effectively, and unfortunately for Texans fans, their 2020 Draft grade is one of the worst in the league.

The Texans had glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball after finishing in the bottom ten across several defensive metrics in 2019. Creating pressure on the quarterback was a major need, with only the Miami Dolphins having created fewer quarterback pressures last year.

The Texans draft wasn’t an overwhelming success

Blacklock was a solid addition. However, if the overall aim is to come out of the draft better than when you came in, then you don’t get the overwhelming sense of achievement in the Texans’ draft. Reid isn’t the cornerback addition that will help lock down a questionable secondary, and Jonathan Greenard comes with significant injury concerns.

The Texans come out of the draft and off-season as a whole, with more questions than answers, and that is reflected in the Texans 2020 Draft grade.

The motto of the NFL Draft is “The Future is now.” For the Texans, the future is uncertain.

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