HOUSTON - Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 NFL Draft promises to be a draft like no other … besides last year’s. The Houston Texans enter with numerous pressing needs and only eight picks to fill them with, so general manager Nick Caserio will need to bring his A-game.
We'll keep you plugged in with boots-on-the-ground coverage of the Texans, who of course do not have picks in the first and second rounds ... but still can, and must, get this right ...
MAY 13: TEXANS SIGN 3 PICKS In addition to the Texans having signed third-round wide receiver Nico Collins from Michigan, fifth-round tight end Brevin Jordan and sixth-round defensive tackle Roy Lopez have also reached contract agreements with the club.
This process should not be excessively messy for Houston, with just five draftees, including third-round QB Davis Mills.
MAY 1: UDFA Mayhem Begins With the 2021 NFL Draft finally over, it's time for the ever chaotic undrafted free agency period to begin. We will keep track of every addition to the Texans roster through undrafted free agency below:
- Damon Hazelton, WR, Missouri
- Marlon Williams, WR, Central Florida
- Carson Green, OT, Texas A&M
- Ryan McCollum, C, Texas A&M
MAY 1: Texans Draft TCU Linebacker The Texans traded up twice to acquire an in-state talent. TCU linebacker Garret Wallow will join Houston's hectic linebackers corps which has seen an extreme makeover this offseason.
MAY 1: Trader Nick At It Again For the second time today, general manager Nick Caserio has traded up. Following their trade up to the 174th overall pick, they have now traded this and the 233rd overall pick to the LA Rams to move up to 170.
MAY 1: Texans Trade Into Fifth Round Nick Caserio has made his second trade of the 2021 NFL Draft, trading back into the fifth round. Houston gave up picks 203 and 212 for the Buffalo Bills' 174th overall pick.
Only ten picks to go until we find out who Caserio had his eye on...
MAY 1: ANOTHER TE The Texans have another tight end in Brevin Jordan (6-3, 247 pounds), who caught 38 passes last season for 576 yards and seven touchdowns. He's a former All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and a finalist and semifinalist for the John Mackey award (given to the best tight end in college football) over the past two seasons.
Miami product Jordan comes via the fifth round, as the 147th overall pick of the draft.
MAY 1: Titans And Colts Add Offensive Weapons The Tennessee Titans traded up with the Carolina Panthers to acquire the No. 109 pick - originally held by the Houston Texans. This selection was used on the 6-2 wide receiver out of Louisville, Dez Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick uses his frame and length to haul in tough catches. He had an impressive pro day but scouts don't feel as though he plays as fast on the field.
The Indianapolis Colts took an offensive weapon of their own in tight end Kylen Granson out of SMU. He's a speedy receiving option but the knock on his game is his tendency to drop catchable passes.
MAY 1: Jaguars Go DT To Begin Round 4 The Jacksonville Jaguars held the first selection of Day 3 and used it to take defensive tackle Jay Tufele out of USC.
At 6'2" 305 pounds, Tufele is known for his ability to make an impact as a run stopper. This is important in a division that features Derrick Henry with the Tennessee Titans.
APRIL 30: Texans Trade Up For WR Collins The Houston Texans have traded back into the third round, acquiring the Carolina Panthers' 89th overall pick. With this pick, the Texans selected Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins.
At 6'4" 222 pounds, Collins will be tough to matchup against and give them a very different outside receiver opposite Brandin Cooks.
APRIL 30: Texans Find Their Watson Replacement? The Houston Texans have kicked off their 2021 NFL Draft with a seemingly smart pick going, for a long-term solution at one spot - rather than an immediate starter elsewhere - by opening the third round with Stanford quarterback Davis Mills at their selection.
By drafting Mills, the Texans look to fortify the future of the position with Deshaun Watson's situation in limbo and bridge vet Tyrod Taylor in place as the starter for now
APRIL 30: Another Pick Another DB For Jacksonville Kicking off the third round, the Jacksonville Jaguars continued to add to their secondary with Syracuse Andre Cisco.
APRIL 30: Titans And Colts Bulk Up AFC South rivals the Tennessee Titans (53) and Indianapolis Colts (54) picked back-to-back in the second round to kick off their second days of the draft.
North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz went to the Titans to, most likely, take over at right tackle with last season's starter Dennis Kelly now in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Indy added another pass rusher after bringing in Kwitty Paye in round one. Vanderbilt's Dayo Odeyingbo comes in to bulk up this Colts front line.
APRIL 30: Jacksonville Protecting Trevor Lawrence Sticking with the Jaguars, with the 46th overall pick Jacksonville added offensive tackle Walker Little out of Stanford. If they are ever going to get the most out of a generational talent like Trevor Lawrence, they'll need Little to pay off immediately.
APRIL 30: Jaguars Add Cornerback Help Houston's AFC South rivals the Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off the first round with coveted QB Trevor Lawrence, and today they got the ball rolling as they announce Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell as the first pick of the second round.
Perhaps Campbell can be the replacement for Jaelen Ramsey the Jags had been missing.
APRIL 30: Defensive Reinforcement Mocked To Texans With Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft just a few hours away, the Houston Texans will finally begin bringing in reinforcements.
In their latest mock draft, SI has the Texans selecting Pittsburgh's defensive end, Rashad Weaver:
"The Texans need a total rebuild on defense. If new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith is installing a scheme heavy on Cover-2 concepts, Houston would desperately need an upgrade in the pass rush. Weaver isn’t an edge burner, but he is a polished face-up pass rusher who can make an early impact."
APRIL 29: AFC South Rivals All Strengthen All three of Houston's divisional rivals have selected their first players of this year's NFL Draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected coveted quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall, potentially securing themselves a franchise quarterback for the next decade. Later at pick 25, Jacksonville stuck with the Clemson connection and added running back Travis Etienne.
The Indianapolis Colts added to their pass rush with Kwitty Paye, who has big shoes to fill with Justin Houston having left in free agency.
Meanwhile, while the Tennessee Titans added cornerback Caleb Farley. This fills a need for Mike Vrabel's team, but Farley is a risk given he's undergone two surgeries since 2019.
APRIL 29: Texans Pick Used For Franchise QB The 3rd overall pick, originally Houston's, went to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 as a part of the trade for tackle Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins traded this pick to the San Francisco 49ers this March, which they ultimately used to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Lance will now look to cement himself as the face of the franchise in San Francisco, battling for the starting job with Jimmy Garoppolo.
APRIL 29: Aaron Rodgers To Denver A Done Deal? Rumors have been rife all day about the potential that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has no intention of playing for the organization again, and it seems maybe the Packers have come to grips with his decision.
According to Mark Schlereth, the former player now a talk-show host in Denver, a trade that would see the reigning NFL MVP heading to the Denver Broncos is "as close to a done deal as it can get.”
Mark Schlereth is on 104.3 The Fan ... and we say coming from the long-time player for the Washington Football Team and Denver Broncos, it has a ring of truth to it.
APRIL 25: TOO MUCH TURNOVER? It's a decent question with an even better answer - we humbly submit.
Our buddy John McClain gets asked about "too much turnover,'' and we agree with his answer. GM Nick Caserio, McClain writes, "was hired to rebuild the team. It’s pretty clear he didn’t like a lot of the roster. ... A lot of the new players won’t be on the 53-man roster, but it’ll make training camp interesting to have so many new players competing for jobs. As for how many new players could start, I can see as many as 10, five on each side of the ball.''
That's an incredible amount of turnover. Too much? Think through to the logical answer: Houston's best way is this way. There would've been benefits to keeping Watt and Fuller, in terms of talent and continuity. But short of that? This was a 4-12 roster. Maybe "continuity'' of 4-12 isn't such a good idea.
The starting lineup, featuring a 50-percent turnover? Again, pretty much unheard of. But status quo wasn't gonna be a go.
APRIL 21: ESPN's NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay released their joint three-round mock draft on Monday morning, moving through every pick of the first three rounds for each NFL team.
Unfortunately, that means only one pick was projected for the Texans, thanks to the Laremy Tunsil trade in 2019.
So what do the 'experts' have planned for the Texans?
A weapon for Deshaun Watson, or whomever else is manning the quarterback spot in Houston in 2021, in Western Michigan wideout D'Wayne Eskridge.
"This is the Texans' first pick of this draft after former coach/general manager traded for Laremy Tunsil," said Kiper. "Eskridge is a slot weapon who will also be a key contributor in the return game."
APRIL 13: IDEAL IDEAS? The game played here by NFL.com - "ideal first-two picks for each team'' isn't as fun when your team's picks are in Round 3 and Round 4.
Still, it's a game.
NFL.com goes this way: No. 67 overall - Rashad Weaver, edge, Pitt, and No. 109 overall, Derrick Barnes, linebacker, Purdue. Weaver, in NFL.com's judgment, "proved his pass-rush acumen as a senior'' while "Barnes is a do-it-all linebacker who could play inside or outside for Houston.''
APRIL 13: NFLDraftBible.com's 'Mock Draft Monday' published a four-round mock draft for every NFL team, including the Texans. Here's what they put together.
67. Houston Texans: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
109. Houston Texans: Tyler Shelvin, IDL, LSU
Takeaways: This is a bit of a counter move compared to the mock drafts Texans Daily has seen recently. The latest from the Houston Chronicle had the Texans taking a cornerback in the third round. Instead, NFL DB has Houston beefing up the pass rush, both inside and outside,
That's not the worst idea, especially with Lovie Smith transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Without a first and second-round picks, the Texans really need to nail it, especially in the third round. Is Ossai that kind of player?
For the third-round? We think it actually makes sense.
APRIL 11: TEXANS PROSPECT TRACKER It would be near impossible to keep track of every single draft prospect the Texans have either been to watch or spoken to one way or the other. That being said, we have done our best to compile a list of all who have had verified contact via pro days, the Senior Bowl, or otherwise.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Mac Jones, Alabama
Marquez Stevenson, University of Houston
Jacob Harris, UCF
Frank Darby, ASU
Shane Simpson, Virginia
Sam Cooper, Merrimack
Robert Jones, MTSU
Payton Turner, University of Houston
Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame
Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State
Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame
Darius Stills, West Virginia
Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
Grant Stuard, University of Houston
Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College
KJ Britt, Auburn
Trill Williams, Syracuse
Darren Hall, SDSU
Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri
APRIL 8: WILL HOUSTON EVER FIND A CORNERBACK? The Houston Chronicle has published their second mock draft of the year and a theme is appearing in their Houston Texans selections.
Last week, with the 67th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, John McClain selected cornerback Tyson Campbell while Aaron Wilson selected cornerback Eric Stokes.
And who'd have guessed it? In their Mock Draft 2.0, both McClain and Wilson have the Texans selecting a cornerback at 67.
This time around, McClain has gone for none other than Georgia's Eric Stokes The 6'1" ball hawk who notched 26 defended passes across three seasons at Sanford Stadium has caught the eye of many this past year, finishing with four interceptions in 2020 good for second in the SEC, while being named First-Team All-SEC by AP.
Meanwhile, Wilson stuck with cornerback and went for Asante Samuel Jr. out of Florida State. A First-Team All-ACC selection with the Seminoles in 2020, Samuel measures in at 5'10" and 180 pounds and brings with him a strong track record of productivity from day one, having recorded 29 pass breakups across 32 games in Florida.
Fun Fact: Samuel's father was a four-time Pro Bowler and twice a Super Bowl champion.
APRIL 5: IDEAL VS. REAL: The Athletic is playing a fun NFL mock draft game: Who will the Houston Texans' top pick be at 67 (in the third round ... vs. who is the "ideal pick.''
We'll do them a favor and rename the exercise, "Real Vs. Ideal.''
The Athletic says "the pick (is) Amon-Ra St. Brown, receiver, USC.
And that the "ideal pick is Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
The logic on Mond is pretty obvious. He's a 6-3, 215-pound draft riser and could in theory be groomed to be the next QB here in Houston, assuming ... well, you know.
The logic on St. Brown? He's Dane Brugler’s No. 11 wide receiver, so he slots about right in the third round, and yes, as The Athletic notes, "Houston needs more help at wide receiver no matter who the quarterback will be after Will Fuller moved on.''
APR 2: CORNERBACKS GALORE After a seemingly endless stream of free agents entered NRG Stadium over the last few weeks, it has left most scratching their heads as to exactly what position the Texans feel they still need to address most in the upcoming NFL Draft.
That being said, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain and Aaron Wilson have released their latest drafts, and with the 67th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft both have the Texans selecting a cornerback.
McClain has the Texans selecting Tyson Campbell of Georgia who, in theory, would be a smart selection. Standing tall at 6'2" 185 pounds, the native Floridian would fit in nicely within a cornerback corps that has its fair share of shorter slot corners in Desmond King and Bradley Roby but lacks outside height.
Meanwhile, Wilson has stuck with Georgia and gone with fellow corner Eric Stokes. Another tall prospect at 6'1" 185 pounds, Stokes' stats are impressive having notched 26 defended passes in three years as a Bulldog.
MAR 11: O, O, AND MORE O? The Texans will have to wait on their picks. But once they get here ... what if they go all offense with their first three?
According to Chad Reuter of NFL.com, that is his mock projection. With pick No. 67 in the third round, he pegs center Landon Dickerson from Alabama. In Round 4 (No. 110 overall) he's got the Texans taking the receiver from Mississippi, Elijah Moore. And then with their second selection in the fourth (No. 123), he says Houston goes with running back Chuba Hubbard from Oklahoma State.
Those picks would fill needs. And if they are also "Best Available''? Fine by us.
MAR 9: TEXANS CUT FULLBACK: Nick Caserio's trimming of the roster continued on Tuesday as the team announced they had cut fullback Cullen Gillaspia.
The 2019 seventh-round draft pick and Katy, Texas native made 23 appearances for the Texans almost entirely as a special teamer. Injuries hampered him in 2020 and they still appear to be an issue as the Texans waived the former Aggie with a failed physical designation.
MAR 8: TWO KNIGHTS IN LATEST MOCK DRAFT: It's no secret that the Texans need an injection of new blood in their secondary, as such Texans Daily's Anthony Wood latest mock draft looks to solve Houston's leaking defensive backfield.
67 - Richie Grant - Safety, UCF
While the Texans appear to have both safety positions locked down with Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson, healthy competition is always necessary. Grant could push Johnson for the starting gig and potentially offer Houston an upgrade at the position. A hard-hitting and smart tackling machine, he led the UCF Knights in tackles during two of their last three seasons. Grant has an eye for the ball and has the potential to be a great value pick at 67.
There are those who think he's the best safety in the draft.
107 - Israel Mukuamu - Cornerback, South Carolina
An extremely aggressive corner, Mukuamu takes no prisoners. He's an imposing figure at 6-4 204 pounds but shows great agility. His size combined with an ability to adjust to the ball that makes him hard to target as he can cover so much space. Would be a solid option as an outside corner.
120 - Cameron Sample - Defensive Lineman, Tulane
Surprisingly fast for a guy of his size, Sample offers flexibility upfront as he's able to line up as a tackle or end. Houston needs depth on the line, and Sample is an intriguing prospect.
146 - Shaka Toney - Defensive End, Penn State
Having finished his Penn State career with 20.5 sacks in 47 appearances, Toney could go some way to filling the gaping hole left behind by J.J. Watt. Just read this stat from Toney's Nittany Lions bio; "Tallied five career games with two or more sacks and seven career games with at least two tackles for loss." Toney would bring pace, power, and athleticism to a Texans pass-rushing unit that needs a breath of fresh air.
184 - Josh Imatorbhebhe - Wide Receiver, Illinois
A rangy target that's extremely elusive and hard to bring down, Imatorbhebhe's tape is a delight to watch, particularly in contested passes. In my opinion, he's being overlooked and underrated, could be a great value pick late on.
Also worth noting, his head coach at Illinois? Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.
199 - Jermar Jefferson - Running Back, Oregon State
A back who can be productive both on the outside or as a bruiser down the gut, Jefferson would be a smart pickup as a third-down back behind David Johnson. Jefferson's not afraid of contact, keeps his head up, and finds space, with a decent burst of pace to make the most of any gaps.
208 - Khyiris Tonga - Defensive Tackle, BYU
Tonga has a physique that would fit well alongside Ross Blacklock at defensive tackle. A prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle, he'd fill a need for Houston and would be a good alternative to P.J. Hall or Brandon Dunn in the middle.
227 - Tay Gowan - Cornerback, UCF
Only feels fitting to start and finish with a UCF Knight. The 2019 PFF Second-team All-Conference corner would give the Texans another rangy cornerback as an outside backup, and by the looks of things, he's got a good head on his shoulders too.
MAR 4: TEXANS FINALLY ON THE CLOCK: It took a while, but CBSSports.com got around to doing a three-round mock draft. And that's a big deal for the Houston Texans because that means they finally get a player — Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.
Taking a player like Stokes would help address an immediate need, as new Texans general manager Nick Caserio opted to release a pair of cornerbacks, Mark Fields II and Brandon Williams, earlier this week. At the moment, the Texans have just five corners under contract.
Some project Stokes as a second-round pick, so the 6-foot-1, 185-pound corner dropping to the third round would be quite the coup. Stokes had four interceptions in 2020, returning two for touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
The Texans, of course, don't have a first-round or a second-round selection this year. Just for the record, this mock had Miami taking LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase with what would have been the Texans' first-round pick (No. 3 overall. With what would have been the Texans' second-round pick, the Dolphins took Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
MAR 2: TEXANS CUTS CONTINUE General manager Nick Caserio has continued to comb through Houston's roster, today releasing cornerbacks Mark Fields II and Brandon Williams.
Fields made two appearances for the Texans in 2020 while Williams was signed to the practice squad in late December. These moves leave the team with just four cornerbacks under contract (five including Eric Murray).
MAR 1: DESHAUN WATSON GETS BACK TO WORK Disgruntled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has stayed relatively quiet on social media since the end of the 2020 season.
However, on Monday he tweeted a photo as he returned to workouts as he prepares for what could prove to be either a very dull 2021 season spent at home, or one on a new team as he continues to emphasize that he does not intend on returning to the Texans.
Given the recent fiasco surrounding former Texan J.J. Watt and his now notorious 'Mitochondria' tweet which was subsequently broken down into countless theories surrounding where he would end up, it likely won't take long for the same to happen to Watson's latest post.
Anyone else spot that navy and red in the background..?
MAR 1: THREE FREE AGENTS SET TO REMAIN According to Aaron Wilson, the Houston Texans are set to retain all three of the franchise's restricted free agents.
Defensive tackle P.J. Hall showed some flashes of his true capabilities during his first season with the Texans, which was eventually cut short by an injury. Former Cleveland Browns tight end Pharaoh Brown was an effective third option at tight end behind Darren Fells and Jordan Akins, while safety A.J. Moore will give the team an experienced option behind the starting duo of Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson.
MAR 1: A SURE THING AT CORNER As the mock drafts continue to pour out, Pro Football Network has been the latest to delve deep enough into the draft to reach the Texans in the third round.
Author Matthew Valdovinos has the Texans selecting Washington cornerback Elijah Molden with the 67th pick. As we had mentioned in an earlier mock draft of our own, Molden is about as safe a pick as you'll find this late in the draft having allowed just two touchdowns in four seasons, as well as being PFF's highest-graded slot defender in this year's draft class.
FEB 24: ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST General manager Nick Caserio has continued to clean house by releasing defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.
A former third-round pick with the then Oakland Raiders, Vanderdoes, 26, played three games for the Texans in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season.
Meanwhile, after being released by Houston on Tuesday, linebacker Peter Kalambayi has cleared waivers.
FEB 24: A SAFETY STEAL? Names mocked to Houston in Round 3 don't offer the same fun as is being experienced in other NFL cities ... unless a steal awaits at No. 67.
The San Diego Union Tribune foresees just that, as it mocks Richie Grant, S, Central Florida, to the Texans.
"The Texans entire defense needs to be overhauled, but their defensive backfield especially needs an influx of talent. Grant’s ball skills are impressive — 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered in three seasons as a starter — and he was a standout during Senior Bowl week. He’s one of the top prospects in an underrated safety class.''
A Dane Brugler suggests, the author is right - he's a top prospect. Most experts think he's the second-best safety in the draft, and likely a second-round pick.
Houston could use a break. Richie Grant in Round 3 represents that break.
TUESDAY FEB. 23: FREE AGENCY KICKING OFF General manager Nick Caserio has begun to put together his 2021 roster, first by re-signing running back Dontrell Hilliard on Monday, followed by fellow back Buddy Howell and cornerback Cornell Armstrong on Tuesday.
All three were signed to one-year deals, with each likely looking at fighting for special teams/backup spots for next season. Hilliard and Armstrong both signed $1.25 million contracts, with the specifics of Howell's currently unknown.
The Texans also released two veterans on Tuesday in guard Senio Kelemete and linebacker Peter Kalambayi.
SATURDAY FEB. 20: SHORING UP THE DEFENSIVE LINE: Anthony Wood of Texans Daily brings you our latest 2021 Mock Draft...
67 - Elijah Molden - Cornerback, Washington
The Texans need starters at cornerback and Molden is as sure a thing as any in this draft. An All-Pac-12 first team member in both 2019 and 2020, Molden has allowed just two touchdowns in four seasons in Washington, per PFF. Primarily a slot corner with excellent agility and a strong ability to read the game, Molden’s arrival would allow the Texans to leave primary corner Bradley Roby on the outside where they need him most.
107 - Daelin Hayes - Defensive Lineman, Notre Dame
With J.J. Watt gone the Texans need bodies on the defensive line. And while Hayes is not the finished article, he would be a solid rotational option alongside a veteran acquisition. At 6-3, 258 pounds Hayes has the size and speed to succeed and shows a good initial burst of pace and strong hands he could prove useful rushing the outside in lieu of Watt.
120 - Tedarrell Slaton - Defensive Tackle, Florida
A bruising run stuffer whose presence is always felt in the middle, Slaton is reminiscent of former Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader in build and power. Aggressive and persistent, he would be a smart addition to Houston’s front four, who would allow fellow defensive tackle Ross Blacklock to focus his game on his own strength of pass rushing. That being said, Slaton is more than capable of chipping in here also.
146 - Rhamondre Stevenson - Running Back, Oklahoma
A powerful downhill rusher, Stevenson is surprisingly shifty and extremely hard to bring down on first contact. The Texans have struggled to block on the interior in recent years, and a relentless power back might go some way to churning out the tougher yards when finesse won’t cut it. Not the flashiest back, but you can guarantee his toughness will translate well to the NFL.
184 - Shi Smith - Wide Receiver, South Carolina
A Senior Bowl standout, Smith isn’t the tallest of receivers at 5-10 but what he lacks in height he more than makes up for in agility and aerial ability. Impressive across the field, particularly in contested passes, Smith would offer the Texans depth at a position where there remain question marks going forward.
199 - Paddy Fisher - Linebacker, Northwestern
A sideline to sideline linebacker, Fisher’s game is fast and aggressive. A tackling machine, the Katy, Texas native looks another safe bet and good value in the sixth round. At 6-4, Fisher is an imposing figure who would fit in well alongside Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham.
208 - Robert Jones - Offensive Lineman, Middle Tennessee
At 6-5 330 pounds, Jones has experience playing both guard and tackle. Versatility is key in the league, but particularly so in late-round picks. The Texans need options at guard, and the powerful Jones would be a solid one.
227 - Damar Hamlin - Safety, Pittsburgh
Patience and productivity jump to mind when it comes to our final pick. Hamlin would be a smart selection here, giving them depth behind Lonnie Johnson. Consistently productive, particularly over the past three seasons at Pitt he looks a good value pick.
FEB 10: A PATS TE The Houston Texans don't like the concept of "Patriots South,'' so we won't make too much of an issue of the fact that they've signed tight end Paul Quessenberry ... who spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad last year.
Quessenberry, more notably, is a 6-2, 250-pound Navy man and the brother of former Texans offensive lineman and cancer survivor David Quessenberry.
THURSDAY FEB. 4: DEFENSIVE DEPTH AND A HOUSTONIAN RECEIVER Our Anthony Wood with a Texans NFL Mock Draft, starting with pick No. 67 - Houston's first ...
67 - Jay Tufele - Defensive Tackle, USC
Houston struggled last season after losing star defensive tackle D.J. Reader in free agency. At 6-3 305 pounds, Tufele could be just the guy they need to plug that gap. With the size and build of a more prototypical nose tackle a-la Reader, Tufele is surprisingly quick and athletic. More than capable of getting after the quarterback, his powerful run stuffing ability should appeal to the Texans.
107 - Adetokunbo Ogundeji - Defensive End, Notre Dame
A relentless defensive end with pace and power, Ogundeji's range and persistence were on full display at the recent Senior Bowl. Reminiscent of Texans defensive lineman Charles Omenihu, Ogundeji would be a solid rotational option at a position of need.
120 - Quinn Meinertz - Guard, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Easily one of the winners of the Senior Bowl, Meinertz caught the eye with his strength, aggression, and questionable fashion sense. Coming from division III there will undoubtedly be questions about how he will perform when facing tougher opposition, but his skillset and ability to plow through defenders cannot be questioned. The Texans need options at guard, and Meinertz looks a gamble worth taking.
146 - Reed Blankenship - Safety, Middle Tennessee
A real jack of all trades. He can blitz, defend the pass and stop the run. Blankenship brings energy, a great eye for the ball, and a certain tenacity that should help him succeed at the next level. Throw in his ability as a returner, and the Texans would be smart to pick up a versatile defensive back, especially given their lack of depth at the position.
184 - Robert Rochell - Cornerback, Central Arkansas
Houston's need for cornerbacks is no secret, and Rochell looks like a potential steal. His ability to adjust to the ball mid air and aggressive tackling style are impressive enough, but his glue-like approach to man coverage is particularly fun to watch.
199 - Jaelon Darden - Wide Receiver, North Texas
If you want to know about this Houston native's productivity with the Mean Green, look no further than his bio: "Ranked second in the nation in receiving touchdowns (19), third in receiving yards (1,190) and fourth in receptions (74) during the 2020 season - as of 1/4/2021." Watching Darden, it almost seemed unfair at times on whatever poor defensive backs were tasked with covering him that day, almost like watching a man amongst children. Not the tallest target, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in juice and elusiveness.
208 - Garret Wallow - Linebacker, TCU
Houston need options at linebacker and Wallow would be a great fit. The first-team All-Big 12 member is a versatile playmaker who can produce both in the box and the backfield, he has a good eye for how the play is going to develop. And perhaps bringing in another Horned Frog will help get the best out of former TCU teammate and current Texans DT Ross Blacklock.
227 - Chris Evans - Running Back, Michigan
Had this been written up following the 2018 season, Evans would have far further up the board. However, having been suspended for the 2019 season and a relative non-entity in 2020 for the Wolverines, Evans is a hard one to predict. But there is talent there if coached correctly. His evasiveness and dual-threat ability should earn him a second chance in the NFL, and the Texans could use a strong returner.
Anthony Wood, Texans Daily.
TUESDAY, JAN. 26: DON'T GIVE UP ON ROSS BLACKLOCK just yet Texans fans. The first pick by the Texans and one of the two key pieces in the DeAndre Hopkins trade didn't have a stellar rookie year, but there are things to be excited about.
SI NFL Draft: "Although he started just one game and was inconsistent during his time on the field, Blacklock displayed potential during his first professional season. The rookie is an incredible athlete; however, he must add nuance and technique to his game. With additional coaching and experience, the TCU product may be able to refine his game. Furthermore, the rookie can, for the first time, look forward to a complete offseason with the team. If the Houston Texans’ new coaching staff uses Blacklock situationally as a defensive end on run downs and a nose tackle on passing downs, they will be able to capitalize on his athleticism and talent while he develops into a complete interior defensive lineman."
Not a bad outlook when you consider the struggle to get Blacklock on the field last season. The new coaching staff will hopefully trust him more than the previous staff did, which was not at all.
MONDAY, JAN. 25: POSTINS ON SENIOR BOWL The Texans, along with the rest of the NFL, should descend on the Senior Bowl, still expected to be played on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Alabama. The run-up to the game will surely be different, in terms of COVID-19 protocols. But, the Texans will be plugged in, looking at dozens of players that could be potential draft picks in April.
In fact, with the NFL Scouting Combine now basically canceled, the Senior Bowl may be the last chance NFL scouts get to get real, in-person face time with dozens of potential draft picks in one place before the draft.
Who do I think is worth watching - especially if I've seen the prospect play in person? Here are five players to keep an eye on this week in Mobile. (And by the way, TexansDaily.com has virtual credentials to the Senior Bowl, so keep us dialed up here!)
DB Tre Brown, Oklahoma: He'd be a big-play guy for a Texans defense that is sorely lacking there. I’ve had the chance to see the Sooner in person several times throughout his college career, and his game has grown nicely during his time in Norman. But he showed a knack for making big plays at key times, especially in Big 12 Championship games. He wrapped up his OU career with a game-ending interception of Iowa State’s Brock Purdy.
He’s on the small side (5-foot-10), but he has 4.5 speed and is considered a Top 20 corner in this draft, which means he could be had in the fourth round. That’s good value,
LB Jabril Cox, LSU: I saw Cox when he played at North Dakota State (he transferred to LSU before the 2020 season) and even then he was already primed for the NFL. At 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, he may be undersized. But he proved this year at LSU that he can make plays at the Power 5 level, and I’m betting he can do the same in the NFL. Could he be a third-round pick?
DL Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina: The 6-foot-2, 260-pound edge rusher from the little-known Sun Belt Conference school impressed everyone this year while the Chanticleers were trying to worm their way into the College Football Playoff. The Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year had 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2020.
Some scouts will downgrade him for not playing at a Power 5 school. Watch the film. The guy can make plays. And he won’t cost you a first-round pick, for sure. Does he fit whatever Houston plans to do on D?
OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama: Leatherwood projects as a Top 100 player in this draft, but he’s not going to end up going the first round. He can play guard or tackle, and taking Leatherwood in the third round doesn’t feel like a stretch.
OL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater: A Division III prospect that I’ve seen in person a couple of times. Division III deferred its season to the spring, and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference canceled football entirely, so that allowed Meinerz to prepare to impress scouts this week in Mobile. He’s still a developmental player at the NFL level, but he has all the raw materials you’re looking for to take a late-draft flier, or even snag as an undrafted free agent. - Matthew Postins
FRIDAY JAN. 22: DEFENSIVE NEED With defense in mind, Anthony Wood and Cody Stoots of TexansDaily.com have put together their first of many upcoming mock drafts.
67 - Paulson Adebo - Cornerback, Stanford
Our first Texas native, Adebo opted out of the 2020 season, but his stats from 2018 and 2019 speak for themselves. Over the course of 22 appearances, Adebo notched eight interceptions and 38 defended passes and was named All-Pac-12 both seasons. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, he’s a lengthy ballhawk with good speed and strength in man coverage. And given Houston only really has Bradley Roby to rely on at cornerback, Adebo fills an instant need.
107 - Trey Sermon - Running Back, Ohio State
Duke and David Johnson aren’t the long-term answers at running back for the Texans, Sermon could be. A consistently productive rusher during his three years at Oklahoma and one as a Buckeye, the 6-1 215 pound back is surprisingly evasive for his size. He finished his senior season with 877 rushing yards in eight games, 331 of which came in one outing against Northwestern. With impressive lateral quickness and an ability to find space, he should be able to make the best of an inconsistent Texans offensive line.
120 - Joe Tryon - Outside Linebacker, Washington
Another player who opted out of this past season, Tryon would fill an immediate position of need. At 6-5 and 262 pounds, he’s a rangy rusher with good speed and strength. Between 2018 and 2019, the Washington native recorded nine sacks and 61 combined tackles, also being named second-team All-Pac-12 in ’19. A one-two punch of Tryon and defensive end Charles Omenihu on the right of Houston’s front seven could go a long way to solving their lackluster pass-rushing issues.
146 - David Moore - Guard, Grambling State
The Texans' offensive line has come a long way in the last two years, but the uncertainty around their guards remains an issue. Moore has the size and build of a prototypical NFL guard. At 6-3 and 320 pounds, Moore is another target who has spent 2020 out of football. The Grambling state product stands his ground well and can be dominant in one-on-one power battles. Moore is a bully on the line with good upper body strength and strong hands, as such he has plenty of potential and would be a smart acquisition.
184 - Divine Deablo - Safety, Virginia Tech
A strong tackler whose effective in the blitz, Deablo was a consistent producer throughout his five seasons at Virginia Tech. A team captain in 2020, the 6-3 226 pound senior recorded 206 total tackles in 51 appearances. His hard-nosed approach to tackling would be warmly welcomed in a Texans secondary that has been abused by opponents the last two seasons, and that still desperately needs depth at safety behind Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson.
199 - Austin Watkins - Wide Receiver, UAB
Fresh off of a 1,642-yard season, Watkins looked like a man playing a children’s game at times over at UAB. At 6-3 210 pounds, he’s a big target with good footwork and straight-line speed to match. He’s a sleeper pick who could give the Texans depth on the outside, someone they could’ve leaned on heavily after Will Fuller was suspended in 2020.
208 - Carlo Kemp - Defensive Lineman, Michigan
A 6-3 286 pound defensive lineman who could fit well alongside Ross Blacklock, Kemp is similar to both Blacklock and Omenihu in his versatility and size. As such, this Michigan team captain would work well as a rotational option on the Texans’ line. An academic All-Big 10 honoree his final three years, Kemp would be a smart late pick.
227 - Ambry Thomas - Cornerback, Michigan
Who doesn’t like versatility? A cornerback with experience as a returner, the 6-0 182-pound Wolverine opted out of the 2020 season after three years and 39 appearances for Michigan. With solid ball awareness and agility, he’d be a solid depth option for the Texans.
67 - Asante Samuel Jr. - Cornerback, Florida State
How about some lineage in the secondary? His dad was a four-time All-Pro and played in New England. Nick Caserio obviously was in New England when Samuel was there, so there's a deep connection here. Samuel Jr. is very good in his own right. He was first-team All-ACC in 2020 for a disappointing Florida State team. He fits a man defense and could play right away for the Texans. The team desperately needs help in the secondary and with free agent misses and poor draft picks, the Texans look to turn that around here.
107 - Jonathan Cooper - Edge, Ohio State
Ohio State is almost "Pass Rush University" at this point. They have churned out player after player who is highly touted but it isn't just the Chase Young and Nick Bosas of the world. Tyquan Lewis (Colts) and Sam Hubbard (Bengals) have been mid-round hits from Ohio State. Cooper is a pass rush specialist so he might need to work his way into a role initially, but he can get after the quarterback. This might be too narrow of a focus for this selection, but the Texans need someone who can rush the passer with Whitney Mercilus having declined.
120 - Marvin Wilson - Defensive Lineman, Florida State
Back to the Seminoles for the Texans here. There are far too many questions along the defensive line, and it stands to reason some players are set to exit the team. Wilson can play inside and outside in a variety of roles. He can fill a need from the start if he is healthy and has a good camp. The Texans need some different depth and if Ross Blacklock came around he could pair with Wilson in two years to form a solid portion of the defensive line. If Blacklock doesn't turn out, Wilson will be there to take his snaps.
146 - Patrick Johnson - Edge, Tulane
Johnson tied for the second-most sacks in all of college football. The team will have to project a position for him as most scouting reports drop that nasty word "tweener" on him but he's another deep option for the Texans who, again, couldn't rush the passer. Perhaps his status as a tweener could be turned into versatility for the Texans. Another investment in one of the league's worst defenses.
184 - Josh Sills - Guard, Oklahoma State
This mullet-sporting mauler is something the Texans could use in their offensive line room. There should be some different veterans competing for the guard spots so sliding Sills in behind them and hoping he can overtake them in a year or two is a solid plan. There isn't a lot of depth at guard, so this helps add to one of the weaker spots on the offensive line for the Texans.
199 - Khalil Herbert - Running Back, Virginia Tech
Herbert was college football's fifth-leading rusher for a Hokies team that disappointed. He's a cut-and-go running back that can take almost any carry to the end zone. He won't be a feature back, probably better suited in a rotation or a duo, but he's a skilled offensive player the Texans can trust to just get upfield. Far too often we watched David Johnson dance and fail to gain any real yards. Herbert won't be doing that in Houston.
208 - Myles Jones - Cornerback, Texas A&M
This is a selection purely on athletic profile and the competition he played against. He's tall and long and played in the SEC against some solid wideouts. He isn't amazing at many things but he can help on special teams and hopefully, this lottery ticket can be a starter down the road.
227 - LeBryan Ray - Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Ray is a stout and effective run stuffer for the Crimson Tide. The Texans couldn't stop the run. He is a late-round flier from a top program in college football. That has served the Texans well in the past and is how the team found D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins.