The NFL Combine is not only the central location for NFL teams to take a closer look at prospects but also take time to meet with other teams, agents, and find out information on anything heading into 2020 season.
The Houston Texans like all the teams in the NFL are attempting not only to find their next players for their team but trying to talk to as many prospects as they can to gain information.
Here are some notes from the Texans at the NFL Combine through the week.
State of the Texans Notebook
Nickel Cornerback a Focus for the Texans
The Texans are focused on the nickel cornerback market after releasing Vernon Hargreaves, III. The Texans like Hargreaves but did not love him nearly $10 million price tag for the upcoming season. If the Texans are going to pay that type of money in free agency they will look to spend it on Chris Harris Jr. a player that Bill O’Brien has coveted for a while. Also, the Kansas City Chiefs Kendall Fuller and Hargreaves remain on the radar if plans go awry when free agency arrives.
Also, the Texans like what Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson brings as a prospect. The ability to play on the outside, there are thoughts that he can transition to the nickel when needed. Sources point to Robertson’s complete makeup as a player that has the Texans' attention from coverage, play-making ability and not afraid to make tackles.
The Texans feel confident about being able to add an outside cornerback at some point, draft or free agency, but the nickel position is a vital one for them to address.
The CBA Wait for Contracts
Texans waiting in the weeds for the CBA to be sorted out so they can see how the new salary cap will impact their potential cap space. At the same time, they are putting their ducks in a row and making sure they are having discussions with players they want to return in the process.
It is a no brainer that both Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil will return to the Texans. Not a matter if but of when they sign both Watson and Tunsil to new deals to keep then with the organization for the long term. Tunsil’s representatives and the Texans met at the Combine to have talks on a potential deal for the Pro Bowl left tackle. Tunsil’s side is seeking up to 19+ million a year which is not a shock due to being one of the best-left tackles in the game.
‘Jack’ Linebacker on the Shopping List
The Texans' defense is built from a base 3-4 but at the same time can morph into 4-3 fronts on the fly depending on the offensive formation. Also, when the Texans go nickel and dime schemes on defense, the Texans need a player that can be able to put their hand in the dirt and rush the passer.
The defense is looking to upgrade Brennan Scarlett’s spot on the edge opposite of Whitney Mercilus and finding a player that can both rush the passer, set the edge and be able to cover when needed is on their list.
Texans' Culley Admits to Mistake
Texans’ David Culley, upon reflection: ‘I would have taken the penalty’
Texans BREAKING: Tyrod Taylor Out How Long?
Source: Texans' Tyrod Taylor expected to be out four weeks with hamstring strain
Source: Texans Learn Seriousness of Rookie WR Nico Collins Injury
Source: Texans' Nico Collins out three to four weeks
The most important factor of the list is being able to rush the passer with the team lacking in that department last season.
Dual Threat Running Backs Plus One
As the Texans enter the off-season, they have an open-ended question they have to figure out. How will they adjust their running back position for 2020? Duke Johnson is the only constant for the upcoming season while the rest remains unsettled.
Both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller are set to become free agents but their cost could be prohibitive for their long-term vision of the team. Add in the wear and tear for the position, there is plenty to like about this season’s draft class.
The Texans have been working hard to talk and interview dual-threat backs that can help in both the running and passing game. The Texans want all of their skill players to be threats in the passing game to have the defense accounting for every blade of grass.
Of course, there is an exception to every rule. That is where Boston College running back A.J. Dillion comes in. The Texans like what Dillion brings to the table as a 6-foot-3 and nearly 250 lbs. running back. He does not have the best pass-catching skill but his downhill and explosive running style intrigue the offensive staff and scouts. Teaming him with Johnson has their attention and after a strong combine, performance running a 4.53 40-yard dash, 41.0-inch vertical jump, and 131.0-inch broad jump.
The Need for Speed as an Insurance Plan
The Texans understand they need to have a plan in place for the Will Fuller injury situation that has plagued him since joining the league. The Texans are sifting through plenty of options since the start of the draft cycle on players that fit this bill.
The team is not picky, they are looking at both inside and outside options that can push defenses vertical just as Fuller does.
You can follow Patrick for Houston Texans Updates in the following places.
You can Subscribe to the State of the Texans Podcast on the following platforms.