The 2018 NFL Draft is just days away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Houston Texans 2018 NFL Draft profile.
The Houston Texans started off the 2017 season very exciting. They may have been 3-4 through their first seven games, but rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was definitely something special to watch for Texans fans.
Then things began to crash and burn for the Texans from there. Watson tore his ACL in practice and missed the rest of the season. The Texans went 1-8 in their last nine games without Watson to finish the years with a 4-12 record.
Overall, the Texans offense finished 20th in total yards, 17th in points, 21st in passing yards and 14th in rushing yards. Keep in mind that Tom Savage was the starting quarterback for over half the season. Lamar Miller took the majority of the snaps at running back, finishing with 888 yards and three touchdowns in his second season in Houston.
The defense, which ranked third in the NFL in 2015, really took a dive last season. Houston finished 20th in yards allowed while allowing the most points. The Texans also finished 13th in rushing yards allowed, 24th in passing yards allowed, 23rd in sacks, 20th in interceptions and 27th in passes defended. The defense definitely missed J.J. Watt.
Watt will hopefully be back at full strength. Watt has struggled to stay healthy, playing in just eight games in the last two seasons combined. Watt had 38 total sacks in 2014 and 2015 when he was fully healthy, leading one of the top defenses in the NFL. The Texans could really use that in their pass rush.
Things are really looking up offensively for the Texans in 2018. It appears the Texans have found their franchise quarterback in Watson, who will be back at full strength. Watson threw 19 touchdown passes in just seven games. Imagine how many he can throw in a full season, especially since he has one of the best wide receiver duos in the league to throw to in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
It is a wonder head coach Bill O’Brien has had this much success already in his time in Houston. In four years, O’Brien has gone through nine different starting quarterbacks, but has still won 31 games and made two postseason appearances.
The Texans have lacked a good quarterback since joining the NFL in 2002. Things are looking up for this franchise.
Picks and needs
The Texans have eight picks in this draft, but none are in the first or second round. Both were traded to the Browns.
However, they have three picks in the third round. The Texans will have to make those picks count.
First round (0 picks):
Second round (0):
Third round (3): 68, 80, 98
Fourth round (1): 103
Fifth round (0):
Sixth round (3): 177, 211, 214
Seventh round (1): 222
Offensive line – Houston definitely needs to provide protection for a young, talented quarterback like Watson. Trading Duane Brown last year leaves a huge hole at left tackle. However, it is going to be tough to find a great replacement for him in the third round.
Defensive back – This defense allowed more points than anyone in the NFL last season and a lot of it had to do with the pass defense, which allowed the second most passing touchdowns. In a pass-first NFL, the Texans will need to put a stop to all the damage that was done to them through the air.
Defensive line – The run defense ranked in the middle of the pack, but not the pass rush. With Watt unable to stay healthy for the past two seasons, Houston should look for a potential replacement or at least some depth on the line.
Here is a list of players the Texans can realistically target with their first three picks.
Pick No. 68: Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU
Noteboom is not the ideal replacement for Brown, but he might be the best available tackle at pick 68. Noteboom is durable, as he has not missed a game since redshirting in 2013.
Noteboom has nice size at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds with room to build. He is very athletic, shows good technique and uses his hands well. He flashed a lot of promise at the NFL combine and Senior Bowl as well.
Noteboom needs to be more consistent moving forward though. He may not be able to replace Brown right away, but could develop into a solid starter in a few years.
Pick No. 80: Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
Dawson just capped off his career at Florida with a great senior season. Dawson started every game and collected 34 tackles, nine pass breakups and a team-high four interceptions. He also earned All-SEC honors for his efforts. He definitely impressed after playing alongside some great defensive backs in Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson in his first few seasons.
Dawson plays well in man and zone coverage, and his strong build helps him wear down receivers. His 4.46 40-time is respectable, and his intelligence is also a plus. Dawson will provide much-needed help for the Texans’ secondary.
Pick No. 98: Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State
With Watt’s long-term health in question, the Texans can take Holmes to be a potential replacement, or at least provide depth to the line.
The Buckeyes were rich in talent on the defensive line last year with players like Nick Bosa, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard, and Holmes is no exception. The 6-foot-5, 283 pounder has experience playing all over the line as well. He shows potential to be a solid bull rusher in the NFL with his length and power and could continue to improve his strength at the next level.
The Texans do not have much to work within this draft. However, three picks in the third round can provide depth for the team at best. With Watson fully healthy, things are looking better for the Texans in 2018.
That concludes our 2018 NFL Draftmas! Be sure to tune in for our final mock draft on Wednesday and the official draft on Thursday!