The 2020 NFL Draft is only a few days away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Houston Texans are the subject of today’s profile.
The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2019, with a record of 10-6. Once again, they found themselves hosting a Wild Card Round, this time against the upstart Buffalo Bills. They managed to win the game in overtime after falling behind, earning them a matchup with the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Against all odds, the Texans built a 24-0 lead over the juggernaut Chiefs, before Kansas City exploded for 51 points in the final three quarters. Once again, fairly or unfairly, Bill O’Brien’s coaching decisions were called into question. To add insult to injury, the team saw their AFC South rival Titans move on to the AFC Championship Game.
The past year has been full of strange moves from O’Brien and the Texans. Not the least of which was trading away DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best receivers in the league, for an injury-prone David Johnson. The team would follow that up with a baffling trade for another injury-prone player in Brandin Cooks. That trade robbed them of a draft pick, which they desperately needed after giving up their first rounder for Laremy Tunsil before the 2019 season began.
In one of the odder cases in the draft, the Texans have plenty of needs and plenty of potential. This draft will likely make or break O’Brien as a continued head of football operations for the team.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
The Texans have nine picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
First Round (no picks)
Second Round (one pick) – No. 40
Third Round (one pick) – No. 90
Fourth Round (one pick) – No. 111
Fifth Round (one pick) – No. 171
Sixth Round (two picks) – No. 193, No. 197
Seventh Round (three picks) – No. 240, No. 248, No. 250
Defense – You read that right. The Texans need defensive pieces all over the field. Not that any of their positions are legitimately terrible but none are impressive either. Any defensive pieces would be extremely welcome.
Offensive Line – The Texans saw what they can do when they keep Deshaun Watson upright, and they need to double down. Make the line more imposing, and give it some depth. Enough is not enough here for a franchise that has hardly ever had a good offensive line since its inception.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 40: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
The Texans need to shore up their defensive line, and picking Justin Madubuike would be a great step in that direction. Picking him at number 40 is a small reach, but trading down inside the same round would not be worth the risk of not getting a prospect like him.
He is a raw talent, and needs polish, but if he reaches his potential, it could create a scary defensive line in Houston. Madubuike had 5.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019, with 40 and 45 tackles in those years respectively. Add four forced fumbles and one interception in his career, and you have the makings of a good professional defensive tackle.
Given all of the controversial moves the Texans have made in the past year, as long as the team takes a legitimate need with their first pick, they cannot really go wrong.
Pick No. 90: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
A rangey corner should be near the top of the Texans’ shopping list as well. Bradley Roby was re-signed to a three-year deal, but Johnathan Joseph was (reasonably) cut due to his age and overall decline in production.
Gladney proved in his four years at TCU that he can tackle, and be a ball hawk. In college he collected 146 total tackles, five interceptions and 1.5 sacks. His most impressive stat, however, is his passes defended. In 2018 and 2019 he defended 13 and 14 passes, respectively.
Again, Houston just needs to take a team need here. Unless there is a talent at another position that has fallen drastically, a corner is a very safe bet. Gladney should be available here.
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