With the NFL Combine closing in, the Houston Texans have to get to work checking out potential fits for the roster and, with a possible two glaring holes at premium positions, the franchise could be out of luck. While the order of importance could be debated, the Texans top two needs seems to fall in the quarterback and offensive tackle positions, more specifically directed to the right tackle position. In past drafts, teams have been able to turn to the draft to find help to fill positions but, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, this is a down year for both spots.
The Texans currently have five offensive tackles under contract in Duane Brown, Derek Newton, Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm, and Laurence Gibson. The questions are clear for the upcoming season. With Newton’s injury from 2016 appearing to be severe enough to keep him out for the 2017 season, along with the up and down play of Clark at right tackle, the questions are starting to mount. Brown remains the one constant, showing he has enough left in the tank to play at a high level at left tackle, but it is the lack of consistency at right tackle is a growing concern.
The lack of depth and top end talent at the offensive tackle position for the NFL Draft is not promising.
“It's one of the few groups that isn't really strong this year,” Mayock mentioned of the draft eligible draft prospects. “I’ve got (Ryan) Ramczyk and (Garett) Bolles one and two. After those two kids -- and when I say that, I've got Cam Robinson as a guard. He could also play tackle, obviously. But I think there is a drop-off after Ramczyk and Bolles. In a typical year, ten tackles go in the first three rounds, and I can't find ten guys that I would give grades to their rounds one through three."
Mayock continued, “I’ve got Antonio Garcia from Troy as my number three tackle. In a normal year, he'd probably be a third-round pick at best. He's a really gifted, athletic kid. But this year he's going to be bumped up into the second round, and who knows from there.”
For the fourth consecutive off-season the Texans have questions at the quarterback position and now they have to attempt to answer that question one more time. The Texans tried their luck last off-season by signing Brock Osweiler via free agency and cutting him a $37 million guaranteed check. The team did not choose a quarterback in the draft because of the move. Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden are both under contract for the upcoming season but the situation is leaving the Texans looking for answers at the position.
Mayock has four quarterbacks with 1st round grades but makes sure to note that they are not ready to help day one.
“I don't have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10,” Mayock explained regarding the position. “It doesn't mean that I don't think there is talent there, because I think there are four quarterbacks in this draft that have first-round talent. In my order that I had for my initial Top 5, it was Kizer, Watson, Trubisky, and Mahomes. All four of them have holes in their game. I don't think any of them are ready to start week one.”
The Texans biggest needs are shaping up to occur in the year in which the NFL Draft talent is seeing a scarcity in those positions which will lead to some interesting decisions for the organization this upcoming off-season.
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