DRAFT GRADE: Houston makes most of limited options in 2020 NFL Draft

Sports

Houston takes safe route with just five picks

HOUSTON PICKS

Round 2, Pick 40: TCU DT Ross Blacklock

Round 3: Pick 90: Florida OLB Jonathan Greenard

Round 4, Pick 126: North Carolina OL Charlie Heck

Round 4, Pick 141: Penn State CB John Reid

Round 5, Pick 171: Rhode Island WR Isiah Coulter

OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: B

Texans GM and Head Coach Bill O’Brien needed a solid draft to reinvigorate a fan base that saw Deandre Hopkins walk out the door for next to nothing. The question is: How do you have a great draft with one second rounder and five total picks overall?  

For starters, The Texans filled an immediate need—The defensive line. J.J. Watt isn’t getting any younger, and any good defense starts with the front seven. TCU DT Ross Blacklock brings physicality and versatility to the interior line at Pick 40. (Yes, this is the pick the Texans received from the Cardinals for Hopkins, but let’s not think about it.) Despite having a massive upside, Blacklock did miss the entire 2018 season with a torn Achilles. Injury aside, Texans fans are getting a great prospect.

The defensive mindset didn’t stop there. Bill O’Brien and company followed up their second- round selection with Florida OLB Jonathan Greenard and Penn State CB John Reid. Greenard is an intriguing prospect, having played multiple positions in the front seven during his time at Florida. If Bill O’Brien can find a good fit for the young linebacker, Texans fans will look back on this pick as a big win. Meanwhile, Reid won’t offer tangible measurables, but his football savvy and in-game intelligence give him a decent upside.

With defensive reinforcements on the way, Houston turned its attention to the offense. Aside from a late boom-or-bust wide receiver in the fifth round, the Texans big offensive pick fell to North Carolina OL Charlie Heck. The son of former NFL OL Andy Heck, the Texan’s third-round selection looks the part, standing at a massive 6’8, 311 pounds. No specific attribute jumps off the tape when talking about talent, but Heck does offer some support to an offensive line that hasn’t kept Deshaun Watson upright since he walked in the building.

Overall, Bill O’Brien and the Texans faced an uphill battle in the 2020 NFL Draft. With only 5 picks and plenty of holes to fill, Houston focused on versatile, defense-oriented prospects and a much needed offensive-line prospect. No single pick jumps off the page, but each one offers decent upside and immediate support. Like the doctor in that one AT&T commercial, the Texans draft could be chalked up as “just okay.”

INDIVIDUAL DRAFT GRADES

Round 2:

Pick 40: TCU DT Ross Blacklock | Houston Texans

GRADE B+: Most Texans fans could make the argument that Bill O’Brien needed to focus on making up for the Deandre Hopkins loss with an offensive pick. Most Texans fans aren’t in the draft room.

Blacklock helps rebuild what was once one of the great defensive lines in the league. At the defensive tackle position, Blacklock will be a force from the start, with plenty of room to improve into an absolute force. At TCU, the Houston’s first selection was already a force to be reckoned with, despite playing in a scheme that didn’t particularly fit his style. Get him in the right scheme, and enjoy the show.

Round 3:

Pick 90: Florida OLB Jonathan Greenard | Houston Texans

GRADE B: From a productivity standpoint, Florida OLB Jonathan Greenard was a force in his lone season with the Gators. He led the SEC with 10 sacks and 16 tackles for a loss. The numbers are impressive to say the least, but scouts have questioned his speed at the pro level. He ranked below average in closing and top-end speed at the NFL combine. However, what he lacks in speed, he makes up with versatility. Greenard can put a hand in the dirt as an edge rusher or back into coverage as a traditional linebacker. If Bill O’Brien can find a good fit, Greenard could prove a worthy pick in the third round.

Round 4:

Pick 126: North Carolina OT Charlie Heck | Houston Texans *via Los Angeles Rams*

Grade B: Deshaun Watson may have help on the way. After Bill O’Brien locked up OL Laremy Tunsil on a record-setting contract, the Texans take to the draft to bring in additional reinforcements.

North Carolina OT Charlie Heck is no stranger to the NFL, following in his father Andy Heck’s footsteps as a pro offensive lineman. At 6’8, 311 pounds, Texans fans will love his size. He is technically sound and can play on both sides of the QB. The problem lies with Heck’s inability to shine in one particular area. He struggles to get leverage in pass protection and he doesn’t come off the tape in run blocking. With NFL lineage, Texans fans can rest easy knowing Heck will be ready to learn, but, for now, he adds depth to a much-needed position with okay potential.

Pick 141: Penn State CB John Reid | Houston Texans *compensatory from MIA*

Grade B-: The Texans take care of the front seven with two early picks. Now, they address the defensive backfield. Penn State CB John Reid won’t intimidate with size. At 5’10, 187 pounds, Reid played his game with speed and intelligence. A 4.49 40-yard dash time coupled with a mind that earned him an impressive technology-based internship with Blizzard Entertainment led to his success on the field in pass protection and tackling. However, success can be measured in a number of different ways, and two interceptions coupled with just 8 passes defended in 2019 won’t thrill the average fan. It’s a good pick, but Texans fans may have a hard time feeling this is a home run at pick 141.

Round 5:

Pick 171: Rhode Island WR Isaiah Coulter | Houston Texans

Grade B+: Texans fans, REJOICE! Your DeAndre Hopkins replacement has arrived!

Not actually, but Rhode Island WR Isaiah Coulter is a fascinating prospect. He definitely looks the part. At 6’2, 198 pounds, Coulter has the size, strength and 4.4 40-yard-dash speed to play with any competition. The only problem is he hasn’t played with very much competition. At Rhode Island, Coulter got away with pure athleticism, which translated to very “raw” route running at the combine. Regardless, a skill position pick at 171 is supposed to be a high risk move, and Coulter has the measurables to be a big-time player if he can reach his potential.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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