Do The Houston Texans Still Have To Draft A Receiver?
By Randy Gurzi
The Houston Texans went into free agency this offseason with only one proven wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. Most mock drafts have had the team targeting players in the first round of the draft to help add some talent to the depleted position.
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Yet as we inch closer to the beginning of the draft there are a couple new faces ready to line up and catch passes opposite Hopkins. First the team agreed to a deal with the former Jacksonville Jaguar receiver, Cecil Shorts III. Now, the team locked up another former division rival on Tuesday by reeling in former Tennessee Titan wide out Nate Washington.
Neither of these two players are exactly household names, but both have shown promise at one point in their career. In 2011, Washington went for over 1,000 yards receiving and had seven touchdowns as well. Shorts went for 979 yards and seven scores his rookie year of 2012.
Washington, who is 31 years of, lost his role to a younger player in receiver Justin Hunter. Shorts couldn’t stay healthy in Jacksonville and the team decided to move on with other receivers.
Separately the signings seem like depth moves, but combined does it mean the team can look somewhere other than receiver in round one of the NFL Draft?
While most mock drafts out there seem to favor a wide out, there are definitely other needs on the Houston roster as well.Â The main spots that stick out to me are inside linebacker, interior offensive line and tight end.
Interior linebacker wouldn’t be a huge need if not for the health, or lack thereof, for linebacker Brian Cushing. The other starter is Justin Tuggle, who is believed by some to be a potential break out performer.
In the draft there are only a couple players worthy of being picked in the first round at this spot, with the best two being Eric Kendricks, from UCLA and Benardrick McKinney, from Mississippi State.
Oddly enough, the NFLdraft.com profile of McKinney likens him to Cushing in terms of talent and style of play. At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, he has the size to take a punishment at the next level. Kendricks is on the shorter end at 6’0″ but at 232 pounds he should be able to hold up fine in the league.
After releasing center Chris Myers the Texans look set to move guard Ben Jones over to man the middle of the line. However, unless last years’ 33rd overall selection in the draft, guard Xavier Su’a-Filo does not show some improvement on a sub-par rookie season, this would only leave a hole at Jones’ old spot.
Perhaps the team decides to draft a center in the first round like Florida State’s Cameron Erving.He has shown the intelligence to call blitz protections, and comes from a pro style offense. Erving is a true leader that started at tackle, guard and center for the Seminoles and could be a day one starter for Houston at center.
Tight end is a position that doesn’t seem to have a ton of talent coming in from the college ranks. The best player is Maxx Williams out of Minnesota. At 6’4″ and 254 pounds Williams is the most complete and pro-ready tight end in the draft.
Ideally getting a player like Williams would involve moving back in the first round and getting extra picks. Such a move could make sense if the team felt the need to get a starter at the spot, while taking a chance that a second round, or later, receiver could come in and contribute.
While my personal belief is that the team does still need a wide receiver, they have presented themselves with plenty of options as the draft approaches. No longer handicapped by desperation, the Texans can look at all the options available when they are on the clock come April 30th.