After finishing 2-14 in the worst division in the NFL, the Houston Texans were coach less and had lots of questions on offense. The first step in recovering from one of the worst stretches in football history was to hire a head coach.
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Last year, Lovie Smith was wildly considered as the top available head coach but Bob McNair decided to sign an underdog as the next Texans head coach. Bill O’Brien had a tremendous X’s and O’s background with the New England Patriots but also had the leadership by turning around a troubled Penn State football program after the Sandusky scandal.
Coach Bill O’Brien was handed the keys to the team and the first thing on the agenda was the 2014 NFL draft. The Texans had lots of holes to fill including a pass rusher, offensive line, defensive tackle, quarterback, and tight end. They luckily had the first overall pick of the draft and were given multiple compensatory picks throughout the draft. One full year later, it is the proper time to give the first total assessment and grade of the entire Texans 2014 draft class.
Round 1 Pick 1 (1) – Jadeveon Clowney – DE/OLB – South Carolina
Grade B- : Jadeveon Clowney was by far the best talent in the draft. His athleticism was often compared to many NFL legends. He was often graded as the best prospect of the decade and a lock to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, Clowney was unable to stay healthy for the season. The controversial Houston Texans turf is to blame for his latest knee injury that he is still recovering from. He has the talent to overcome his rookie obstacles and has the supporting cast on the front line to save his tremendous hype.
Round 2 Pick 1 (32) – S’ua-Filo Xavier – OG – UCLA
Grade C+ : The Bruin was unable to win a starting job last season and failed to show any resemblance of a second round pick. This year will be a major step if he is able to keep his starting job going into training camp. He will slide into left guard, a position he is very comfortable with and an easier transition than playing offensive tackle. Maybe he can turn it around, but last year was not the way both Xavier and the Texans envisioned.
Round 3 Pick 1 (65) – CJ Fiedorowicz – TE – Iowa
Grade C- : The Texans have used two tight end sets for years under ex head coach Gary Kubiak. Coach Bill O’Brien needed to find a replacement for Owen Daniels, but failed to find the pass catching tight end of the future. Last year, the Texans had practically zero production from the tight end position. Tight end is still a draft need this year despite using a third round in 2014.
Round 3 Pick 19 (83) –Louis Nix III – DT – Notre Dame
Grade D- : Louis Nix had lots of potential with his massive frame but ironically, his frame has been holding him back at the next level. He is battled weight problems for an entire year but nothing has changed. He was unable to play valuable snaps last year, and won’t this year either with the addition of Vince Wilfork.
Round 4 Pick 35 (135) – Tom Savage – QB – Pittsburgh
Grade F : At this point in the draft, all quarterbacks with starting potential had been drafted. Tom Savage played college at an older age, which is not a good sign for future success at the next level. The Texans seemed to waste a pick on a player with very little upside.
Round 6 Pick 1 (177) – Jeoffery Pagan – DE – Alabama
Grade C+ : Pagan was unable to play for the first half of the season, but began to show up on the stat sheet in the second half. Being a back up on the Texans is a tough job because of the immense surrounding talent. There was and will continue to be very limited opportunities for Pagan to prove worthy of a roster spot but was a solid find for Bill O’Brien in the sixth round.
Round 6 Pick 5 (181) – Alfred Blue – RB – LSU
Grade C- : When Arian Foster was hurt last year, Alfred Blue immediately became the lead back. His name was often thrown around in the fantasy football community as a replacement starter and a handcuff for Arian Foster owners. However, he was unable to make the most out of his chances to guarantee his spot as the primary backup for Foster. He only averaged 3.1 yards per carry last year.
Round 6 Pick 35 (211) – Jay Prosch – FB – Auburn
Grade B- : As a FB for a team lead with Arian Foster, it is difficult to find opportunities to carry the football. Prosch did not have a single carry last year and only had one reception. However, he did show worthiness of an NFL roster spot with his power and blocking skills. A quality find so late into the draft but not the sexy pick.
Round 7 Pick 1 (216) – Andre Hal – CB – Vanderbilt
Grade B : Andre Hal was one of the best value picks in the entire draft for the Texans. He was able to battle for some snaps on defense. He showed some ability to tackle and compete in the NFL. He has some pride to fight for the starting position when Jonathan Joseph’s time in Houston is over.