It’s every general manager’s goal to draft as many rookie players who can have an immediate impact on the upcoming season’s final result and that appears to be what GM Rick Smith of the Houston Texans has come close to accomplishing.
This has the resemblance of the strongest draft class the Texans have put together during the Rick Smith era. There should be no shortage of entertainment throughout the remainder of this offseason as the quarterback battle between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer continues and they’ll have plenty of toys at their disposal to plead their case.
Houston drafted wide receiver Jaelen Strong in the third round after making a trade with the Jets. Strong is a player who can have a heavy argument for a starting position on the roster and without the likes of legendary wideout, Andre Johnson, there should be room for him to make a splash his first season as a Texan.
Whomever wins the right to start under center, they will be excited to have both DeAndre Hopkins and Jaelen Strong on the field at the same time.
Inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney sounds more and more thrilling as a prospective starter the more you hear about the guy. Aside from leading his Mississippi State team in tackles the past two years, he also never missed a game. That alone, makes me want to see him suit up and thump some heads downhill.
The Texans first round pick looks good. Really good. Cornerback Kevin Johnson can be a menacing force for wideouts and quarterbacks alike to deal with. He’s the kind of guy any AFC South team would love to have run out their tunnel on the weekends.
He does have some things to still learn on the pro-level, as any rookie will but the good still far outweighs the liabilities.
Keith Mumphery is a guy that should be in a training camp somewhere in the NFL system and that’s exactly what he’s been guaranteed. I’m sure he will add a spark to the receiving corpse with his youth, work ethic and leadership that he’s displayed on the collegiate scene. His career has loads of potential if he can just develop his athleticism a little more and really find a click on the Houston offense.
Reshard Cliett is another outside linebacker that caught the Houston front office’s eye. The two have agreed to bond exclusively over the next two months and experiment with him most likely playing the role of a pass rusher in practices. Third downs on defense are crucial for Houston and have been a little scary in the last few years, if we’re being honest.
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The Texan’s defensive line is a destructive force, even without the likes of Clowney, it’s time the secondary was built to the same scale. Cliett could be a step in that direction. Only time will tell.
Defensive tackle Christian Covington knows he has his work cut out for him, competing for a spot on the Houston roster. His one advantage will be getting to play near the defensive MVP, J.J. Watt. Covington’s priority has to be that of a sponge. Soak it all up and mimic the pro-bowler’s work ethic and thirst for quarterback blood and he’ll find a home somewhere on the NFL list of employment.
Adding running back Kenny Hilliard is sure to at least add some flavor to the depth chart for Bill O’Brien this offseason. The Texans have been content with Arian Foster, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes but Hilliard will get his chance to impress the Houston staff with his ball carrying ability over the next several weeks and on television, come July.
All in all, Houston Texans fans have little, if not nothing, to complain about. The draft couldn’t have been better if we all got the chance to phone in and voice our advice for every move. Rick Smith and Co. have addressed nearly every wound the Texans were dealt last year, and in threatening fashion.
The team is stronger, the veteran leadership looks to be there with the free agent signings earlier this year and the schedule is opportunity knocking on the door. If there was ever a time where the stars lined up for the Houston Texans to dethrone the Colts, it’s now.