Will the Texans select a tight end in the NFL Draft?
The retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz has created a void for the Texans on offense. Losing a promising and young tight end in Fiedorowicz is a huge blow to the Houston offense. Surrounding Deshaun Watson with as many reliable pass catchers is essential to his development. The NFL Draft could be the avenue the Texans choose to supplement the offense.
Why should the Texans draft a tight end?
First off they have not sufficiently addressed this issue. There are currently two players who play the tight end position on the roster who have contributed during their time in Houston. Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson. While these two players have experience they are not up to par when compared to other players at their position. Below are their career numbers.
Ryan Griffin: 178 receptions, 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns
Stephen Anderson: 36 receptions, 435 yards and two touchdowns
This is not exactly top tier level production from either player. Rather than depend on players who have not proven to be productive at this position it is better to find an upgrade in the draft.
Here are a two options they could pursue in the draft.
Mike Gesicki: Penn State
Mike Gesicki from Penn State is an excellent tight end prospect. When compared to the current players on the roster it is obvious he is more of a receiver than a traditional tight end, but that is a good thing. Houston needs to find more pass catchers and Gesicki could be a nice addition to the Texans offense.
In four seasons Gesicki caught 129 passes for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns. Gesicki would fit in perfectly in an offense that already features DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V at the wide receiver position.
For the Texans to actually select Gesicki a trade up is more than likely needed as he is expected to go rather high in the draft.
Mark Andrews: Oklahoma
Another tight end prospect who is more receiver than tight end, Mark Andrews could fit in nicely in the Texans offense. Houston would need to utilize Andrews in a manner that Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski have thrived in, being split out wide. Lining up outside allows them to use their size against smaller defensive backs that can allow him to make plays down the field.
Andrews really came into his own as a junior at Oklahoma, catching 62 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns. In his previous two seasons combined Andrews only had 50 receptions for 807 yards and 15 touchdowns. The jump in production as a junior displays Andrews growth and the potential for a playmaking tight end at the next level.
Luckily for Houston, Andrews is expected to be taken later in the draft. This allows Houston the option to use one of their own third round picks rather than trade up to select Gescicki. This also provides Houston flexibility in the draft. Houston can address other positions to further improve their team.
Will the Texans draft a tight end?
This is difficult to answer. Houston certainly needs more help at the position. The Texans could absolutely use the draft to a new pass catcher for Watson to throw to. The current tight ends on the roster are not exactly elite and if there is a chance to upgrade the position Houston must take that chance. Since Houston did not address the position in free agency it seems more likely than not that the Texans will use the draft to solve this issue.