The Houston Texans drafted Charles Omenihu in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Houston Texans had some very interesting draft picks in the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft as they worked to add to their roster. They started by selecting Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard in the first round as Howard has shown lots of promise, but is a project on the line.
The next pick was Lonnie Johnson Jr., a cornerback out of Kentucky who may need a year in the system before he makes an impact. The second of their back-to-back picks was Max Scharping, another offensive tackle who is likely a project due to shaky technique.
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Kahale Warring was next in the third round, a high upside tight end out of San Diego State. This was under heavy scrutiny due to Jordan Akins, Jordan Thomas, Ryan Griffin, and Darren Fells all already being on the roster, with Akins and Thomas being draft picks from last year.
In the fifth round, the Texans made one of the best draft picks of the entire draft by selecting defensive end Charles Omenihu.
The front office has expressed their desire to fill the defensive line with more pass rushers. J.J. Watt is obviously as good as it gets, but Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Reader are known as top tier run stuffers. Clowney even hit the trade market, but with the draft coming and going, he looks likely to remain a Texan.
On the other hand, Khalil Mack was traded last offseason on Sept. 1st so nothing is set in stone quite yet for the 2019 season. Regardless, the Texans were desperate to fill another pass rush role. Currently, the defensive line looks like they might move Reader to defensive end, while slotting Brandon Dunn in at nose tackle. It would be unsurprising to see Omenihu win the defensive end job, which would see Reader kick back inside.
Omenihu was the 51st overall player on my big board, and he can play inside or outside, which is perfect for this Texans team, especially if they want to hybrid their base defense. Omenihu won’t be the best athlete on the field, but he definitely doesn’t lack athleticism.
In terms of traits to expect, Omenihu’s burst off the snap is exceptional. He has decent bend, but if he plays in the 3-4, that may not be too much of a factor. He also has a solid range of pass rush moves. The two things that made him an excellent pick for the Texans were that he has a very high IQ on the defense, which will allow him to be a solid run defender, and the second is that he is still raw.
The Texans front office clearly prioritized upside with the first four picks in this draft, and the Omenihu pick is no different. He has the burst and strength to succeed in a 3-4 defense on the edge, while having the frame and the pass rushing ability to be a force on the interior in a 4-3. He also has the bend and pass rush arsenal to kick outside in a 4-3, but with Clowney on the roster, he would only be a rotational piece at that point.
Here’s an excellent tweet from Jeremy Stevenson showing the upside of Omenihu:
There’s a lot to love about Omenihu, and he may just be the perfect fit on this Texans defense. He still has room for improvement, but there is no doubt he has the ability to step in and start right away for a defense that could use another pass rusher.
While I may not have been incredibly high on the first three rounds of selections, they should all have an impact on this team. Even though unconventional, Omenihu may be the biggest impact player from this draft class.