Houston Texans successfully adding young talent from recent drafts
By Jair Lopez
The Houston Texans are adding young talented football players that hadn’t panned out early on in their careers, and it’s paying off for both sides.
The Houston Texans’ front office and coaching staff are intelligently working towards building their roster through other avenues than the traditional way of drafting and developing young prospects. Instead of taking a gamble in free agency and investing cap space in players that may or may not pan out, the Texans are picking up young players that could use a change of scenery.
The Texans acquired young talented prospects that had a slow start to their career in Gareon Conley, Vernon Hargreaves, and Eddie Vanderdoes. Conley was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft and Vanderdoes in the third round; meanwhile, Hargreaves was chosen in the first round of the 2016 draft.
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Houston will continue to bet on these types of young players to develop that are on team-friendly deals to see if they can improve and thrive in a new environment.
Conley was acquired in exchange for a future third-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders while Hargreaves and Vanderdoes were brought in after being waived from their respective teams.
With the sudden lack of pass rush since J.J. Watt’s injury, the secondary stepped up, and Houston holds a 3-1 record since his absence. The pass rush only has eight sacks in the four games since Watt was placed on the injured reserve, and half of the sacks came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9.
Conley and Hargreaves’s talent has been on full display in the secondary as they have shown their range and athleticism to cover a lot of ground and make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to have success.
The secondary allowed an average of 225 passing yards against Lamar Jackson, Jacoby Brissett, and Tom Brady in the last three games. The sample size is still small, with Conley missing the previous game with a hip injury, but the Texans could have a promising young solid core of cornerbacks in the secondary with Lonnie Johnson Jr., Keion Crossen, Cornell Armstrong, Hargreaves, and Conley under contract for 2020.
Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are slated to hit free agency after this season, but they have played well to warrant another deal to remain in Houston.
The Texans have found a favorable formula to get young players with plenty of upside at little to no cost, and their additions have paid off with one of their most impressive win of the season against the New England Patriots pushing Houston to an 8-4 record.
With lack of early picks in the next two drafts due to trades that have already paid off (Duke Johnson, Laremy Tunsil, and Kenny Stills), the acquisitions of this young talent have helped subside the lack of assets in these upcoming drafts.