The 2020 NFL Draft will be here next April, but it is never too early to talk about players the Houston Texans could draft next year.
It is never too early to start looking at collegiate prospects, and for the Houston Texans, next April will be very important for the franchise as they don’t have a first-round pick, but will have a later pick in the second round.
One of the places doing two-round mock drafts before the end of the regular season is DraftWire.USAToday.com, as they have the Texans picking 57th overall, and the player they have the team selecting is Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins.
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Dobbins is only a junior, so there is a chance he could return to Ohio State for his senior season. Dobbins’ next game is on Saturday, Dec. 28 in the College Football Playoff against Clemson, so he’s used to playing tough competition in his collegiate career.
Currently, the Texans running back depth chart consists of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, Taiwan Jones, Buddy Howell, and Cullen Gillaspia. Lamar Miller is on the IR for the Texans as well, but was injured late in the preseason.
Hyde, Jones and Miller all have expiring contracts once the season is complete. Miller hasn’t played a snap all season due to an ACL tear in the preseason. In his three years with the Texans, Miller — who is 28 years old — in 44 games (41 starts) totaled 2,934 yards with seasons of 1,073 yards and five touchdowns (2016), 888 yards and three touchdowns (2017), and 973 yards and five touchdowns (2018). Miller entered the NFL in 2012 and has rushed for 5,864 yards and 32 touchdowns.
As for Hyde in his lone season with the Texans, thus far he’s played in 15 games where he’s rushed for 1,057 yards with six rushing touchdowns on 241 carries. Hyde is 29 years old and currently in his sixth NFL season, as he began his NFL career in 2014.
Now, if the Texans are looking to be younger and want a franchise-style running back to replace Hyde next season, Dobbins could be that player. Dobbins this season is averaging 6.1 yards per carry against AP Top 25 opponents. For the season, Dobbins at Ohio State has rushed for 1,829 yards with 20 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry (283 carries).
Dobbins also has 17 receptions for 200 yards and two receiving touchdowns this season, and the big thing about Dobbins’ three-year career is he’s never lost a fumble while at Ohio State with 283 carries this season, 230 carries in ’18 and 194 carries in ’17.
Matthew Valdovinos of Pro Football Network wrote about Dobbins last month in an article about his draft stock:
"“Dobbins’ stock has steadily climbed back up this season. He will be a guy that a smart offensive mind can use in a number of different ways, and while he just fails to reach my top three, he is firmly entrenched in my RB4 spot, worthy of an early-to-mid second-round grade.”"
This is an interesting choice in early December for the possibility of the Texans drafting Dobbins. The Texans also need to work on their defense, especially by adding to their secondary, and they must also ask themselves: is the offensive line good enough as is?
There has been improvement on the roster this season as they’ve repeated as AFC South champions before the season has ended, but drafting a running back in the second round is a bit of a risk, because there will be a lot of talented players available when it is the Texans’ time to make a draft pick in late April.