One player who could be available in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft is Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a running back the Houston Texans could show interest in.
Many mock drafts that have gone into the second round believe the Houston Texans will be selecting a running back with their selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. This article will focus on the mock draft by Lance Cartelli of 247Sports.com and the selection made for the Texans at No. 57 overall.
The player the mock draft made for the Texans was Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a running back from the national champion LSU Tigers.
With the Texans having veterans Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde being free agents this offseason, and with the Texans needing a solid future at the position, selecting a running back with the 57th overall selection in the NFL Draft isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
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At times during the 2019 NFL season, the rushing game of the Texans looked strong, and at other times it didn’t look like it even existed, unless it was quarterback Deshaun Watson scrambling for yards.
As a team, Houston totaled 2,009 yards rushing, with 1,070 of those from Hyde (245 carries) and 413 by Watson (82 carries). Duke Johnson finished with 410 yards rushing on 83 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but he also caught 44 passes for 410 yards as well.
Hyde rushed for six touchdowns during the regular season, while Watson had seven and Johnson totaled two rushing scores.
Hyde most likely won’t return to the Texans if they decide to draft a running back in the second round, and Johnson still has two years left on his contract.
According to Spotac.com, Johnson will have a base salary of $3.6 million in 2020 and $4.65 million in ‘21. Being such a versatile running back, Johnson’s role with the Texans’ offense should be set for the next couple seasons.
Now for the possibility of drafting Edwards-Helaire to the roster at the ’20 NFL Draft. In ’19, Edwards-Helaire carried the football 215 times for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He did so while his quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 60 touchdown passes, so that means Edwards-Helaire still had plenty of opportunities even with the record-breaking numbers his quarterback was collecting as well.
Drae Harris of The Draft Network gave pros and cons of Edwards-Helaire, and one of the pros about the game of the LSU ruling back was his agility, with the following written in a draft profile:
“In the run game he plays with excellent agility in short areas and is difficult to tackle once he has the ball in space. He has a very good jump cut and can make you miss in the hole.”
Like Johnson, Edwards-Helaire can be used in the passing game of a team as well. If the Texans were to have both Edwards-Helaire and Johnson, imagine the offense the Texans could have with those two. Add that with the ability of Watson leading the offense, and Houston could make things tough for their opponents moving forward.
Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports quoted Burrow who spoke highly about Edwards-Helaire during the week of the National Championship Game. Burrow will most likely be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft:
“If everything is covered downfield, I just have a feeling I know where Clyde is going to be. … If I get in trouble, I just dump it down to Clyde; he’ll make two or three guys miss, get 3-4 [yards], keep us on schedule.”
A player like that described by Burrow would be huge for the Texans offense because of the fact the offensive game plan is rushed a little too much. Having a young player like Edwards-Helaire available to get the ball to on a screen play, or a play that is rushed, could help the Texans be a better first-quarter team, as scoring early in games was a big issue for the Texans this past season.
Even when the Texans had the big lead in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the now-AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs, it never felt like the offense of the Texans was able to get on track, and a lot of that was due to the rushing game.
In the Divisional Round game, the Texans’ leading rusher — in a game where they needed to control the time of possession — totaled 94 yards rushing on 21 attempts and 4.5 yards per carry. Hyde was the leading rusher with 44 yards on 13 carries, and Johnson had one carry for 11 yards, plus he had five receptions for 23 yards.
The Texans have a lot of decisions to make at running back. Do they re-sign Hyde? Do they keep Johnson on the roster with two years left on his contract? Do they believe a player like Edwards-Helaire fits into their plans moving forward to the ’20 season?
If the Texans are smart, and Edwards-Helaire is available at 57th overall, he is really worth being considered. He’s shown he can take the grind of playing a tough SEC schedule, and he can be a dual-threat running back, which fits perfectly into the offense of the Texans.
As the draft process continues, expect to hear and read a lot more on Edwards-Helaire, and don’t be surprised to hear his name and the Texans together in this process as well.