Just some thoughts about this draft, past drafts, etc…
1. The Texans have only drafted an offensive lineman in the first round once - Duane Brown (2008).
2. In fact, the Texans have only drafted two tackles in the first two rounds in their history - Brown and Chester Pitts (2002).
3. The Texans have four picks in the top 100 of this draft, leaving only one team with more - the New England Patriots.
4. The Texans have traded up in each of the last two first rounds. In 2016, they traded up one spot to nab Will Fuller V and in 2017, they traded up to number 12 to take Deshaun Watson.
5. The unfortunate thing about the Texans first round picks is a stint on IR. Every single Texans first round selection starting with Jadeveon Clowney in 2014 spent at least one stint on IR for more than half the season (Clowney in 2014, Johnson in 2016, Fuller in 2018 and Watson in 2017). Here’s hoping that trend ends immediately.
6. The Texans drafted cornerbacks in the first round three times - Dunta Robinson (2004), Kareem Jackson (2010) and Kevin Johnson (2015).
7. There are three positions that the Texans have never drafted with their first pick in the draft - interior OL, tight end and running back.
8. The only Power 5 conference not represented by Texans first round picks is the Big 12. The Texans have drafted ACC players eight times (Andre Johnson, Travis Johnson, Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, Duane Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Johnson and Deshaun Watson), SEC standouts three times (Dunta Robinson, Kareem Jackson and Jadeveon Clowney), B1G twice (J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus) and one Pac 12 star (Brian Cushing). The remaining two first-rounders came from the MWC (David Carr) and the MAC (Jason Babin).
9. If Dalton Risner (Kansas State) is taken in the first round, he’ll be the first Texans first-round selection from the Big 12 in team history (or Hakeem Butler or David Montgomery etc…).
10. The Texans haven’t traded down in the first round of the draft since 2008 when they moved down the board to draft Pro Bowl tackle Duane Brown.
11. Furthermore, the Texans have never traded out of the first round when they’ve had a first-round selection heading into draft night/afternoon. Those going to the draft party are hoping that streak stays intact.
12. Even though the Texans didn’t have a first or second-rounder in last year’s draft, they still drafted a strong class. Five of the top six picks started at least two games apiece - Justin Reid, Martinas Rankin, Jordan Akins, Keke Coutee and Jordan Thomas. Each of the team’s first seven picks made the 46-man gameday roster and the only one that didn’t was its last pick Jermaine Kelly who was on IR all season.
13. Sixth-round selection Jordan Thomas had more touchdowns than the entire 2018 sixth round. In fact, his four touchdowns were FOUR times more than the entire sixth round had last year (one total).
14. The draft will have some Houston flavor this weekend. Here are some players from the greater Houston area to keep an eye on:
Running back Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M (CE King High School - Houston)
Linebacker Otaro Alaka, Texas A&M (Cypress Falls High School - Cypress)
Defensive lineman Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M (George Ranch High School - Richmond)
Fullback Cullen Gillaspia, Texas A&M (Taylor High School - Katy)
Defensive lineman Ed Oliver, Houston (Westfield High School - Spring)
Outside linebacker Emeke Egbule, Houston (North Shore High School - Galena Park)
Linebacker Dakota Allen, Texas Tech (Summer Creek High School - Humble)
Tight end Keenen Brown, Texas State (Alief Taylor High School - Alief)
Nose tackle Javier Edwards, Colorado (Aldine Davis High School - Aldine)
Defensive lineman Mbi Tanyi, Maryland (Bush High School - Fort Bend ISD)
Running back Lexington Thomas, UNLV (Aldine Davis High School - Aldine)
Running back Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma (Katy High School - Katy)
15. The Texans have drafted a handful of local players. The first was Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons (Cypress Creek High School) in 2004. Then, they drafted Texas nose tackle Frank Okam (Lamar High School) in 2009 and the following year they drafted defensive lineman Earl Mitchell (North Shore High School - Galena Park). Two years later, they drafted kicker Randy Bullock (Klein High School). In 2017, they drafted Longhorn star running back D’Onta Foreman (Texas City High School). And, finally, in 2018, they drafted Duke Ejiofor from Alief Taylor High School. I’d take Keke Coutee as well from Lufkin, but that’s pushing the greater Houston boundaries, right?
16. Washington State tackle Andre Dillard started 39 straight games, including the first season of his career in 2016 when he was just 275 lb. He topped the scales at 315 at the 2019 NFL Combine.
17. Washington tackle Kaleb McGary’s story is an amazing one. His family lost their farm in the state of Washington due to the recession in 2008 and 2009, so over his final two years of high school, McGary and his siblings lived in an RV in his grandfather’s driveway. Then, in January 2018, his parents RV caught fire, which also set fire to a room in his grandfather’s house where they were going to live. Then, while he was playing at Washington, he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, which he’s had procedures to correct. Just amazing.
18. Our pal Andre Ware called a Kansas State game earlier in the season and during a break, he said “hey, Johnny, what do you think of this Risner kid?” I told him I really liked Dalton Risner and Andre said “he’s a Texan. That guy was awesome.” Andre got to spend some time with Risner in production meetings for the game on ESPN that Saturday. I had never heard Andre talk about a college player quite like that before.
19. Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson has traveled a hard road to draft night as well. He grew up in Gary, Indiana, where violence heavily impacted his life. He’s lost numerous friends and family to gunfire and violence in the area. He lived in a tiny two-bedroom house with one bath… along with 16 other family members. He became a big time player in high school, with a ton of potential, and originally committed to Ohio State. Unfortunately, his grades held him back so he decided to enroll at a JUCO in San Bernardino, California. That ended up being a disaster, but Garden City Community College took him in and he became an All-American and committed to Iowa State. But, again, his grades weren’t where they needed to be to get eligible so he stayed one final year at GCCC to improve his academic standing. He got the grades but he had to watch GCCC win the JUCO national championship, as he sat out for those academic reasons. Yet, he had done enough to get the attention of Kentucky’s coaches and once he got settled, he turned into a top 50 prospect in this draft class.
20. Stanford wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s parents were international basketball stars. His mother played basketball professionally overseas and was a star at Appalachian State. His father also played basketball overseas. His two uncles played basketball for Spain’s national team in 1984. Arcega-Whiteside was born in Spain before moving to South Carolina where he was a star in football, basketball and track and field.
21. San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring has only played football since his senior year in high school. What stood in the way? His water polo career. He was a star water polo goalie and basketball player who was convinced to go out for football late in high school. That seemed to work out well. In fact, he played water polo, basketball, cross country, swimming, soccer and tennis ALL before he played football.
22. There are two David Longs in this draft. Keep them straight. Michigan’s David Long is an outstanding cornerback prospect, while West Virginia’s David Long was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker.
23. Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard was a quarterback in high school, recruited at tight end and became an All-American at offensive tackle.
24. NC State center Garrett Bradbury was recruited as a tight end, moved to the defensive line and eventually moved to center when the NC State coaches asked him to think about that opening.
25. Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean, Florida safety/nickel Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor all attended Cocoa High School (FL) as members of the 2014 state championship team. Keep in mind Cocoa High School has 1,498 students... from 7th grade through 12th grade. It’s one of the smaller classifications in Florida.
26. St. Thomas Aquinas HS is one of the powers in Florida in its largest classification. Its 2014 team roster featured Ohio State star defensive end Nick Bosa, Boston College edge star Wyatt Ray and Florida running back Jordan Scarlett.
27. In case you were wondering, Texans linebacker Brennan Scarlett’s brother is a running back named Jordan Scarlett, but he’s still in college at Stanford. So, different Jordan Scarlett.
28. Allen High School’s (TX) 2014 undefeated national championship team featured Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, North Texas wide receiver Jalen Guyton, Oklahoma tackle Bobby Evans and Ole Miss star tackle Greg Little. Wow.
29. Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins was a linemate with both Carlos Watkins and D.J. Reader. They all played together in Wilkins’ true freshman year 2015 when they were led by a sophomore star quarterback named Watson. Deshaun Watson.
30. Speaking of Watson, he threw the most famous pass in Clemson history to 2019 potential draft pick Hunter Renfrow in Clemson’s national championship win over Alabama. When I asked Renfrow at the senior bowl if he ever had to pay for anything at Clemson’s eating establishments and the sort since then, he said “well, I can’t take anything, but people have certainly offered.”
31. Back to Clemson’s defensive line, after Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell are drafted, the Tigers defensive line will have produced…
Shaq Lawson (1st round)
Kevin Dodd (2nd round)
D.J. Reader (5th round)
Carlos Watkins (4th round)
Christian Wilkins (potential 1st round)
Dexter Lawrence (potential 1st round)
Clelin Ferrell (potential 1st round)
Austin Bryant (potential late Day 2/early Day 3)
Four years, eight different defensive linemen selected.
32. So, let’s check Alabama’s output in that arena…
A’Shawn Robinson (2nd round)
Jarran Reed (2nd round)
Jonathan Allen (1st round)
Dalvin Robinson (2nd round)
Daron Payne (1st round)
Da’Shawn Hand (4th round)
Joshua Frazier (7th round)
Quinnen Williams (potential top 10 pick)
Isaiah Buggs (potential early Day 3)
Four years, nine different defensive linemen selected. Furthermore, I did not mention edge rushers Tim Williams (3rd round) and Ryan Anderson (2nd round). It’s no wonder why those teams have dominated college football the past decade or so.
33. By comparison, Oklahoma hasn’t had a defensive lineman drafted since 2016 when defensive end Charles Tapper was selected in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys. Since 2014, the Sooners have produced just three defensive line draft picks - Tapper, Geneo Grissom (3rd round - 2015) and Jordan Phillips (2nd round - 2015). Furthermore, it’s more likely than not that the Sooners won’t have a defensive lineman selected in this draft either.
34. On the flip side, Oklahoma should see all four of its offensive linemen drafted this weekend - Cody Ford, Bobby Evans, Dru Samia and Ben Powers. That’s in addition to a potential number one overall pick for the second-consecutive year.
35. In the defensive backfield, it’s a race between Ohio State, LSU and Alabama. Let’s take that same time frame 2014 - 2018.
Bradley Roby (31st overall)
Christian Bryant (7th round)
Doran Grant (4th round)
Eli Apple (10th overall)
Vonn Bell (2nd round)
Marshon Lattimore (11th overall) - Pro Bowl, Defensive Rookie of the Year
Malik Hooker (15th overall)
Gareon Conley (24th overall)
Denzel Ward (4th overall) - Pro Bowl as a rookie
Jalen Collins (2nd round)
Rashard Robinson (4th round)
Jalen Mills (7th round)
Jamal Adams (6th overall) - Pro Bowler
Tre’Davious White (27th overall)
Donte Jackson (2nd round)
Ha Ha Clinton Dix (21st overall) - Pro Bowler
Vinnie Sunseri (5th round)
Landon Collins (2nd round) - Pro Bowler
Cyrus Jones (2nd round)
Marlon Humphrey (16th overall)
Eddie Jackson (3rd round) - Pro Bowler
Minkah Fitzpatrick (11th overall)
Ronnie Harrison (3rd round)
Anthony Averett (4th round)