Now that the 2020 NFL Draft has concluded, it helps me to look at the entire offseason in totality. The Texans made two significant trades that helped them bring in impactful current veterans, in addition to rookies and future draft picks. They also signed seven veteran free agents, in addition to making eight draft picks (okay, technically five, but I like the way I looked at it below) and signing nine undrafted college free agents. Not to mention, the Texans signed 15 (Laremy Tunsil, included) of their players from the 2019 squad to remain in Houston. As such, this humble and hungry Texans roster for 2020 (and beyond) has taken shape and it's one, as Bill O'Brien said to me and Marc just after the draft was over, that he really likes. Here's how it took shape.
1st round - Left tackle Laremy Tunsil - Pro Bowl in 2019 and re-signed too
2nd round - Defensive lineman Ross Blacklock, TCU
3rd round - Cornerback Gareon Conley - strong stint with Texans in 2019
3rd round - Edge Jon Greenard, Florida
3rd round (comp) - Running back Duke Johnson - 410 yards rushing AND receiving in 2019
4th round - Offensive tackle Charlie Heck, North Carolina
4th round - Cornerback/Nickel John Reid, Penn State
5th round - Wide receiver Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island
This is how we all should look at this draft. The Texans made three significant trades throughout the 2019 campaign that yielded massive dividends and should be included in this draft haul. So, this is how I'll look at it. Furthermore, in 2021, the Texans have eight picks as of today and that number could/should increase with compensatory picks calculated and distributed after the 2020 season
In 2021, they'll have...
TWO 4th round
THREE 6th round
The Texans also signed a class of undrafted college free agents over the weekend.
Defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai, West Georgia
His nickname is Big Z and when you see him, you'll know why. He played his final season at West Georgia after a successful start to his collegiate career at Kennesaw State. He continued to toss poor offensive linemen around like throw pillows, as my friend Drew Dougherty likes to say.
Offensive guard Cordel Iwuagwu, TCU
The Houston native comes back home after his college years spent in the Metroplex, similar to 2nd round selection and TCU teammate Ross Blacklock. He started every game at left guard in 2019 and 2017 (he was injured after four games in 2018) and was honorable mention All-Big 12 as a senior.
Linebacker Jan Johnson, Penn State
Johnson was a 3rd team All-B1G after a solid senior season. He had 64 tackles, 4.5 TFL and a sack. He was also a team captain and was a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded to the best player who was a current/former walk-on player.
Linebacker Jamir Jones, Notre Dame
Watching Notre Dame's edge rushers for the draft, I kept seeing #44 making plays all over the field. I knew that Jones would eventually find his way onto a 90 man roster, at a minimum. He finished the season with 4.5 sacks and 6.5 TFL for Notre Dame in 2019.
Running back Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss
Phillips must have been chomping at the bit to sign with Houston. The 5-9, 208 lb. dynamo had the best game of his career at NRG Stadium when he ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech in the Texas Kickoff in 2018.
Receiver Tyler Simmons, Georgia
Simmons was a jack of all trades for the Bulldogs during his career. He finished with 21 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown, but he was a vital piece on special teams for the Bulldogs in his four years on campus.
Tight end Dylan Stapleton, James Madison
Many college tight ends nowadays are just big, fancy receivers but Stapleton will knock your block off in the run game. He's a physical guy at the point of attack and has soft hands in the receiving game. He finished the 2019 season with 35 receptions for 426 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Nick Tiano, UT-Chattanooga
Tiano is one of the biggest quarterbacks in the 2020 rookie class. He measures 6-5, 240 lb. and has the arm strength to match that size. As a senior, he finished with 2,242 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, in addition to 384 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.
Center Elex Woodworth, North Texas
Woodworth was a four year starter at North Texas, starting 45 out of a possible 48 games in his career. He started at left tackle and left guard and could play any of the five spots on the offensive line.
Running back David Johnson (Cardinals)
Receiver Brandin Cooks (Rams)
Free Agency signings
Safety/Nickel Eric Murray (Browns)
Receiver Randall Cobb (Cowboys)
Safety Jaylen Watkins (Chargers)
Offensive lineman Brent Qvale (Jets)
Safety Michael Thomas (Giants)
Long snapper Anthony Kukwa (Chargers)
Receiver/returner DeAndre Carter - one of biggest plays of year - 36-yard catch at Tampa Bay
Tight end Darren Fells - set tight end record for touchdowns in a season
Long snapper Jon Weeks - outstanding vet, longest tenured Texan
Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn - 100 points scored in 2019
Punter Bryan Anger (in season) - averaged 46.5 yards per punt in 2019
Edge Whitney Mercilus (in season) - veteran pass rusher who's invaluable for this defense
Linebacker Dylan Cole - can't wait to see him return after injury
Defensive lineman Brandon Dunn - one of the most unheralded players on this squad
Quarterback A.J. McCarron - threw for 225, ran for 39 and a touchdown in only start in 2019
Cornerback Bradley Roby - two picks and a pick six in December 2019 in key wins
Linebacker Tyrell Adams - instrumental piece on special teams and reliable linebacker backup
Cornerback Phillip Gaines - team missed him after injury he suffered late in Colts game
Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III - valuable inside cover guy for this defense
Tackle Rod Johnson - swing tackle who's improved immensely throughout his career
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