The Houston Texans roster is under construction with the offseason underway, but the cornerback position may have had the most rebuilding in recent months.
Last year, the Texans had a cornerstone in 14-year veteran Johnathan Joseph. The team added starters, drafting Lonnie Johnson in the second round and signing Bradley Roby in free agency. The roster moves continued well into the regular season when Houston traded for 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley from the Raiders just prior to the teams' Week 8 matchup and then claimed 2016 first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves III off of waivers in November. Hargreaves was released on February 14.
This year, Houston could continue to shape the secondary with six selections in the 2020 NFL Draft and free agency beginning March 18.
Depending on the type of cornerback, outside vs. slot, the team has a checklist in forming its 2020 roster. This week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Bill O'Brien outlined those attributes.
For an outside corner:
"I think if you're talking about an outside corner, I think it's got to be a guy that obviously has the right skillset of body type, movement skills, ball skills, instincts, the ability to tackle, the physical nature of the game the way some offenses are running the ball to the outside, the way some offenses are putting tight ends on the perimeter now," O'Brien said. "So, I think it's a very difficult position that we're all trying to figure out who the best guys are to get on your football team that can do a lot of different things."
For a slot/star corner: "That position is very important, too, because that's a guy that does a lot for you on the inside of the defense, covering slot receivers, doing different things within the front. So, I think those are positions that we spent a lot of time talking about and trying to do as good a job as we can in evaluating."
The Texans have drafted 17 cornerbacks in franchise history, including six during O'Brien's tenure as head coach. The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23 in Paradise, Nevada.