Dear Drew: Extended NFL Draft edition

I was peppered with great questions in this week's 'Dear Drew' post on Facebook. So many, in fact, that a short video wouldn't do them justice.

So we extended it into this article, and tackled the 2016 NFL Draft Class of the Texans and what they'll mean to the franchise.

Plus there were some other questions, as well as a comment from my favorite hater.

Enjoy.

Ramiro RodriguezDear Drew, Just want to start by saying that I loved this year's draft, which can be summed up with three words OFFENSE, SPEED, VERSATILITY!!! Who do you will be our Return Specialist?? Braxton Miller or Tyler Ervin??

* *

I like the optimism Ramiro, and I'm with you.

 

With regards to the return game, I think Ervin is likely the guy, but both could do both. However, if I had to choose one at this point, I believe Ervin's experience taking back punts and kickoffs and doing so successfully at San Jose State gives him the edge. He returned a kickoff or punt for a score five times in his career with the Spartans.

Daniel FuentezDear Drew, Do you see Andre Johnson signing a one day contract to retire as a Texans this year or in the next few years?

No, I don't see it happening this year. I still think he has football left in him and he'll play for somebody. Maybe in a few years, and I would imagine the team will honor him in another way or ways as well.

Matthew Gomez: **Dear Drew, Do you think we will see more 4-wide formations this year, now that we drafted two big playmakers in Braxton Miller and Will Fuller V?

 **

Yes I do, Matthew. But don't expect the Run 'n Shoot. I think you'll see a quartet from the group of DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Jaelen Strong, Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, Tyler Ervin, Akeem Hunt and the rest at various points throughout the season.

Last year, the Texans ran 93 plays with four wide receivers on the field. Out of 1,127 total offensive plays (excluding plays nullified by penalty) that 4-wide set accounted for 8.3 percent of their total formations.

There's a decent chance that number will rise a bit in 2016.

Chris Royal: Dear Drew, Do you think some UDFAs will make the team?

Absolutely.

It happens almost every year. In 2015, safety Kurtis Drummond and tackle Kendall Lamm wound up on the active roster despite going undrafted. The year before that, linebacker Max Bullough made it to the 53-man roster before the end of the season. Cornerback A.J. Bouye and linebacker Justin Tuggle made the active squad in 2013.

Zack Ayres **Dear Drew, With the draft over and our need at tight end unresolved, how do you see O'Brien addressing that issue?

 **

I believe you'll see improvement from Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz. Also, the addition of Fuller and Miller and maturation of Strong will likely open things up a bit more for the tight ends.

Keep an eye on Anthony Denham, too. He was on injured reserve last season and is looking to earn a roster spot. Plus, there's always a chance for an undrafted free agent to claw his way onto the roster.

Angus Johnson: **Dear Drew, is there any chance that the Texans move Jadeveon Clowney back to defensive end with the departure of Jared Crick?

 **

Angus, I don't think so.

Clowney plays rush end frequently, though, when the Texans go with four down linemen in their sub packages.

But I don't see them moving him inside in their base 3-4 defensive alignment. I'm interested in seeing what schemes defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel draws up to utilize Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt together.

John Brandt: Dear Drew, Did the ghost of Al Davis possess Rick Smith's body for another shot at drafting nothing but speedsters?

Ha. No. The Texans drafted fast guys, yes. But they're accomplished football players, too.

Winky Socks: Dear Drew, What happens to Jaelen Strong now that we drafted Fuller and Miller?

First of all, Winky Socks captured the "Name of the Week" award. Congrats. Angus Johnson was a strong challenger, and Ramiro Rodriguez is alliterative, but Winky wins.

As for Strong, I think the additions help him. He finished 2015 with 14 catches for 161 yards. Three of those were touchdowns. Two against the Colts in the Week 5 loss at home, and one was the go-ahead score in the win at Indianapolis.

Strong was a third-rounder the Texans traded up for in the 2015 NFL Draft. He's been in the system a year, and worked this offseason in Arizona. He was part of the receiving crew that caught passes and ran routes with new quarterback Brock Osweiler and backup Tom Savage.

Look for improvement from Strong in 2016. I believe the new additions will further open things up for him.

Mark Montesino: Dear Drew, who is the starting DE across from J.J. Watt?

As of right now, Christian Covington most likely fills that spot. He showed a lot of promise and made some plays in the second half of the season. Jared Crick signed with the Broncos as a free agent, so that's the one spot on the defense not returning a starter from 2015.

Covington, by the way, is handy with a microphone.

Also, keep an eye on Jeoffrey Pagan, Brandon Dunn and Devon Still.

The team might also add a free agent later in the spring/summer as well.

Thomas Ferraro: Dear Drew, but what about my needs baby?!?

You got me there. I have no answers.

Kenneth Gaddis Dear Drew, why do you think the Texans didn't go after a tight end?

Because the players they picked instead were rated as better overall prospects. This year's tight end crop wasn't as deep as in years past.

The first tight end picked was Arkansas' Hunter Henry. He was off the board in the 2nd round, as the 35th overall pick. There were only nine tight ends drafted over the course of the seven rounds.

Eugenio Manuel Pimentel L:  **Do the Texans have an official ambassador for their visit to Mexico. If not would you share my profile?

 **

Eugenio, there isn't an official ambassador. But you probably have to get in line behind TORO, amongst others.

Rhonda Hazlip: Are you kidding me?!? Guess I'll ask then....did we get a quater back worth anything?

No jokes, Rhonda.

John Fulks: How did you get this job?

In the spring of 2009, I applied here. I had good luck and timing, excellent Bo staff and switchblade skills, and some experience on-air.

From 2005 to 2009 I was a sports anchor at the FOX and Telemundo affiliates in Lubbock, Texas. I did a nightly sportscast in English and a nightly sportscast in Spanish. I also hosted the coaches shows for Texas Tech football, women's hoops and baseball. Here's a sampling of my work there.

Before that, from 2000-2004 I was a producer and fill-in anchor at TXCN, a TV station in Dallas. For a few months in 2005 I was the editor of Austin Golf Magazine.

And Bob Ellis wasn't in any of the HR departments for companies that hired me.

Bob Ellis: Drew needs to disappear!

Thanks Bob. I love you too.

The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 9/7/2020)

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