As of the middle of the month, the Texans will make the 40th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the first one of their seven over the entire weekend. Now, the key words are "as of now" because I wouldn't expect Bill O'Brien and the Texans to stand pat for the entire weekend. For now, though, let's assume the Texans stay at No. 40. As such, which defensive players make the most sense for them at that draft spot?
Well, utilizing the Harris 100 as my guide, here are a handful of players I'd love to see join the Texans defense after being selected at No. 40
Interior defensive lineman
Okay, now we're cooking with gas. This is a spot where the value, the depth and the need seemingly all match. I've heard some talk about this not being a good year for interior defensive linemen and I get that; there are only a couple true first round locks (Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw). But, here's where the next wave really comes into play - TCU Ross Blacklock (#21), Missouri's Jordan Elliott (#31), Texas A&M's Justin Madubuike (#39) and Oklahoma's Neville Gallimore (#51). Now, none of those guys is a perfect fit, but they all have qualities that would make sense in the Texans defense, especially pushing the pass pocket on the interior.
Edge/Interior rusher hybrid
One of my favorite players in this draft is Auburn's Marlon Davidson (#34). He's 303 lb. and rushed from the edge at Auburn in his career and did it extremely well. But, he can jump inside and really flourish against guards and centers on pass rush downs. He's the type of player that the Texans would value in the locker room. Unfortunately, I just don't think he'll make it down to No. 40.
Edge rusher/Stack linebackers
I'm putting these two together because the two best edge rushing options probably have to be off the ball linebackers on 1st and 2nd down. Wisconsin's Zack Baun (#36) and Michigan's Josh Uche (#46) are electric pass rushers from the edge, but aren't going to hold up on the edge at less than 245 lb. BUT the speed off the edge is hard to neglect.
One other player that seems just a tad rich for No. 40 is Utah's Bradlee Anae (#48). Now, he can play out on the edge full-time and has an enormous tool box of pass rush moves to get to the quarterback. He won't slay anyone with his athleticism, but on the field, I saw few that could play all three downs the way he could on the edge.
I LOVE TCU star Jeff Gladney (#37) and I have from the first moment I saw him at TCU. He's tough. He has ball skills. He competes. Man, a lot to love about Gladney. LSU's Kristian Fulton (#38) is just a small notch below Gladney, but he's got the physical traits to play the position. Clemson's A.J. Terrell (#47) has size and length and ran 4.42 in the 40 at the Combine. Suffice to say at No. 40 (and beyond) there are options at cornerback.
Now, this is where MY heart grows 100x - I played safety and I love to talk about safeties. Although there aren't any Sean Taylors or Ed Reeds in this draft, there is more than adequate value right around No. 40. LSU All-American Grant Delpit is right at #40 in the Harris 100 and would make for an excellent fit next to Justin Reid in the future. A highly intriguing player, minus his 5-9 frame, is Minnesota's Antoine Winfield Jr. (#45). If Winfield Jr. were 6-1, he'd be a top 15 player in this draft. He can do a little bit of everything in the secondary and ran 4.45 with a 36-inch vertical leap. My draft day gem is Cal's Ashtyn Davis (#61). He's a little further down my list, obviously, but back to my original point - I wouldn't be surprised if the Texans move down from #40. If they trade back for additional picks, Davis would be in play for a later 2nd round selection.
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