Heading into next week's draft, the Texans have the 90th pick in the draft, late in the third round. When we get to that point in any NFL Draft, it's way, WAY beyond a choose your adventure novel at that point. Players have fallen out of the first and second rounds into the third that no one saw coming. Some players well off the media/general public's radar heading into the Draft emerge as candidates late on day two.
My point is that the further we go down the Draft rabbit hole the more difficult it is to pinpoint what the Texans might do this late in the Draft. But, that doesn't intimidate me in the slightest, so let's dive in--which players make the most sense for them at that draft spot?
Utilizing the Harris 100 presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors as my guide, here are a handful of players I'd love to see join the Texans after being selected at No. 90
Nah...NEXT! (Part two)
On my Harris 100, right at No. 91 is Boston College running back A.J. Dillon. He is ALL man and will be the hammer in the running game that teams covet if/when they want/need to pound the rock. Think shorter, less dynamic Derrick Henry. Dillon is 247 lb. and ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 41-inch vertical jump.
Another player that could make sense is a unique running back option--Memphis running back/Weapon X/receiver Antonio Gibson (Harris 100 #103). I'll be honest, I missed on Gibson making the Harris 100 and had I done version 2.0, he would definitely be in the 100. Regardless, he mainly played receiver at Memphis but at the Senior Bowl, he played running back and looked like he had done it for years. He could be a Weapon X sort of player with the ability to add value in multiple ways.
And, lest I forget, one of my favorite sleepers in this class, similar to Gibson, is Darrynton Evans (#101) from Appalachian State. The Floridian can do a little bit of everything on a football field. He ran 4.41 with a 37-inch vertical leap...oh and 20 reps of 225 on the bench. He's fun to watch with a little bit of a Florida streak in him to match.
This might not be a bad spot for a receiver and I have a few on my Harris 100 that would make excellent Texans. Liberty's Antonio Gandy-Golden is #86 and is a big/physical ball magnet. UCF's Gabriel Davis (#94) is 6-2, 216 lb. and ran 4.54 at the Combine. Boise State receiver John Hightower sits at #99 and has some serious juice down the field, of course, something the Texans don't lack if everyone is healthy.
One of my favorite receivers in this draft is SMU's James Proche (#102--yes, I went well beyond 100) but he's more of a slot receiver, which the Texans appear to have a stable of at this point.
For two major reasons, I don't think the Texans will add a tight end--one, this isn't a great tight end class at all and two, the Texans have drafted three tight ends in the past two years (Jordan Akins, Jordan Thomas and Kahale Warring) and re-signed their most productive tight end this off-season (Darren Fells). Again, that's how I see it and that could be completely wrong, which wouldn't be the first time, right?
I still don't think tackle will be in play at this spot, but one of my favorite "sleeper" picks based on where I have him in the Harris 100, respective to most analysts, is LSU's Saahdiq Charles (#87). I think he's a young, physically-put-together ATHLETE that is still learning to play tackle. This is another spot where I'd consider a player like St. John's Ben Bartch (#96) who could play tackle or guard.
Again, I don't think this is a spot where they'll go offensive line given what they've done that past two years and what's currently on the roster. But, if they move up and down the draft board a bit, adding picks, then I could see them going with a lineman, probably more of an interior lineman, though...so, without further ado...
Interior Offensive Lineman
Bartch could fit here as an agile, nasty guard with 33-inch arms, but some other road graders come into view at this spot. It's still a little high for some of the guys I'd consider, but I can make a case for a few.
LSU's Damien Lewis (#108) was outstanding in 2019 and had a strong Senior Bowl to boot. Fresno State's Netane Muti (#105) would absolutely have been in my Harris 100 had he not had such an injury history. That's the ONLY thing that holds him back, honestly. Oregon guard Shane Lemeiux (#109) is not going to wow anyone with his athleticism but his technique is clean and he can be a strength in the run game. Georgia guard Solomon Kindley (#111) is nearly the size of NRG Stadium and packs a serious wallop.
This is really where I see the value in the interior offensive linemen in this draft, hence the number of clustered names in the Harris 100 (and beyond).
Interior Defensive Lineman
Baylor's James Lynch (#95) has played nearly everywhere on the defensive line and has rushed from the edge plenty in the past. But, he's best served rushing from the interior. I'd like to see him play a little more violently, but he was the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for the Bears. Another candidate a bit further down the road is LSU's Rashard Lawrence (#114) can play up and down the line of scrimmage. He returned to LSU to do big things and he had a year to remember, setting himself up for an NFL career to follow.
My highest rated edge player that makes sense at No. 90 is Florida's Jabari Zuniga (#81). Now, he's more of an outside/inside hybrid more than he is a true 100% edge player. But, IF he's healthy, he can be a problem for guards and tackles rushing the quarterback. Notre Dame's Julian Okwara (#88) lost some in production in 2019, but he did have some really impressive rush reps off the edge in the number of games I saw in 2019. He would be a ready-made 3-4 outside linebacker and the more I think about him, the less I think he'll be there at #90.
One player I'm super curious to see what the league thinks about him is Tulsa's Trevis Gipson (#110). My pal Jeremie Poplin is the sideline reporter for the Golden Hurricane and he raved about Gipson and one other player we'll talk about in a bit. So, when I went to the Senior Bowl, I had my antennae up and liked what I saw. 6-foot-3 ½ , 261 lb. with 34+ inch arms. He has some room to grow as a pass rusher, but he's a relentless dude getting after the quarterback.
If speed and effort are on the docket at No. 90 then Colorado's Davion Taylor (#100) is our guy. He's amazingly relentless and plays, cliche though it may be, as if it's his last ever game of football.
LSU star Patrick Queen has gotten a ton of love, and deservedly so, during this draft season but his running mate Jacob Phillips (#107) impressed the heck out of me while studying Queen. He's just 229 lb., but ran a 4.66 in the 40 with a 39-inch vertical jump. He's going to surprise some folks in 2020.
There are a few options here. Notre Dame's Troy Pride (#97) stole the show at the Senior Bowl and worked his way into the Harris 100 with his performance. Louisiana Tech's Amik Robertson (#98) will be off some teams' boards just due to his 5-foot-8 ⅜, 187 lb. size, but he's a football playing dude. He's best served moving inside to play nickel, but he's a feisty, tough competitor. I mentioned Tulsa a little earlier and the other player on my radar is cornerback Reggie Robinson (#106). He's a size, speed demon and will probably be gone before No. 90, the more that I think about it. But, if he's there, I really like his game and thought he had some solid moments at the Senior Bowl.
Some people are bigger fans of Utah's Terrell Burgess (#112) than I am, but he's got some juice (4.46 in the 40) and size (202 lb.). I didn't think he was stellar in coverage at the Senior Bowl earlier in the week, but he was better as the week wore on. Another "cover" safety/nickel candidate is Clemson's K'Von Wallace (#84) who is arguably the best "cover safety" in this draft class. I wasn't completely sold on him until I truly dove into his tape prior to the Senior Bowl, where he followed up with a strong week down in Mobile. After Mobile? Oh yeah, give me some!
For more from John Harris, click here.