The Texans made offensive line a priority, selecting Alabama State tackle Tytus Howard with a first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Howard (6-5, 322), a former high school quarterback, was recruited as a tight end before switching to offensive line in 2015 for the Hornets.
"He never lost that athleticism as he grew into his 320-plus pound body," John Harris said. "He dominated FCS competition throughout his career and when he lined up against Auburn's diversified defensive line crew, he handled them all. It was one of the best offensive line performances I saw this draft season. His potential is off the charts, no matter whether he plays right or left tackle in the future."
Howard put on nearly 100 pounds between high school and the NFL Draft, leaving Monroe County High School at 6-2, 225 pounds. Referring to himself as "a late bloomer," Howard credits his strength staff at Alabama State as well as eating his fiance's home cooking, especially his favorite chicken spaghetti, for gaining weight while maintaining athleticism.
"I'm able to move in ways that offensive linemen aren't able to move," Howard said. "I think me playing tight end and quarterback just helped me because I never lost it.
Howard met with the Texans several times, meeting with the staff at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine and making a team visit as part of the pre-draft evaluation process.
"I'm just blessed to be a part of the Houston Texans, a great organization," Howard said via conference call. "I had a good feeling about the team when I went and did my visit and they decided to draft me and I promise you they didn't make a mistake. I'm going to give them everything I have."
Howard is just the second offensive lineman selected by the Texans in the first round of the NFL Draft, since 2008 when Houston drafted tackle Duane Brown with the 26th overall pick.