The Leftovers: Free agent/Draft targets, Year 2 prospects, position switches

Fans on Facebook and Twitter sent in questions for Drew Dougherty. He answered a few in the video above, and one fan won some Texas Lottery scratchoff tickets. He answered many more in the article below.

Willis Odika: Dear Drew, What position do you think the Houston Texans will pick up during free agency?

DD: Cornerback. They’ll certainly add pieces at other positions, but I think adding help in coverage is a huge priority and there’s a bit of veteran help available that can come at reasonable prices. They’ll likely sign an offensive lineman, but I’d be mildly surprised if they acquire a veteran tackle that’s capable of starting. Also look out for the Texans to sign a veteran wide receiver who would understand he’s likely the fourth option behind a healthy trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee.

@ronpoole7: Dear Drew, Which Year-two player are you most excited to see? (You can only pick one.)

DD: This is a fantastic question, because of the options available. Last year’s rookie class was an impressive one, and from the first player they chose in third-round safety Justin Reid all the way through undrafted free agents like punter Trevor Daniel and receiver Vyncint Smith, you saw guys make meaningful contributions. I could make strong cases for Reid, lineman Martinas Rankin, and receiver Keke Coutee to name a few, but I’ll go with Jordan “Big Baby” Thomas. The tight end was learning the position last year, and he still managed to catch four touchdowns. His size and speed, and background as a wide receiver at Mississippi State are all really intriguing. Now with an offseason in the program and knowledge of the offense and how to be a pro, he could really be a nice option in the passing game for Deshaun Watson and the offense. Plus, I spent an afternoon at the carnival with him yesterday, so that was fun.

@matt_attack95: DearDrew, Any opportunities to be an intern for you?

DD: Sure. Although, you wouldn’t be JUST my intern. Right now there are a few postings available, so apply here: https://www.teamworkonline.com/football-jobs/texans/houston-texans/internship. Good luck and hope you make it through! This is an awesome place to work.

@Derwin023: Dear Drew, Do teams ever change how they draft or target free agency based on moves within the division. Specifically could the Jags signing Nick Foles re-order the acquisition priorities for Brian Gaine?

DD: Derwin, I certainly think the personnel on another team impacts how you construct your own. I don’t think Foles to the Jaguars, though, would cause the Texans to jiggle their personnel moves, though. If anything, I think slowing down the likes of receiver T.Y. Hilton with the Colts, and potentially receiver Corey Davis in Tennessee would spur the Texans to address their secondary. Conversely, we’ve seen AFC South teams bolster their offensive lines over the last few years, as they’ve all known a steady diet of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus is something to worry about when you face the Texans.

Matthew Garza: Dear Drew, Do you own any Texans jerseys?

DD: I do not. If I did, though, I’d probably need to get a Battle Red Shaun Cody jersey.

Ian Cottle: Dear Drew, If O-Line starts coming off the board early in the draft do you see the Texans trying to move up with maybe one of the second rounders being a trade asset?

DD: If the Texans make a trade in the Draft, I think it would be to move back. This looks like a pretty strong year for offensive linemen and I could see them moving down a little more than I could moving up. Hopefully, there’s a run on quarterbacks and defensive linemen in the top end of the Draft, which would drive the linemen and corners further down to 23.

Joshua Mccarty: Dear Drew, Do you think we are re-signing Tyrann Mathieu?

DD: I’m cool with it, and I think the Texans want him back, based on everything we’ve heard GM Brian Gaine and head coach Bill O’Brien say. But he’s a free agent and will likely test the market. He came in and was an impact guy on the field, starting all 16 games. He was an impact guy in the locker room, becoming a team captain after just a few months in the organization. And he was an impact guy in the city, going out and about and speaking at events and giving of his time. O’Brien had this to say about him at a Combine press conference last week, which would indicate the Texans want the safety to return: “I’ve said it time and time again, this guy came in and was there from the offseason program and then at the end of training camp was voted a team captain. I think that says a lot about the impact he had – not just as a player, he’s a good football player, he’s a smart football player, he’s a versatile player – but also, what he meant leadership-wise in the locker room. Again, I’ll let Brian (Gaine) kind of address the contractual things tomorrow when he talks, but there’s no doubt that we would love to have Tyrann back.”

Jorge Duenas: Dear Drew, Will J.J. Watt ever switch to the offense as maybe a tight end? Maybe not now but when he has a few more years of use and abuse on the defense. Hate to see him hurt, but maybe TE would be less wear on him?

DD: No, Jorge, not full time. Tight ends get abused, too. He’s one of the finest defensive players in the history of the game, and he’ll play there until he hangs it up, which hopefully isn’t anytime soon. I wouldn’t rule out seeing him line up in goal line situations at tight end, though. He was awesome when he did that in 2014.

Nick Larson: Dear Drew, Texans showing any interest in Golden Tate?

DD: Nick, it’s a name that makes a lot of sense. He started eight of 15 games last season, despite getting dealt to Philadelphia in the middle of the year. Tate went through a four-year stretch from 2014-2017 when he averaged 93 catches for 1,056 yards. He started all 16 games in each of those campaigns. I think he’ll likely sign elsewhere, but he’d certainly make sense here.

Samantha Hallas: Dear Drew, Do you have any info on the Draft Party at NRG Stadium this year? I wasn't able to go last year, but hopefully I'll be able to go for the first time ever this year!

DD: No major details yet, but yes, the Texans have a first round pick so there will be a draft party at NRG Stadium on Thursday night, April 25.

Raymund Vinalon: Dear Drew, Is offensive coordinator Tim Kelly gonna call plays?

DD: Good question, Raymund. O’Brien was asked that last week in Indianapolis in the press conference at the Combine, and here’s his answer:

“I think it’s so early right now to really talk about any of that. We’re really concentrated on the draft. We’re concentrated on what we want to do. We have a nine-week offseason program that starts April 15. But going to your original question, first of all, every playcaller starts somewhere. So where do you start? Where does the process start as a playcaller? It starts with obviously having a great understanding of your system, having a great understanding of defense, which Timmy does. And then it starts with how much scripting do you want to give them? Will he call the plays in practice? Who will translate the play from the script, or even off the script, to the quarterback in practice? There’s a lot of ways you can train a playcaller. But until you’re actually doing it in a game, it’s exactly what you said. You have to get a feel for it. You have to get a feel for your team. You have to understand how the game’s being played, how you’re being played defensively and things like that. Those are all things that we will work through but we’re real early in that process.”

Armando Oceguera: Any plans for the Texans to visit México during the offseason ? Please say yes.

DD: Sorry Armando, it’s looking unlikely. There’s a good chance the Texans will be down in the Rio Grande Valley later this month, and then in Austin and San Antonio sometime in the early summer.

Check out the best shots of QB Deshaun Watson from the 2018 season.

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