With 7 picks, Texans address areas of need in the draft
HOUSTON (AP) — Texans second-year general manager Brian Gaine felt the team addressed several areas of need in the draft.
“That was one of the emphasis, we wanted to increase team speed, team size, team length, team strength,” Gaine said. “We feel we were able to fortify those things through this draft weekend.”
In the first two rounds, it was evident the Texans wanted to improve the protection around Deshaun Watson, who was sacked a league-high 62 times last season. Houston drafted two offensive lineman in Tytus Howard (No. 23 overall) and Max Scharping (No. 55 overall) within its first three selections.
This is the first time the Texans have spent a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since taking Duane Brown in 2006 with the 26th overall pick. It is also the first time Houston has taken two offensive linemen in the same draft since 2017 when it drafted Julien Davenport and Kyle Fuller.
Houston also invested in the secondary, drafting a pair of cornerbacks in 6-foot-2 Lonnie Johnson Jr. (54th overall) and 5-foot-11 Xavier Crawford (195th overall), who both bring some length.
“We’re very excited about this draft class,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “We really feel good about every single guy and their potential contribution to the roster and we’re excited to get started with them.”
The Texans will now finish filling additional needs through undrafted free agency with rookie minicamp on the horizon.
WHO THEY GOT
The Texans added yet another tight end to the room by drafting Kahale Warring (86th overall) in their final pick of the second round.
Warring adds another tight end to the roster. The 6-foot-5, 252-pound player didn’t play football until his final year of high school.
University of Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu (161st overall), the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018, is the first defensive end taken by the Texans since 2017 and will now come in and learn from one of the best.
“I think I can learn from J.J. (Watt), especially,” Omenihu said. “Just because we play the same position. Just hand work, how to use my length a little bit better and with Jadeveon (Clowney) he’s played multiple positions with the Texans. Crazy enough I wore No. 7 because of him in high school, wore No. 90 because of him as well. A guy I just watched and I want to be just like him.”
With their final pick, the Texans took the “12th Man” from Texas A&M. Cullen Gillaspia (220th overall), who was originally a walk-on, wore No. 12 for the Aggies and this past season played fullback for the first time in his college career.
Gillaspia is a native of Houston, playing high school football at Katy Taylor, and attended the Texans local pro day. Gillaspia becomes the first 12th man to get drafted.
“Going from a special teams guy to a first-year fullback hearing that call you hope for it, but you don’t necessarily expect it,” said Gillaspia, who was emotional when he received the call while at a family crawfish boil. “You prepare for the best and expect the worst. When I got that call in the seventh round, I couldn’t have been happier. Brian Gaine called me and made me a Texan and this is a dream come true.”
HOW THEY DID
The Texans had a plan entering the draft and seemed to have executed it.
Gaine, who didn’t have a first or second-round pick last year, didn’t change how he approached this year’s draft.
“Our whole goal for the draft was to honor the process,” Gaine said. “We had a very good balance of best available, mixed with the opportunity to meet team needs.”
The Texans addressed a lot of needs in this draft. It looks as though Houston has added plenty of depth in the secondary and on the offensive line with the draft and free agency.
“We’re trying to do the best job possible to create the most competitive roster possible,” O’Brien said about approaching undrafted free agency. “That’s when you have a good football team. When at every stage of the year you have a very competitive roster. That’s what we’re going to work to do.”