The Houston Texans are hoping their investments of 2017 provide the push for a big rebound in 2018. Deshaun Watson and running back D’Onta Foreman showed a good deal of promise but ended the year on injured reserve. The Texans will need their 2018 crop to further bridge the youth movement, a challenging prospect since the team has no first- or second-round picks.
Using the FanSpeak On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator, here is one realistic scenario that would make sense for the Texans.
Round 3, pick 68: Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Houston’s offensive line needs some work, to put it mildly. The Texans’ staff was present in full force at the Senior Bowl to watch Cappa shine with his short-area movement skills and effective pass sets. The week in Mobile, Ala., gave the staff a close connection with the small-school prospect.
Will he actually fall to 68, as he did in this simulation? Who knows? The value here feels right and would fill a massive need for Houston.
Round 3, pick 80: Jessie Bates III, SAF, Wake Forest
Redshirt sophomore safety Jessie Bates III is a fun prospect with strong ball skills and an aggressive approach to filling into the line of scrimmage against the run. While his tackling habits will need to be refined, Bates has youth on his side and would be a big athletic upgrade over Ibraheim Campbell, their highest returning strong safety under contract.
Round 3, pick 98: Kendrick Norton Jr., DL, Miami (FL)
Norton Jr. is flying under the radar on account of his status as a two-gap defender without a lot of backfield penetration. But for Houston, Norton can provide great depth and flexibility up front. With such a strong front-seven foundation, a player like Norton can be a luxury pick to further strengthen the middle.
Round 4, pick 105: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Averett had a strong year at Alabama. With Jonathan Joseph and Marcus Williams set to hit the market as free agents, the Texans will need warm bodies in the secondary. Averett is a bit lean but plays with good fight and has the same quickness Houston prefers in its cornerbacks.
Round 6, pick 180: Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan
Conklin is an underrated gem in a deep tight end class. His ability to play both as a blocker and a receiver should offer him opportunities to get reps early. Add the uncertain future of tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussions), and it would be wise for the Texans to address this position. Conklin is an above-average athlete with good posture as a blocker.
Round 6, pick 212: Sean Welsh, OL, Iowa
Welsh is a mobile interior lineman who illustrates some effective hands to fight for positioning. His anchor and functional strength are not great, but that has fazed the team before. (Kyle Fuller, Greg Mancz, Nick Martin and David Quessenberry all had core/strength flaws when coming out.)
Round 6, pick 215: Kenny Young, LB, UCLA
Few LBs finished the year as strongly as Kenny Young, who had 107 total tackles in the team’s final 10 games of 2017. Young has decent size and a good eye for anticipating plays. His depth would be valued with the loss of veteran LB Brian Cushing (cut last week).
Round 7, pick 222: Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
Lasley has been a productive receiver for Josh Rosen with the speed and big-play ability to develop into a favored target for Deshaun Watson. Off-field troubles are going to be a cause for concern and will cause him to fall here.