STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 30: KJ Hamler #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions attempts to catch a pass against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 30, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
The Houston Texans have to find a way to win now by surrounding Deshaun Watson with offensive talent in the 2020 NFL draft.
The 2020 offseason began with a bang for the Houston Texans as head coach and GM Bill O’Brien shipped superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona in exchange for an aging David Johnson. He did manage to add second round pick in exchange for a fourth in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft though.
Still, things got even weirder when the Texans then replaced Hopkins with another aging player, wide receiver Randall Cobb. Houston gave the former Packers and Cowboys wideout $27 million over three years. Cobb will surely fill the slot role in the Texans offense, but WR will remain a need heading into the draft. Deshaun Watson should be surrounded by more talent on his side of the ball while he is still on a rookie contract, and even without a first round pick, the Texans have the draft capital to do so.
Houston will likely look to load up on offense, with skill players and on the line, but they will also have to address their pass rush situation. J.J. Watt can’t seem to ever stay on the field and the teams numbers took a dip with the departure of Jadaveon Clowney last year. Luckily, pass rushers and edge defenders can be found in the middle rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Texans do not have a 2020 or 2021 first-round pick after trading for Laremy Tunsil before the start of last season.
Although the Texans added Cobb to go along with Kenny Stills and Will Fuller, receiver will remain a need until they can find another young talent to add to the mix. That’s tough to do without a first-round pick, but Penn State’s K.J. Hamler is a great Day 2 option. He has superb speed and has shown the ability to have an astronomical impact in a game.
Hamler’s athleticism and separation are always on display, and he has the skills to make a difference after the catch. His size will be a concern at 5-foot-9, but in today’s NFL, speed kills. Hamler will have to avoid big hits though to stay healthy enough to make an impact.
With an additional second-round pick, the Texans can make another decision with Deshaun Watson in mind. In 2019, they gave up 49 sacks and 93 QB hits, both in the bottom third of the league. If Houston wants to have any success with Watson still on his rookie deal, it needs to protect him. TCU’s Lucas Niang is a high upside Day 2 offensive tackle that could step in and contribute immediately. He is agile and has displayed a great football IQ. Niang is viewed as NFL-starter ready, and should have a solid career in the league.