Y'all remember that time that the Houston Texans nearly killed Deshaun Watson through his first two years in the league? 62 sacks taken in 2018? 10.9% sack percentage? You know who definitely remembers? Deshaun Watson. The poor guy probably still aches from all of the body blows he took in 2018.
So where do we go from here? The Texans suggested in Indianapolis last month that they're hopeful to see OT Seantrel Henderson in the line-up again next year, for starters. Uhh, Houston? We have a problem.
The Texans need to go all-in on their offensive line and protect the future of their franchise. The good news? I've identified three ideal fits for the Texans to target when they're on the clock.
Andre Dillard, Washington State
Dillard isn't a player without his warts. His hand usage at times is a bit suspect and that can allow pass rushers to gain a favorable angle on him as they look to turn the corner. But regardless of these technical issues, Dillard possesses the necessary physical tools to shine at the pro level. He's mastered his footwork to stay well framed on blocks, which offers promise that his hand usage will develop with time as well.
Now, there's going to be a bit of an awkward transition as Dillard transitions from the quick hitting Cougars offense to a system that features a quarterback like Watson, who loves to hold the ball and let things develop. Should that concern the Texans, not to worry. I came with alternative options.
Dalton Risner, Kansas State
"Kyle, is Risner a guard? A center? A tackle?" That's a great question and I'm glad you asked. Personally? I don't really care if he plays guard or tackle. He's an upgrade over Henderson at RT and Fulton/Kelemete at both guard spots. Heck, he's not someone I'd target to play left tackle but I'd still mention him as an upgrade there too over Julie'n Davenport. And here's the thing: Risner is strong as hell and he's even meaner than he is strong. The Houston bookends have an attitude problem, they play soft too often.
I dare you to plug Risner into the lineup at any of the five spots up front and find a more tone setting defender. Risner's foot speed for the edge isn't ideal, but he's so damn big and has the reach needed to help mitigate these issues effectively with his size.
Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
McCoy played center at Texas A&M, but he'd be another just fine option to plug into the guard spots if Houston wanted to beef up the interior. Shoot, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line! Consider McCoy your "break glass in case of emergency" play: he's not preferable to someone with tackle availability, but what happens if Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Dalton Risner and Andre Dillard are gone? Houston likes Nick Martin and he should be given the benefit of the doubt entering 2019 to man the center position, so that mitigates the value you'll find in NCST center Garrett Bradbury.
McCoy is more scheme diverse and provides a plus asset to the interior before Houston comes back on the clock in Round 2 to regroup and target a different offensive tackle with better value.