Houston Texans: Draft Grades and Recap


During the NFL Draft, the Houston Texans built up assets to help construct the future of their franchise.

Sixty-two. That is the number of times that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson picked, pulled, or peeled himself from the turf last season. Sixty-two sacks was the league record for a quarterback sacked last year, just fourteen shy of the all-time NFL record. Teams have a difficult time scoring when their quarterback is constantly on the carpet. The Texans learned that painful lesson last year, exiting the playoffs early with a Wild-Card loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Fortunately, the Texans front office realized that the best remedy for what ails an oft-sacked, hurried, and harassed Watson is a solid and stellar offensive line. They used this year’s draft to do just that.

Round 1, Selection 23

Tytus Howard, Offensive Tackle, Alabama State

Grade: A+


Howard entered Alabama as a walk-on but was awarded a football scholarship after his freshman year. Those first two years were like a game of ‘musical positions.’ He arrived as a quarterback, was switched to tight end, and then finally to offensive tackle after his scholarship offer. Not surprisingly, he spent the next three years switching back and forth from right and left tackle. Howard started six games his sophomore year, eleven games in 2017, and ten games as a senior


Howard is an athlete, first and foremost. That athleticism combined with his mass and brawn is already enough to go toe-to-toe with many NFL defensive linemen. It will only get better with NFL conditioning, coaching, and experience. He forgoes the predictable early punch and relies on counters and jabs to attack opposing linemen. Howard never quits during a play, he utilizes his hips and feet to maintain position advantage throughout the play. He is as effective and efficient pass blocking as he is rush blocking.

Howard is exactly what the Texans needed and were looking for when they entered this draft. He will be a starting offensive tackle this season. The only question is, right or left?

Round 2, Selection 23


Max Scharping, Offensive Tackle, Northern Illinois

Grade: A

Scharping is the personification of toughness, reliability, and durability. He started all 53 games of his career with Northern Illinois. Scharping is a three-time All-MAC selection, all three First-Team appearances. His gridiron grit is equally matched by his intellect. Scharping’s name appeared on several All-Academics list and he was one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, often called the “Academic Heisman.

Scharping possesses the ideal build for an offensive tackle at 6-foot-6 and 327 pounds. His well-proportioned mass and thick, muscled arms serve him well in pressing edge rushers past the quarterback. He is extremely quick and nimble with inside post-hand jabs. His sheer mass, muscle, and explosiveness drives through potential tacklers and clears the lane for his runner. Scharping needs help with his footwork but will be able to pick that up fairly quickly.

Scharping will definitely perform backup duties at both left and right tackle this season. It will not be long before he is the starting right tackle. This was a great pickup by the Texans.

Round 3, Selection 23

Kahale Warring, Tight End, San Diego State

Grade: C+

Warring is a red-shirt walk-on to San Diego State who was not awarded a scholarship until 2017. However, he only played in three games that year, and just two last year.

Warring has a great frame and size for an NFL tight end. He is a tough blocker and will only get better with experience. He must work on his pass-catching skills, but once he catches it, he gains yards, be it by dodging or dragging tacklers. His high school basketball experience shows and he is the guy who usually comes down with the leap ball. Although his skills are yet raw, his abilities and athleticism are real and need only be molded and honed.

Warring certainly adds needed depth to the Texans tight end corps, but his penchant for dropping easy passes are cause for concern. Warring will either be boom or bust for Houston. He is a gamble, but probably worth it.

Round 5, Selection 23

Charles Omenihu, Defensive End, Texas

Grade: A

Omenihu led the Longhorns in 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks last year. He started all 14 games, making 45 tackles and two pass breakups. He also was voted the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year by league coaches.

Omenihu’s broad shoulders, long limbs, and powerful, muscular legs will disrupt opposing offenses for years to come. The son of Nigerian immigrants, he is not afraid of hard work. He explodes out of his stance and is often the first defender off the ball and in the backfield. His expertise at edge attacks is textbook perfection.

Omenihu will be a starter prior to the end of his rookie season. His NFL-ready frame combined with his natural athletic abilities is custom-made for the Texans tenacious defensive unit.

Round 6, Selection 23

Xavier Crawford, Running Back, Central Michigan

Grade: B

Crawford was a first-team All-Conference selection in the Mid-American Conference for Central Michigan. He broke up twelve passes and nabbed one interception. Crawford played for Oregon State his first three years of college. He netted 87 tackles and one interception.

Crawford is especially gifted in positioning himself to challenge the catch. His agile feet and swivel hips allow him to stick with receivers even on sharp, complex routes. While he is slight of the build for a cornerback, and not especially fast, his makeup gear is exceptional. To play for Romeo Crennel’s defense, however, he’s going to have to step up his aggressiveness and nastiness.

Don’t count on Crawford starting for the Texans any time in the near future. However, he is more than capable of filling in as a backup cornerback from the outside or the slot. His athletic ability, consistency, and long arms give him a great shot at being a starter on special teams.

Round 7, Selection 6

Cullen Gillaspia, Running Back, Texas A&M

Grade: A-

Gillaspia was the revered “12th Man” for the Aggies for three seasons — a streak of 26 games. The honor is bestowed on a player based on his level of determination and hard work shown in practices. The full-bodied fullback is certainly deserving of it. He played three full seasons for Texas A&M, both on offense and special teams. Gillaspia also earned the Special Teams Most Impactful Award in his senior year.

Gillaspia is a go-getter with a ‘never say die’ attitude. He has sure hands and can add yards after a catch. He does an excellent job in protecting the quarterback when he stands in on plays. Surprisingly, he has impressive speed for a fullback and get at it on wide stretch plays. His lead blocking skills need some work, but that is coachable, and Gillaspia has the athletic tools to seamlessly transition.

Gillaspia is a great pickup for the Texans. He will be a starter as a rookie on special teams and not far behind as a starter on offense. His impact for the Texans will be immediate.

Many Texans fans were disappointed with their selections this draft. After all, offensive linemen are not sexy. They don’t put up spectacular numbers. You never see them on the highlight reels. Picking a lineman in the draft is akin to getting socks for Christmas. Sure, you need them, but they’re just socks. Or, as former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman, Blaine Nye, better analogized it, “Offensive linemen are like salt. Nobody ever remembers the brand they buy.”

The Texans front office did a superb job getting the players that will make the Texans a better football team right now. While fans may not be happy with it, Watson sure is sleeping better at night.


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