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Marino | Houston Texans draft class reaction

APR 27 2017 NFL Draft
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Marino | Houston Texans draft class reaction

Over the course of May, both Kyle Crabbs and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Houston Texans.

The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:

Selection Position Player School
12 QB Deshaun Watson Clemson
57 LB Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt
89 RB D’Onta Foreman Texas
130 OT Julie’n Davenport Bucknell
142 DT Carlos Watkins Clemson
169 CB Treston Decoud Oregon State
243 C Kyle Fuller Baylor


Best Value:  LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Zach Cunningham is a 3-down linebacker with top-end reactionary skills. It’s apparent that Cunningham has a strong grasp of offensive strategies and film study as he is seemingly always a step ahead. He diagnoses plays quickly, commits, and closes. He has good range and the ability to make plays beyond the numbers. Sound in coverage, Cunningham flows well in space with the speed to carry running backs and tight ends into space.

He does have some issues coming to balance as a tackler, which cannot be overlooked. Cunningham projects as an impact starter as a weak side linebacker in a 4-3 alignment. The Texans will get first-round production out of Cunningham.

Worst Value:  OT Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell

Julie’n Davenport impressively started every game throughout his college career and offers exciting physical traits that garner attention. While Davenport has exceptional length and size, developing technique to blend with his physical traits is necessary for NFL success.

Everything is seen in flashes, but raw application is highly inconsistent. His foot speed is adequate, but he must play with a wide base and keep his feet alive throughout reps more consistently.

His hands are strong, but working his hand fits and developing a more efficient punch are musts moving forward. Davenport has a considerably high ceiling should the technical aspects improve, and is worth investing in as a developmental prospect. With that said, Davenport was the 209th player on my board so pick 130 was too early for my liking.

Could Surprise:  RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas

D’Onta Foreman is a big-bodied, fluid runner with outstanding burst and speed for his size. Foreman has the size of a power back but the style of a smaller, more elusive back.

Foreman does well to make good decisions with the football and rarely has negative plays due to indecision or going against the play design unnecessarily. He has quick feet and the ability to make sharp cuts in tight quarters, as well as good lateral movement skills.

Foreman is a size/speed back that can carry a heavy workload, but must prove himself as a pass-catcher and blocker. He has starter traits if he rounds out his skill set.

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Joe Marino

Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. A member of the FWAA, Marino writes about the NFL, College Football and NFL Draft for FanRag Sports.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jim

    May 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Raekwon McMillan has more speed and had more responsibilities and more production and less misses than Cunningham. But Cunningham became the media darling…so….scouting?….or politics?

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