Over the course of May, both Joe Marino 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:
|169||CB||Treston Decoud||Oregon State|
Best Value: RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Foreman was one of six backs in this year’s crop of runners that I thought could be a featured back. He won’t have to shoulder that kind of responsibility early on for the Texans, as he’ll pair with 2016 free agent signee Lamar Miller. But Houston got great value here to land a runner with physicality between the tackles and some nice straight line juice.
Foreman was much maligned throughout the process for his pass protection skills but I felt he entered the league with a strong foundation. Foreman can not only help this team with his own contributions but if he keeps Lamar Miller out of pass protection reps (Miller has not fully proven to be the most durable back) he can help make Miller better as well.
Worst Value: OT Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell
Davenport was a player that got buzz as early as the second round by some draft resources. To be quite frank, I didn’t think Davenport warranted much more than a final round flier. He does possess prototypical left tackle traits: long arms, powerful lower half and mobility. The problem? Davenport doesn’t have the first idea on how to successfully implement his skills.
The good news for Houston is Davenport can be properly treated like what he is: a long term project. Davenport should be afforded several seasons of NFL coaching in hopes that his high ceiling can be unlocked. He will require a great deal of technique work and cerebral polish.
Could Surprise: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Not that I believe Watson’s impending success is the surprise, rather how quickly I believe it’s going to come. Watson has gone to a place that has a great deal of parallels to where he was successful in college. There are skill players around him that win in similar ways to how he was accustomed to winning, as well.
De’Andre Hopkins as his Mike Williams, Will Fuller as his Deon Cain, Lamar Miller as his Wayne Gallman, Braxton Miller (with a year at WR under his belt) as his Hunter Renfrow slot option. Watson should be able to look around the field and feel comfortable with how his receivers win; because it’s very similar to how his skill guys have won in college.
Coach Bill O’Brien has had a rough go of things with his QBs in recent years. Watson will be able to unlock new pieces to the playbook and the Texans’ offense should open up, sooner than you might think.