Houston Texans: Three offensive tackles to target in the 2019 NFL Draft

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans
Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford, who should be targeted by the Houston Texans (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Tackle #1: Cody Ford

I can’t think of an offensive tackle that would fit greater than the likes of Cody Ford.  He’s a perfect fit for the Houston Texans.  The words “versatile,” “flexibility” and “athleticism” revolve around this guy like the nine planets — yes, Pluto is officially a planet again — of the solar system around the sun.

These attributes should make any Houston Texans draft scout have their mouth watering with exfoliating foam as a lubricant for their inquisitive chins.

The 6-foot-3, 329-pound tackle with 34-inch arms and 9.75-inch hands out of the University of Oklahoma is NFL-ready and has proven that he can play guard as well.  That helps with an offensive line that seemed to do a lot of shifting of duties last season, either because of injury or just a way to stop the bleeding of Deshaun Watson getting creamed out on the field.

Ford had the pleasure of protecting Kyler Murray — who’s expected to be the No. 1 pick of the draft — a quarterback that possesses similar traits of our Deshaun so he knows how to not only eat up the space that he’s covering but is extremely effective in ensuring that nothing gets past him.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), through 877 snaps, Ford had a 76.5 grade for the 2018 season which that would constitute a better grade than any of the tackles that were on the 2018 roster, let alone the entire offensive line itself.

Ford was ranked 4th among tackles this past season in pass-blocking efficiency, which is a calculation that PFF uses as a metric weighing how they handle pressures and sacks.  Ford had an excellent PBE of a 99.1.

And out of all the tackles that faced pressure on the inside as well as bull rush pressure, Ford was ranked 6th in terms of tackles that faced it the most.  He took 231.5 snaps with inside pressure and 462.0 in bull rush, demonstrating that this man can hold his own and still perform well when the heat is on, even against the best of the NFL.

He will be the proverbial wall that Watson needs for protection and the Houston Texans should be at the front of the line for this guy.

He’s above-average with his pass, run and screen blocking and the only knock on him was the 10 penalties that he accrued in 2018 which were the most of his career.  Even with him being a red shirt junior football player, that is kind of alarming but this was the only season where he saw significant playing time.

And besides, this is something that could be easily fixed with coaching at the next level.  There’s no question he will rack up some penalties as a professional but the upside far outweighs his drawbacks.

He made all of his starts at right tackle in his 14 games competing in the Big 12 and was a first-team selection within the conference for this past season.

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It’s important to note that Ford was a four-star recruit out of high school and was named Offensive Player of the Year among the Oklahoma Scout Team in his red shirt season back in 2015.

He also valued his opportunity to finish up his education as an athlete and was graduate of the university this past December with a degree in criminology.  That’s interesting — so I guess he wants to be a part of some police department’s C.S.I. team when he hangs it up from football!

But you don’t have to take my word for it, here’s what Lance Zierlein had to say about Ford:

"“Ford offers a rare combination of physical and athletic traits that will have NFL teams dreaming of his upside. He is raw and relatively inexperienced as a starting tackle with exploitable holes that will need to be patched before he can thrive in the pros. As a tackle, he’s a developmental, high-risk/reward talent. The safer (and better?) route might be to play him as a guard where he will face less exposure in pass protection and where his size and athleticism should allow him to become a plus run-blocker fairly quickly.”"

Zierlein also compares Ford’s traits to those of Brandon Brooks, who was truly one of my favorite Houston Texans that was not retained when his free agency was up for bid a few seasons back.  He has since flourished with the Philadelphia Eagles on a lucrative contract and now has a Super Bowl ring to boot.

The Houston Texans have an opportunity to get a player of his caliber back by drafting Ford into the mix.  We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed but I think he’s the right type of guy to bring into the fold.