The Houston Texans have solidified the line heading into the draft but it is still a need. If Andre Dillard isn’t available, the team needs to trade back.
You see that dead horse right there? Yeah, I’m gonna keep beating it. The Houston Texans need to address the offensive line. Deshaun Watson was hit 133 times last year and sacked 62 times. That is far beyond too much.
Fortunately, the Texans have begun to address the line that sent nightmares of the David Carr days to fans across the city. Seantrel Henderson was re-signed to another one year deal after he got hurt less than a game into the 2018 season and Matt Khalil was brought in on an incentive laden one year deal.
Henderson doesn’t provide much confidence but he has proven to be more than capable when healthy but it’s the health that has been a problem. Khalil is a different story. The former top five pick was very good for his first few years in the league but he’s been below average and extremely banged up, including a torn ACL last year.
So, adding depth and competition is very good but Henderson and Khalil don’t scream “solved” at this problem that is the offensive line. The Houston Texans still have a lot of work to do to ensure their franchise quarterback stays upright more often in 2019 than he did in 2018.
This draft class lacks a surefire top offensive line prospect, not that it really matters for the Texans, though, since they’re picking 23rd overall in the first round. But, this also makes it way less predictable as to which offensive lineman will be available when it’s Houston’s turn on the clock.
There is, however, one prospect I believe the team should be enamored with. That man is Andre Dillard from Washington State University. Dillard comes from an Air Raid system, which some will hold against him. That being said, he is the best pass blocking tackle in this class hands down and that is because he suited up for Mike Leach in his Air Raid system.
Dillard is extremely athletic, posting a sub 5.00 forty yard dash, a near 10-foot broad jump, and a near 30-inch vertical jump. He also has tremendous size at 6’5″ and about 315 lbs. He’s the whole package at left tackle and exactly what the Houston Texans need to help fix their massive problem at offensive line.
However, as always, there are a bunch of teams in front of the Houston Texans that could use offensive line help, specifically at tackle. By my count, there are at least four or five who could easily go tackle, if not more. So, Dillard being available at 23 overall is no sure thing.
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Here comes the bad news, after Dillard, there is no sure thing at tackle that will match the value at 23 overall unless another tackle like Jawaan Taylor or Jonah Williams sees a draft day slide. There are other offensive line prospects on the interior the team could target but if Dillard isn’t available, the Texans should just opt to trade down.
There are a lot of good defensive players, particularly along the defensive line. So, if one of those guys begins to slip, teams may be looking to take the leap to snag a falling player. It could be the perfect opportunity for the Houston Texans to slide down the draft board to collect more assets to build a better team around Watson and company.
Brian Gaine proved himself to be success drafting contributing players in his first year in charge in spite of not having any picks in the first two rounds. The team could easily find more value at the end of round one or beginning of round two than they potentially could at 23 if Dillard weren’t there.
Of course, trading back is no sure thing but it could be the route to take if they can’t get a stud like Dillard in the first round. The Texans have several holes to plug on both sides of the ball and accumulating draft assets will allow the team to fill more of them in order to more strongly contend now and in the future.
Tying oneself to a single prospect can be a risky move but Dillard is a phenomenal prospect and a perfect fit for the Houston Texans. How would you feel if the team wound up trading back in this year’s draft? Drop a comment and let us know!