The Houston Texans have selected the incredibly athletic Tytus Howard 23rd overall in the first round of the NFL Draft. Could they have waited? Let’s look.
Houston Texans fans — the pick is in the for the first round and we now know what the team valued the most in terms deciding what position on the football field to address first. After all of the rumors that were floating that the franchise was going to trade out of the 23rd pick, they ended proceeding to use it for an offensive tackle.
Did they snag Jonah Williams? Cody Ford? Andre Dillard? Actually, they went with Alabama State tackle Tytus Howard, who had worked out for the team recently, as their first pick of the NFL Draft. I’d imagine that the reactions were mixed among fans for the pick but when you look at his raw talent as well as his athleticism, he has the potential to be an extremely strong asset for the Houston Texans.
The 6-foot-7, 317-pound tackle, who’s a native of Monroeville, Ala. — about 100 miles southwest of ASU — has a tremendous amount of size as well as blazing speed, having run the 40-yard dash in 5.05 seconds at the NFL Combine.
For a guy of his size, that’s amazing to hear and it falls in-step with Brian Gaine’s “stronger, longer, faster” recurring theme for the type of guys that he likes to bring in.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Howard had a 77.6 overall grade through 659 snaps in 2018. He was ranked 14th among tackles nationwide in run-block success percentage (93.9) with his 34-inch arms and 10.6-inch hands.
PFF has him graded out as an above-average pass/run blocker who avoids negative blocking and has a high percentage of positive run blocks. He’s ranked 24th in Pass Blocking Efficiency (98.3) and did face a tremendous amount of pressure throughout 2018, which was his most significant season of playing time in his collegiate career.
He allowed a paltry 11 pressures for the season which included six quarterback hurries, four QB hits and just one sack.
Howard, who was originally was a quarterback at Monroe County (Ala.) High School, bulked up from 230 to 317 pounds when asked by head coach Donald Hill-Eley to morph into an offensive lineman. Aaron Wilson of the Chron reported that he credits his fiancee’s chicken spaghetti that enabled him to pick up 87 pounds to have the girth needed to protect his assignment game-in and out.
What the experts are saying
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
NFL Draft guru Jim Nagy:
Rivers McCown, who covered the Houston Texans‘ beat for The Athletic last season:
The Bottom Line
I’m still completely dumbfounded that the Houston Texans didn’t strike when they had the opportunity to trade up to get Andre Dillard or even take Cody Ford at 23. Obviously, there was something that they didn’t like about both of those guys or they’d be introducing themselves as a member of the team.
But I like Howard’s story — it begs of the underdog-type mentality that is going to do everything
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that he can to succeed. He’s already made history by being the highest-drafted player ever from Alabama State. If the man can amazingly gain 87 pounds worth of girth just to do what the coaches ask of him, there’s no telling what this guy will do for this team.
He’s versatile — what the Houston Texans like — that play either on the left or right side. With me betting that Seantrel Henderson will have a bounce-back season, I think he’s going to get his start on the left side but that’s something that we’ll have monitor. It’s not likely but it’s possible that he’d eventually be the primary backup for Henderson as well on the right side.
I keep hearing that he’s raw in terms of his skill set for the professional level but that honestly is not going to matter. He may have time to develop but I think he’s going to learning on the fly because of the dire need for talented tackles to be able to protect Deshaun Watson.
My best guess is that Howard will start the season on the bench but could quickly move into the starting lineup if the ship starts to sink with Julién Davenport and/or Matt Kalil — I still have Davenport penned as my Week 1 starter for the 2019 season — having to jump into the foray trying to figure out how to pass/run block at the pro level.
His athleticism may be enough to allow him to be successful early-in — to which I think he will be — but I think it’s going to take a season or two to determine if Howard was the right guy for the Houston Texans. But the more I’ve learned about him, the more I’ve become a fan and wish him nothing but the best as he starts his career with this team.
Let’s do this!
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