May 9, 2016
Draft Fills Need for Speed
by Bob Hulsey
With two trade-ups, the Houston Texans came away from the 2016 draft with only six selections but the folks on Kirby thinks they made the right calls.
With a new quarterback (Brock Osweiler) and a new starting halfback (Lamar Miller) acquired in free agency, the Texans chose to add more offensive weapons with the selections of first-round receiver Will Fuller of Notre Dame and third-round receiver Braxton Miller of Ohio State. Both possess top speed with the intention of expanding the field and opening up underneath routes for Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins. Expect the Texans to open it up more than past seasons and show better ability to come back when falling behind.
To add even more spice to the offense, the Texans chose undersized running back Tyler Ervin from San Jose State in the fourth round as a special teams role player who could eventually become a third-down specialist.
In addition, the Texans added second-round center/guard Nick Martin from Notre Dame to anchor a reshuffled front they hope will block out invaders and open holes better than last year's crew.
What about the defense? Rick Smith used the last two selections to choose strong safety K.J. Dillon of West Virginia and defensive tackle D.J. Reader of Clemson who will be added to J.J. Watt, J.J. Joseph, K.J. Johnson, K.J. Jackson, W.J. Mercilus, J.J. Clowney, V.J. Wilfork and B.J. Cushing to form the nucleus of R.J. Crennel's stout defense.
Seriously though, the Texans' quest for speed overlooked a need to add depth at defensive end and tight end. Undrafted free agents Stephen Anderson, Joel Heath and Ufomba Kamalu have a special opportunity to make the club.
Behind Osweiler at quarterback, the Texans released last year's starter Brian Hoyer but re-signed his backup, Brandon Weedon.
The 2016 schedule has been released. Included are five primetime games (at New England, week 3, vs. Indianapolis, week 6, at Denver, week 7, at Oakland, week 11, and vs. Cincinnati, week 16). Ahead comes the journey of long hot days leading up to the season opener at NRG Stadium on September 11th against the Chicago Bears.
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