When the Houston Texans traded their 2018 second round pick to Cleveland for them to take on the contract of Brock Osweiler, we were ecstatic. When they traded their 2018 first round pick to Cleveland for the right to select Deshaun Watson, we were euphoric. Then when we saw Watson actually play... I mean, is there an adjective to even describe THAT?
However, like most good things, eventually there is a payback period, and that period is now here. We are now into NFL Draft season, and we are quickly finding out that, when you root for a team with no picks until the third round, following the draft is like walking Rodeo Drive with maxed out credit cards. Window shopping only, no buying!
To that end, the NFL Combine has taken place over the last several days, and while it's a little empty watching all these 40 yard dashes and bench presses, there were a handful of performances of which Texan fans should take note. Here are a few:
SHAQUEM GRIFFIN, LB, UCF
This was the feel good story of the weekend. In case you hadn't heard, Griffin, an outside linebacker for undefeated Central Florida this past season, was born with amniotic band syndrome, which effected the growth of his left hand. Eventually, it would necessitate an amputation of the hand, however, Griffin was still able to play most sports growing up. Griffin's performance at the combine was other worldly, as he benched 225 pounds 20 times while using a prosthesis on his left hand, and ran the fastest 40 yard dash time for a linebacker since 2003, a dazzling 4.38 seconds. While Griffin has proven he can be a productive player, even with the handicap, he is probably viewed as a developmental prospect and/or a pass rushing specialist. This just in — every team, including the Texans, could use a good pass rushing specialist. The Texans' staff got to work with Griffin at the Senior Bowl, and he appears to have the Justin James Watt stamp of approval:
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SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, Penn State
By the time Barkley was done doing all of his drills at the combine, the debate wasn't so much "Where should he go in the draft?", but "Would it make sense to clone him and create a lethal army of Saquon Barkleys?" The Penn State running back ran a 4.4 forty yard dash, benched 225 pounds 29 times, and had a 41 inch vertical jump. There is serious discussion now as to whether Cleveland will take him at No. 1 overall. So how does this impact the Texans? Well, if you're a Texans fan, you should be rooting for Barkley to go first or second in the draft, because if he is there for the Colts picking third, that would be bad news.
MIKE GESICKI, TE, Penn State
Speaking of Penn State, and getting back to players that might be on the board for the Texans when they begin their spree of third round picks, Gesicki had a pretty stellar weekend in Indianapolis, clocking a 4.54 second forty yard dash and a vertical leap of over 41 inches. It shouldn't be a huge surprise, as the 6-foot-6 tight end is a former basketball and volleyball player. With season ending concussions to their top two tight ends, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin, the Texans should be in the tight end market in both the draft and free agency. Gesicki would absolutely fill a need and bring some dynamic qualities to the offense. Unfortunately, he may have sent his draft stock ascending too high for the Texans to get their hands on him, since the Texans' first pick is 68th overall.
ORLANDO BROWN, OL, Oklahoma
The biggest story from the combine all weekend was the colossal failure that was the workout of Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Brown, a second generation NFL tackle (once he gets drafted), posted historic marks in virtually all of the exercises, and NOT the good kind of history. He ran a 5.85 forty yard dash, and chased that (very slowly) with a 19 inch vertical jump and a 6-foot-10 broad jump. Basically, he is like a 360 pound version of me. Brown went into the combine as a sure fire first round pick, as someone with a college resume like his probably should. Now, his workout scores, along with rumors that coaches at the combine got on him for loafing, might lead to a drastic plummet in his draft stock, in which case he might fall to a range in the draft — second round? — where the Texans could consider moving up to take him. His game film shows much better than his combine footage, but man, those are some scary strength and explosiveness scores. (Again, like "historic," that would be the BAD kind of scary, if your team were to draft him.)
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