Who Should the Houston Texans Draft First in 2020?

By Michael Wynn in NFL
| April 20, 2020 4:13 am PDT
Who Should the Houston Texans Draft First in 2020?

Bill O’Brien must hate making picks on the first day of the draft. Houston traded away their first-round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 NFL Drafts, and the bleeding doesn’t stop there. The Texans shipped the 57th pick in the upcoming draft to LA in exchange for Brandin Cooks, a receiver who watched his production plummet dramatically in 2019.

What this means is the 40th and 90th picks are the only two Houston currently owns before Day 3 of the 2020 NFL draft.

Let’s take a look at what the biggest areas of concern in Space City are before we answer the question of who the Texans should draft first.

Houston Texans’ Biggest Draft Needs

  • Edge
  • IDL
  • OL

As tremendous of a player as J.J. Watt is, he’s played 16 games just once since 2015. At 31 years old and trying to return from a serious pectoral injury, it’s naïve to think he’s a surefire bet to be healthy in 2020. The other defensive end spot is up for grabs, and the interior of this unit needs a serious boost.

Aside from revamping the defensive line, the right side of the offensive line must be improved. Tytus Howard and Zach Fulton aren’t the answers, as no quarterback in football has been sacked more times than Deshaun Watson since the start of 2018.

Fortunately for O’Brien and his staff, there are a handful of players who should be available at pick #40 who can solidify one of these shortcomings.

I’ll highlight three individuals that come to mind.

Marlon Davidson, Edge

Tipping the scales at a shade over 300 pounds, this 6’3” defensive end can slide over and play inside if needed. Considering the Texans are looking to bolster both of those areas, Marlon Davidson would be an easy guy to plug in.

Davidson excelled in Auburn’s 3-4 scheme, a similar arrangement as to how Anthony Weaver sets up his defense in Houston. Marlon has sneaky quickness and knows how to use his hands effectively, and he presents above-average lateral movement for a man of his stature.

In 2019 alone, the 21-year-old blocked three kicks for the Gus Malzahn and the Tigers.

Neville Gallimore, DT

Keeping on the theme of strengthening their 3-4 attack, Neville Gallimore is an ideal fit to come in and play the nose tackle for the Texans. One thing that remains constant in everything you read about the Canadian DT is his incredible motor and profound desire to get better.    

Gallimore possesses the size and strength to wreak havoc in the trenches, but he’s agile enough to pave lanes for fellow linebackers to suffocate ball carriers.

I’m not exactly sure where Neville stands on Bill O’Brien’s big board, but I presume he’s sitting somewhere inside the top 40.  

Ezra Cleveland, OT

I’ve spent plenty of time raving about Ezra Cleveland throughout the pre-draft process. I recommended him as Buffalo’s pick when I wrote about who the Buffalo Bills should draft first, but I alluded to the fact that there’s a good chance he’s gone before Brandon Beane is on the clock.

For example, if the Texans see Ezra’s name lurking when they are picking at #40, they very well could remove Cleveland from the list of “available prospects.”

While most 6’6” 311-pound guys are a bit clumsy in their approach, Ezra moves swiftly and discourages edge rushers from gaining any type of leverage. A turf toe slowed him down this past year at Boise State, which is why this first-round talent has a chance to slip to Buffalo on Day 2.

Who Will the Texans Draft First?

The 40th pick is the only one the Texans have until the bottom of the third round, so they need to make this one count.

Marlon Edge’s flexibility to play multiple positions makes him an intriguing pick, and Ezra Cleveland’s arrival would be fantastic news for Deshaun Watson. But in the end, Neville Gallimore brings too much to the table to ignore with the 40th pick.

“Who should the Houston Texans draft first?” becomes a tough question if the former Sooner is gone, and in that case, going with Davidson or Cleveland would be more than sufficient compensation. However, if he’s obtainable, Gallimore is the guy who should receive a phone call from Bill O’Brien.

For more previews on who specific teams should draft first, have a peek at the following posts.

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