While Tennessee Titans fans have been consumed with their own team’s draft, it’s important to note that the other teams in the division got some new players as well. This is the first of a series where we take a look at what the competition has been up to, specifically how their draft went.
This week we start with the Houston Texans who are now at the top of the division and currently the team to beat. The Texans look like they got a couple of steals on paper, but there are also a few character concerns on the roster now as well. In order to help look at what the Texans have done in the draft, I turned to our friend Ryan Clark, the Editor at The Toro Times, for an interview.
*Draft pick summary and analysis courtesy of NFL.com.
TS- When a team is as good and well rounded as the Houston Texans, it’s hard to upgrade positions. Do you see any of the rookies starting opening day?
Ryan – There’s a lot of guys that can start for the Texans in Week 1, but a lot will have to prove themselves in training camp. The main guys to keep an eye on are of course DeAndre Hopkins, but also D.J. Swearinger and Sam Montgomery. The Texans are desperate for someone to fit in with Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus at the outside linebacker spot, so he’s the one to watch. He has to transition from defensive end though, which will take time.
TS- There was a lot of talk on draft day about DeAndre Hopkins and his trashing of the hotel room at the combine. Are Texan fans worried about his attitude/ maturity at all?
Ryan – There’s a few people out there that will knock Hopkins’ attitude, but since the details are murky about the whole hotel incident, most are just excited about what he brings to the field. There’s nothing to say Hopkins played a huge role in trashing the room, and outside of that he’s a pretty clean player.
TS - The Texans’ defense is already stellar, do they have room for D.J. Swearinger and Sam Montgomery? How soon do you see Swearinger getting on the field with Ed Reed signed as well.
Ryan – I see Swearinger sharing the workload. Reed will be the starter, but his recent surgery leaves a lot of questions. Swearinger was brought in to learn from Reed and develop into a soon to be star, so I expect him to see a good deal of field time.
TS – How confident are you in the Texans’ locker room to handle players like Montomery, who had a reported poor work ethic, and Hopkins?
Ryan – I’m confident Gary Kubiak can handle troubled or unmotivated players, since he has a good supporting cast around him. Just about everyone who is a current starter on the team is focused on winning, and if Montgomery came in with a poor attitude, it wouldn’t be tolerated. The Texans don’t have a great deal of experience with handling divas though, so this will all be kind of new.
TS – The Titans have been extremely busy this off season and should be much improved. Do the Texans see them as any kind of threat this coming year? The Colts? Or are you comfortable feeling the division is in the bag?
Ryan – I’ve said since free agency began that the Titans aren’t to be taken lightly. There’s a lot of new faces in Tennessee, and even though both games last season were a little one-sided, I think most Texans’ fans are now wary of Chance Warmack and the Titans increased protection on the offensive line. The division is far from in the bag. All three teams had a fantastic draft, and look a lot different than they did three months ago.
It will be interesting to see if Montgomery pans out for the Texans. Swearinger and Montgomery both were on a lot of Titans’ fans radar during the draft. As a fan of an opposing team, you hate to see them stock up with quality prospects to take over for quality vets. Good teams with a winning attitude and a good veteran locker room can usually handle good football prospects that may have been red flagged for character concerns. It will be interesting to see if Kubiak and the Texans are at that level now.
I was a little surprised when Ryan told me that Texans’ fans were wary of Chance Warmack. That has to be the first time in draft history that an offensive guard has made opposing fans nervous. When looking at the Titans through another fan’s eyes, you probably felt good going into a game last year knowing they had a sieve for an offensive line. The Titans’ weak link. No longer having that to exploit, opposing teams will have to look elsewhere in their game planning.
Overall the Texans seem to have gotten a good haul in the draft, and if Hopkins comes along fast, he could give the AFC South fits while trying to double team Andre Johnson. Swearinger and Montgomery could start day one for a lot of teams in the league as well. Titans’ fans will find out in the second week of the season who’s rookies will contribute the most in the beginning when they visit the Texans.
You can find me on Twitter @gunnelsj