Texans takeaways from the second and third rounds of the NFL draft Friday night:
O’Brien miffed after trade falls through
The networks have a camera in the office of every coach and general manager that’s on all the time without sound. Before the Texans used their third-round pick, 90th overall, on Florida outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard, Bill O’Brien was shown in what appeared to be a heated discussion on the phone.
It turns out O’Brien thought he had a trade done with Detroit but the Lions backed out, according to people familiar with what transpired. It was apparent O’Brien wasn’t happy. Since the Texans were on the clock and had to make a pick, O’Brien selected Greenard.
Bill O’Brien seems upset with someone pic.twitter.com/kDWO1gRtf3
— Jordan Dajani (@JordanDajani) April 25, 2020
On his Zoom conference call with reporters after the third round, O’Brien was asked about the trade falling through. He declined to address it, saying he was fiddling with the Zoom camera, and that was the problem.
Pass rush should be improved
Bill O’Brien should have helped the pass rush and the run defense in the second and third rounds. TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock (second) and Florida outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard are versatile.
With the Horned Frogs, Blacklock played nose tackle and defensive tackle, depending on what formation they were in. They ran a lot of stunts, and he used twists and turns and bull rushes to get past offensive linemen.
In the Texans’ 3-4 base defense, Blacklock is more suited for end than nose tackle since he weighs 290 — 50 pounds less than D.J. Reader, the starting nose tackle who signed with Cincinnati in free agency. In passing situations, Blacklock can play tackle and provide an inside rush.
Greenard, 6-3, 263, will make the transition from end in college to outside linebacker. Depending on how fast he adjusts, he may start out on the strong side in the base defense but move around in passing situations. He could rush standing up or drop down in a three-point stance. It’s up to the coaches to help make his transition as smooth as possible.
Coronavirus puts rookies at disadvantage
Because of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rookies won’t have the benefit of on-field coaching. No rookie minicamp next week. No offseason program, including OTAs and the team minicamp. They’ll have to be coached in a virtual program in which they have no face-to-back communication with their coaches unless it’s on a computer or cell phone.
In a recent Zoom conference call with reporters, Bill O’Brien said it would be a “veteran kind of year” because of the restrictions. He said the same thing to reporters on Friday night.
“It’s going to be a very difficult season for rookies to step right in and be ready to go,” O’Brien said. “Our assistants coaches do a great job of developing players, and a lot of that has to do with them working with the players on the field.”
Describing his first two picks, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock and outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard, O’Brien said, “These guys are mature and will understand they better show up for training camp in shape and be ready to go.”
Texans focused on Blacklock
After defensive tackle Ross Blacklock wasn’t drafted in the first round, the Texans targeted him in the second. They had the eighth pick in the second round. Only one pass rusher, Penn State outside linebacker Yetur Gross-Matos (Carolina), was taken among the first seven picks ahead of the Texans.
Before Bill O’Brien selected Blacklock, he had talented outside and inside rushers, cornerbacks and safeties available, but he zeroed in on Blacklock, who could turn out to be a terrific pick because of his ability, intelligence and work ethic.
What do Blacklock and veteran running back David Johnson have in common? They comprise two-thirds of the trade with Arizona for receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans will get another player from the trade in the 2021 draft because of the fourth-round selection they received from the Cardinals.