It’s no secret that the Houston Texans could use an upgrade at running back and the team should use the draft to address it. Why would Kentucky’s Benny Snell be a good fit? Take a look to find out more.
Now that the offseason has come early to Texans’ fans, it is time to talk about offseason moves. Although it is fun to watch wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins catch passes on Sundays, it is also quite fun to wonder how the team will improve via free agency, trades, or the draft. Properly utilizing these avenues can turn a win-less team like the Cleveland Browns, into a 7-8-1 team in only one year. So, how can the Houston Texans find a way to get over the hump?
There is no doubt the Texans have several holes on their roster that require fixing: offensive linemen, tight end, secondary players and defensive
tackle as a few. But, the Texans should also consider drafting a running back in the 2019 NFL draft. By no means should they invest a first-round pick to the position, as the New York Giants did when they drafted running back Saquon Barkley. And to be fair, there is no running back that even comes close to Barkley. But for Houston, finding a running back later in the draft might be the smart thing to do.
Houston needs a running back, and one that would fit their needs perfectly is Kentucky Wildcats’, Benny Snell.
In his three-year college career, Snell ran for 3,873 yards on 737 attempts (5.25 yards per attempt), per ESPN.com. But to fully understand why the Texans should draft Snell, you must look further than just his stats.
What do the Texans need in a running back?
- Ability to run in between the tackles
- Make yards after contact
- Excel in pass-protection
- Able to catch passes out of the backfield
Snell fits three out of four of these traits and is a great power runner. That is what he does best. If you were to compare his style to that of running backs Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman, Snell would line up somewhere in the middle. He thrives to run inside as well as power plays. Just when you think Snell is going to be stopped on a three-yard loss, he breaks tackles for a three-yard gain. His power, paired with great vision and quick feet are his best qualities.
Watch this run by Snell in the Citrus Bowl:
I think someone is going to get a steal in Benny Snell this draft: pic.twitter.com/yPnB91t2J7
— Nathan Jones (@natn03) January 11, 2019
In the shadow of his own goalpost, Snell finds a crease between the linemen, break tackles and makes it to the second lev
el. This is an example of Snell’s great vision and aggressiveness on a split-zone run. At 5-foot-11 and 223 pounds, he is not the biggest running back in the world. However, his low center of gravity allows him to play with power and balance so he does not shy away from contact. Snell is willing to make the dirty run all the while knowing he will probably get licked pretty hard.
If you want to question his explosiveness, enter exhibit A:
— Nathan Jones (@natn03) January 11, 2019
Snell is more than just a power runner, he is also an exceptional blocker. He can cut linebackers and at times even block head up against defensive ends:
Benny Snell blitz pickup; pic.twitter.com/w6fm5F5Iwy
— Nathan Jones (@natn03) January 11, 2019
Snell identifies the blitzing linebacker, and attacks. He does not wait for the linebacker to reach inside the pocket. Because of the great protection, the quarterback throws a ball with no pressure. Sure, the quarterback threw an interception but the protection was clean. As you already know, Deshaun Watson could definitely use a solid pass-protector.
However, Snell struggles with his receiving skills: routes, hands, tracking the ball, etc. All need improvement to truly be a dynamic all-around back. Although his power, vision, explosiveness and pass-blocking capabilities would allow him to be a three-down running back in the NFL.
According to a draftsite mock draft, Snell might be drafted in the 5th-7th round range. Snell could solve a lot of problems for the Texans and could develop into a borderline Pro Bowler. Snell is one of the most underrated running backs in the 2019 NFL draft, and if the Texans can grab him in that range, consider it a steal.
Should the Houston Texans invest in a running back via the draft this off season? Let us know in the comments section below.
Interested in writing for Locked for Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans
Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans. After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.
Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season
The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.
The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.
While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.
Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.
In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.
His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.
An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.
The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.
What do you think? Feel free to comment in the section below.
Interested in writing for Locked On Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses
What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season? Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant. What’s the best way to improve the offensive line? Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?
How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard? The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time. What else? Take a listen to find out more!
Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs
What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season? They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue. Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish. Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility? Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?
The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move. Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL. What else? Take a listen to find out more!