2021 NFL draft will wipe away Texans mistakes from the Bill O’Brien era

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Mark Lane
·2 min read
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After the firing of general manager Brian Gaine on June 7, 2019, coach Bill O’Brien proved to the Houston Texans’ five-man general managing council that fixing holes on the roster was easy.

Don’t have a solid starter at left tackle since the trading of Duane Brown to the Seattle Seahawks in 2017? Simple — just trade for one.

As much as the Texans’ trading with the Miami Dolphins for Laremy Tunsil solidified their blindside protector for quarterback Deshaun Watson, it was also a great gamble. Certainly if the Texans gave up two first-round picks in the trade, it would be understandable given the value of acquiring an eventual two-time Pro Bowler. After all, as proven in 2019, if Watson is protected, Houston is making the playoffs. Who cares about that No. 26 overall draft pick?

Go 4-12 and the loss of a first and a second-round pick in the ensuing draft just makes the gamble look even more impulsive. And it really is the loss of the second-rounder in the upcoming draft that signals O’Brien got fleeced in the trade. The Texans’ 2021 draft is essentially gutted all because O’Brien overpaid for a left tackle.

When the NFL draft concludes this weekend, it will be the last loose end from the O’Brien era that will have been resolved. The DeAndre Hopkins trade, another ill-advised gamble, has already been wrapped up technically when the Texans traded that fourth-round selection to the New England Patriots as part of a package for tackle Marcus Cannon. The last threads remaining are from the Tunsil trade.

General manager Nick Caserio will truly be starting anew once the draft ends. He will have the club’s full complement of draft choices to work with in the 2022 offseason, when Texans fans will be more hopeful that their franchise will take bigger strides towards getting out of the rebuilding stage.