Houston Texans' 2017 draft class: Kiper's grades, McShay's best pick, more
NFL Draft Insiders
Posted: 2017-05-01

The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?

ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grades, Todd McShay's favorite pick and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.

Houston Texans

Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: C+

Kiper: The Texans identified a quarterback and went up and got him, giving up next year's first-round pick to move up 13 spots. Deshaun Watson is my third-ranked quarterback, which sounds good, but for me the tape shows more of a second-round talent. I know there is some desperation involved for a franchise that has seen the likes of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage start games in the Bill O'Brien era, but that's a fortune to give up to draft a guy who has accuracy issues and who threw 30 interceptions over the past two seasons, the most in FBS. Is he better than Tom Savage from Day 1? We'll see. Watson could start in 2017, sure. I think he needs more time, but that just doesn't happen in the NFL anymore.

Houston thinks it has a Super Bowl-caliber defense, and the offense is holding it back. If Watson can become a more consistent passer under O'Brien, this pick could look much better. At this point, though, it's just too much draft capital to surrender.

I did like Zach Cunningham and D'Onta Foreman on Day 2. Brian Cushing could be a cap casualty after 2017, and Cunningham is a natural replacement -- he's a prospect with a ton of experience, and the transition shouldn't be too difficult at linebacker. Foreman is a bruising back with some speed who will help on the goal line. Lamar Miller had only five touchdowns last season. Carlos Watkins is an explosive, talented interior pass-rusher with motor questions who was much higher on my board.

Ultimately, this draft will come down to Watson. If he's ready to be the starter for a playoff-caliber team in 2018, the fact that Houston doesn't have a first-round pick won't sting quite as much.

1/12 Deshaun Watson QB CLEMSON
2/57 Zach Cunningham ILB VANDERBILT
3/89 D'Onta Foreman RB TEXAS
4/130 Julien Davenport OT BUCKNELL
4/142 Carlos Watkins DT CLEMSON
5/169 Treston Decoud CB OREGON STATE
7/243 Kyle Fuller C BAYLOR

Todd McShay's favorite pick

Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson (Round 4, pick No. 142)

Watkins was unbelievable in the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama. In that game, the coaches didn't ask him to do a lot of twisting and stunting; they just allowed him to play, and they got a really disruptive player. Because of his relentless motor, I think Watkins will outperform where he was drafted. We had him as the 104th-ranked player in the class, and the Texans got him near the bottom of Round 4.

Scouts Inc. on 2017 Texans class

1 (12) Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson | Highlights

What he brings: Watson's ability to transition to a pro-style offense will ultimately dictate whether he succeeds in the NFL. A proven winner, there's no denying he has the physical tools and rare intangibles to develop into a franchise quarterback. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: After Cleveland took the Brock Osweiler contract off the Texans' hands, they get more help from the Browns by trading up with them in hopes of finding a franchise quarterback. This is a good fit for Watson, who will get tutored by Bill O'Brien and will have a stingy defense to lean on if forced to play early. -- Kevin Weidl

2 (25) Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt | Highlights

What he brings: Cunningham is a long, athletic and versatile linebacker who fits in today's NFL game. He is still developing his instincts and must continue to improve his point of attack skills. He should be a contributor early in his career thanks to his range and value on third downs. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: This a great landing spot for Cunningham, who has big upside but who needs some time to develop. The Texans will groom him to be Brian Cushing's eventual replacement, and he could provide the Texans with a pair of playmakers on the inside, teamed up with Bernardrick McKinney (seventh in total tackles last year). -- Kevin Weidl

3 (25) D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas | Highlights

What he brings: Foreman's injury history and ball security issues are reason for concern. Plus, he's faster than he is quick. However, he possesses a rare blend of size and top-end speed, and he averaged more rushing yards per game (184.4) than any other FBS back last season. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: Houston is looking to ease Lamar Miller's workload, as he was effective but dealt with ankle, shoulder and rib injuries last season. Foreman has the talent to step into the No. 2 role and help keep Miller fresh and healthy. -- Steve Muench

4 (24) Julien Davenport, OT, Bucknell | Highlights

What he brings: Davenport is a developmental prospect who needs to improve his core strength and refine his technique, but he has the frame, long arms, quick feet and work ethic to develop into a starter. -- Steve Muench

4 (36) Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson | Highlights

What he brings: Watkins doesn't have an elite physical skill set, but he is quick, shows quality hands and has had good production throughout his career. He makes up for some deficiencies with a relentless motor and plays with the toughness and physical demeanor you look for in an interior defensive lineman. -- Kevin Weidl

5 (25) Treston Decoud, CB, Oregon State

What he brings: Decoud is a hard worker and confident player with the frame and length to provide depth in zone- and press-heavy schemes. He doesn't have great scheme versatility, though, and his athletic limitations could prevent him from developing into a starter. -- Steve Muench

7 (25) Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor

What he brings: A three-year starter, Fuller has the football IQ, frame and length to provide depth along the interior offensive line and develop into a starting center in time. But, Fuller is not a great athlete and he'll need to clean up his technique to play a substantial role. -- Steve Muench

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