The Houston Texans spent free agency revamping their offense, adding quarterback Brock Osweiler, running back Lamar Miller and guard Jeff Allen. They continued to do so in Thursday's first round of the draft, taking Notre Dame receiver Will Fuller 21st overall.
My take: The Texans wanted to get faster and this is a great way to do it. Fuller was the fastest receiver at the NFL combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. But he isn't just a track star. Fuller showed ability with the ball in his hands while at Notre Dame. He averaged 20.3 yards on 62 catches during his final season in college, and averaged more than 45 yards per touchdown reception as well. He's a home-run hitter. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Fuller led all Power 5 conference receivers in receptions (17) and touchdowns (10) on passes thrown 20 yards or longer. This big-play ability will be valuable for Osweiler, for whom the Texans have added plenty of speed this offseason. They also signed fast running back Miller in free agency. Speed isn't everything, but the Texans really lacked it offensively last season. That has changed in a big way.
Fuller's history with O'Brien: Texans coach Bill O'Brien took over Penn State just as the school was hit with NCAA sanctions resulting from the sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The program lost wins, scholarships and many players who either transferred or decommitted from the school. Fuller initially committed to play for O'Brien at Penn State, but about two weeks after the NCAA levied its sanctions he switched to Notre Dame. At the time Fuller said his decision did not have to do with the sanctions, rather he felt he had a better opportunity at Notre Dame. O'Brien, apparently, has no hard feelings about the switch.
First-round success: The Texans' drafts haven't always been great, but they typically find incredible success in the first round. Every first-round pick since 2008 is still with the team; most have made a significant impact for the franchise and nearly all of them are still starters. Those players are left tackle Duane Brown (2008), linebacker Brian Cushing (2009), cornerback Kareem Jackson (2010), defensive end J.J. Watt (2011), outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (2012), receiver DeAndre Hopkins (2013), outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (2014) and cornerback Kevin Johnson (2015). If Fuller has a rookie year as successful as Johnson's, he will fit right in with this group.
What's next: Texans general manager Rick Smith says he expects to get starters in the second and third rounds of the draft, especially in the second round. He wants players who make an impact. The Texans are scheduled to have two chances to find those players Friday with one pick in each round. They'll select 52nd overall and 85th overall.