1Tytus Howard (1) of Alabama State to Houston Texans
The Houston Texans chose offensive tackle Tytus Howard of Alabama State University with the 23rd overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night, hoping he can help protect banged-up quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times as Houston won the AFC South but lost to the Colts in the wild-card round. Watson played every game in his second year after having season-ending knee surgery as a rookie, but was hurt for a chunk of the season while dealing with a partially collapsed lung and broken ribs from taking hit after hit. General manager Brian Gaine said they became more impressed with Howard as the scouting process progressed.
“I felt like with each interval he was able to pass each segment with flying colors,” Gaine said. “He made a very favorable impression as far the intangible profile, the person, the character that matched with the physical ability and the physical traits. We felt like he checked all the boxes.”
It was the just the second time Houston had selected an offensive lineman in the first round. The last was left tackle Duane Brown with the 26th pick in 2008. Howard was a quarterback in high school before growing into his 6-foot-5, 322-pound frame. He said working with the strength staff at Alabama State helped him transform his body, and he got a little help in that area from his fiancée’s cooking.