Don’t let the cliche title fool you, there are a lot of problems in the lone star state right now. It’s been well documented that Deshaun Watson has quite the legal battle going on right now and still wants to be traded. Let’s focus on something else for a second, the roster as a whole. The Texans were very aggressive in free agency and by far signed the most players as well as made some trades.
Sounds pretty good right? Newsflash! At first glance, the players they got don’t look like the answers to any prayers. They did get some solid players in the draft with the few picks that they had, but nobody who can really make an impact right now. Let’s break it all down.
It isn’t looking great but at least there are some pieces in place. Tyrod Taylor came over in free agency who can be steady when he doesn’t lose the starting job to a rookie (what happened with the Chargers wasn’t his fault, but it happened). Davis Mills was taken in the third round from Stanford, although it appears the Texans wanted Kellan Mond who was taken the pick before. Jeff Driskel is the only other QB who is probably just a camp arm. Mills no doubt is very smart and pro ready since he came Stanford. Will the Texans start a third round rookie? Probably not. The running back depth chart is not promising either. David Johnson is the projected starter right now as he tries unsuccessfully to return to his early Arizona form. Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, and Rex Burkhead were also added via free agency. That it.
There is some depth at receiver with Brandin Cooks listed as the number one option and Keke Coutee returning to the slot. Randall Cobb is getting older, so the second outside receiver spot could be up for grabs. Rookie receiver Nico Collins from Michigan is a big play and jump ball threat and could have some chance at winning the spot. If only Houston had a guy like DeAndre Hopkins….oh wait. Jordan Aikins is the main tight end right now. Rookie Brevin Jordan from Miami could offer some competition. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil and left guard Max Schraping should keep the left side of the offensive line in good shape. Tytus Howard at right tackle should be fine. The main concerns are Justin Britt at center and Marcus Cannon at right guard due to age and durability issues.
Lovie Smith’s new defense
This is the main concern. Who the heck is Vincent Taylor? Apparently the starting left end. Maliek Collins will be at the nose tackle with Charles Omenihu flanking his right. Whitney Mercilus is now 30 and may be on the verge of declining. Christian Kirksey and Zach Cunningham make up the underwhelming inside linebacker duo. Kirksey spent most of his career with the browns before having a disappointing campaign in Green Bay. Cunningham is a former 2017 second round pick who is overrated. The Texans traded inside backer Benardrick Mckinney to Miami for Shaq Lawson who can play both end and outside backer. Look for him to start on the strong side.
Rookie linebacker Garrett Wallow from TCU and rookie defensive lineman Ryan Lopez from Arizona do not look like they will be factors this year. The secondary will be lead by free safety Justin Reid on the back end with Eric Murray at the strong safety spot. Corner Bradley Roby is 29 and will be suspended the first six games due to performance enhancing drugs. I will be up to Vernon Hargraves and Keion Crossen to cover the opponents best receiver while Terrance Mitchel and Desmond King will fight for the second corner role. Not a great overall unit in what is going to be a hard division to compete in. First year head coach David Culley has a lot of work to do.
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