In the end, the Houston Texans got their man. It only took six days and a ride in Rick Smith’s fancy jet, but after a long week of losing key players in free agency, the Texans probably added their most important piece of the offseason in free safety Ed Reed.
Now that everything is just about done though – aside from Reed actually signing and agreeing to however many zeros the Texans have offered him – it’s a good feel to be able to sit back and talk about how he will fit in with the Texans secondary. But while there’s an entire offseason of that to come, it’s also worth wondering who the Texans might take a look at in free agency next, and also the draft in the coming weeks.
With the addition of Reed, the Texans have solved their safety puzzle early, meaning the focus can now switch to wide receivers, linebackers, offensive lineman and even quarterbacks. Houston has nine selections in April’s draft, and $11.6 million in cap room – which will soon be less after Reed’s deal is finalized. There’s still some room to take a look at free agents, though:
Brandon Lloyd, Wide Receiver
The Patriots released Lloyd four days ago, and so far no one has shown any interest in signing the 31-year old. It’s a wonder why, because he’s still a valuable number two receiver, and probably the best available receiver in free agency at this point. Lloyd reportedly had some attitude issues in his time with New England, but still managed 74 receptions for 911-yards last season. Lloyd isn’t the vertical threat the Texans could use, he is a reliable target though to fight for first downs.
Sedrick Ellis, Defensive Tackle
Ellis has easily been a draft bust for the Saints, and isn’t a nice looking prospect on paper. Thinking long term, he would be a big project for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to work on, as Ellis has only 12.5 sacks to his name in the span of four years, and has fallen off even further since his 2010 season. If the Texans don’t want to draft a tackle early, Ellis is probably a cheap signing in free agency.
Brad Jones, Linebacker
Everyone thought the Packers would be quick to resign Brad Jones – a guy who started 10 solid games in Green Bay last season. But while the Packers stay quiet, Jones has met with the Titans, and looks to be considering life outside Lambeau. The Texans would likely have to offer some decent money to Jones if they were to sway him over to Houston. He’s quickly developing into a reliable veteran after gaining some big playing time, and can switch between inside and outside. The Texans struggled big time with the loss of Brian Cushing last season, so finding a linebacker is a must.
Matt Scott, Quarterback, Arizona
Not everyone is sold on Matt Schaub under centre, and there’s been some call for the Texans to draft a quarterback in the late rounds or in undrafted free agency. Matt Scott isn’t likely to fall past the fourth or fifth round, and his stock continues to rise a little. What he would offer the Texans though is something Matt Schaub can’t – and that’s the ability to run with the ball. Scott had 632-yards on the ground during his career at Arizona, and stands tall and strong in the pocket. If nothing else, he looks like the kind of guy that could be developed as a backup for a few years.
Matt Elam, Free Safety, Florida
We spoke about a first round prospect in DeAndre Hopkins yesterday, and even though the Texans now have Reed, there’s still some room for added depth at the safety spot. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has the Texans taking Florida free safety Matt Elam in his latest mock, a guy that is known for his blitz and edge play. Elam does have some aggression issues that he needs to work out. He goes for the big hit rather than the tackle, but alongside Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, Elam is one of the top pass defenders up for offer and likely to fall around the Texans time.
Kevin Minter, Linebacker, LSU
Minter has mainly been compared to the Chargers’ Takeo Spikes, standing 6′ foot and 246 pounds. Minter is a projected late first to early second round pick, and has been linked to the Texans in plenty of mocks lately. He is known for his pursuit of the ball, particularly when chasing down running backs, and could contribute to upholding the Texans seventh rank rush defense of 2012. There are some big questions surrounding his speed after running a 4.81 40-yard time, but the addition of his blocking power and hand strength almost overshadow that.
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