Nov 2, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (84) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Jacksonville 33-23. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Without a doubt, the Texans biggest need is quarterback. Brian Hoyer collapsed while starting in Cleveland even with some underrated wide receivers and Jordan Cameron. Ryan Mallett soured on the New England Patriots (not a good sign) and played below average last year during his few starts before his injury. Unfortunately, the Texans aren’t in a position to take a quarterback at 16th overall. There is not an answer later in the draft unless the Texans can land Brett Hundley in the second round. Instead, next year’s incoming quarterback draft class is said to be deep and that is where I expect the Texans to attack the position.
The departure of Andre Johnson obviously leaves a massive hole at wide receiver. Cecil Shorts is a NFL starting wide receiver but is better served as a team’s WR3. Nate Washington provides needed veteran-ship, but should not be a factor on the field. DeAndre Hopkins is the clear WR1 and is still only 22 years old. Now the Texans need to find a potential WR2. The 2015 wide receiver class has WR2 talent in the second and third round.
Last year’s inside line backer play was sub-par. Brian Cushing has struggled to stay on the field for many years from injuries and performance enhancing drug suspicions. Even when he has been on the field, he has not been reliable pass coverage. Last year’s other inside line backer was Brooks Reed, but he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. In Romeo Crennel’s 4-3 defense, the Texans need to have one of the two inside line backers in pass coverage. I do not think that Mike Mohamed, Akeem Dent, Jeff Tarpanian, or Justin Tuggle are the answer.
Despite drafting Jadaveon Clowney with the first overall pick, the Texans still can use pass pressure. The need is ambiguous because pass pressure can come from a defensive end, outside line backer, or even a defensive tackle. Outside line backers are very deep and there is a possibility of top 10 talents to fall later into the first round. Despite not being the biggest need, drafting a player who gets after the quarterback could easily be the Texans first choice in the first round.
Last year, the Texans’ tight ends combined for 32/316/3. This is of course not including J.J. Watt’s incredible red zone performances. Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer need lots of production from the tight end position because bad quarterbacks tend to lean on check-down throws.
The next biggest need is running back. Running back?!?! But Arian Foster! Exactly my point. Arian Foster is always hurt and is approaching the end of his contract. Since being a starter, Arian Foster has been a three-down back and taken nearly every goal line carry. Arian Foster can use a solid backup to bring down his carries per game to under 20. The Texans need Foster healthy for the last couple games of the schedule (more on the schedule later). Running back is extremely deep, but the Texans are in a spot where Todd Gurley might be just too explosive to pass up at 16th overall.
Losing Chris Myers has shifted the offensive line. Xavier Su’a-Filo will no start at left guard and Ben Brooks will now be the starting center. The biggest issue is depth. As of now, Tyson Clabo and Jeff Adams are the only backup offensive lineman. NFL teams tend to carry more than just seven offensive lineman on the roster.
Johnathan Joseph will be a free agent after the season ends. Kareem Jackson is a legit CB1 for the future, but eventually the Texans will need to find corners. Dre Hall is a young corner thats currently buried in the depth charts but his technique and physique is best suited as a slot corner only. If the Texans are sold on a corner in the middle rounds, the Texans try and find the CB2 for the future.
Since being drafted, safety D.J. Swearinger has struggled in pass coverage. Certainly he has the strength and hitting power to be a starting strong safety in the NFL, but the Texans can find an upgrade. Pro Football Focus graded Swearinger as a bottom 10 strong safety last year. Now, the Texans are reportedly trying to trade D.J.
Next: Players to Watch For During the Draft