The Houston Texans have undergone drastic changes from the roster they had at the start of the preseason.
The Houston Texans are a different team as they prepare for the start of the 2019 NFL regular season than the roster they held throughout the preseason. Unforeseen circumstances have shifted the dynamic of the roster and forced the front office to make trades to address the concerns they displayed in the preseason.
Texans were wheeling and dealing at the deadline to assemble their 53 players for the start of the new season. Reserve offensive guard Martinas Rankin was sent to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for running back Carlos Hyde meanwhile sending a future sixth-round draft selection to the New England Patriots in a separate trade for cornerback Keion Crossen.
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Trading Rankin a season after drafting him in the third round reflects poorly on the Texans front office and coaching staff as they expected him to form part of the offensive line for the long term. Acquiring a veteran back like Hyde was a necessity after the departures of Alfred Blue to the Jacksonville Jaguars, D’Onta Foreman to the Indianapolis Colts, and the season-ending knee injury to Lamar Miller.
Ironically, all three backs will start the season on the injured reserve for their respective teams in the AFC South. Although Miller to Hyde is a slight downgrade in overall talent and knowledge in the offense; Hyde is a better fit as the bruising back that head coach Bill O’Brien likes to pound between the tackles.
Trading for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills in the blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins for draft picks, Johnson Bademosi, and Julien Davenport is also a transaction that addresses several glaring needs the Texans had entering the season. Even if giving several early draft choices takes away the Texans flexibility for the next two years, it gives the Texans a franchise left tackle to protect Deshaun Watson and gives Watson another reliable receiver with Stills.
Crossen’s acquisition covers Bademosi’s departure meanwhile Tunsil is a clear and immediate upgrade over Davenport or any other offensive lineman the Texans were going to roll out at left tackle. The only real blemish from the Texans was the poor package they received in sending Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks.
Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin, and a future third-round pick are as poor of compensation for the 26-year-old three-time Pro Bowler as it can get. Clowney was a luxury in the Texans front seven with two talented pass rushers in Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt. Mercilus will be able to rush the passer more with Clowney’s departure and spend less time dropping back in coverage.
However, the Texans lost a solid edge rusher capable of shutting down the run in Clowney and they will be walking on eggshells if Watt or Mercilus goes down due to an injury.