The Houston Texans have exceeded expectations in 2023. At 8-6, they have a legitimate chance to qualify for the postseason and even seize the AFC South title. Even if they end up coming up short, it's fair to say that this season has been a resounding success.
While head coach DeMeco Ryans has played a huge role in the Texans' turnaround, general manager Nick Caserio also deserves praise for replenishing the roster. Caserio hit it out of the ballpark with C.J. Stroud but the rookie quarterback is far from the only playmaker he acquired. Tight end Dalton Schultz, running back Devin Singletary, and defensive end Will Anderson Jr., to name a few, have also gone on to fill essential roles.
That said, the work isn't over. If Houston wants to avoid being a one-year wonder, the team's brass will need to keep refurnishing the roster. In particular, they must address the following needs.
It's easy to forget that players' availability is variable coming out of the draft. Not surprisingly, some analysts rushed to call Derek Stingley Jr. a bust after an underwhelming rookie campaign. Injuries didn't help his case, but his performance this season is reminding everyone why he was taken third overall last year
In eight games, Stingley has registered four interceptions and 10 passes defensed. What makes his rise even more impressive is that he started the season on Injured Reserve. Looking back, all he needed was to stay healthy. Having said that, the Texans could use another cornerback, maybe two.
Steve Nelson has done a solid job opposite Stingley but he's set to hit the open market next season. Bringing him back would make sense but Houston could also pursue Adoree' Jackson or Jaylon Johnson in free agency. Both corners should have a robust market for their services and the Texans have enough cap space to make a bid for either one.
Tavierre Thomas is also slated to become a free agent. Thomas was the team's top nickel to start the year but is currently on Injured Reserve. Re-signing him would not be cost-prohibitive but even if he returns that shouldn't stop the Texans from using a couple of draft picks to add depth to their cornerback room in 2024.