Where do the Houston Texans fall in ESPN's post-draft power rankings
The Houston Texans have a lot to be excited about heading into the 2023 NFL season. They drafted who they hope is their future franchise quarterback, as well as the cornerstone of what should be a better defensive line, with Will Anderson Jr.
Was this enough to get ESPN excited when they released their post-draft NFL Power Rankings? That does not appear to be the case; however, what did you expect? The Texans drafted second overall in the NFL draft and there is a reason they drafted that high. It wasn't because they traded for the pick but because they were simply not a good team in 2022.
Should ESPN rank them higher than they did simply because of a good draft and some solid free-agent signings? No, is the correct answer. The Texans need to get on the field and prove to not just ESPN but myself and the Texans fanbase before we start moving them up any power rankings or talking playoffs.
In case you didn't click the link earlier to see where the Texans are in this poll, I'll cover it for you now. ESPN ranked the Houston Texans 31 out of the 32 NFL teams. Here is what they said about the Texans.
"The Texans allowed the sixth-most rushing yards in a single NFL season (2,894) and had 38 sacks, while only 24 of them came without a blitz, tied for 15th. In the offseason, they added Sheldon Rankins and Will Anderson Jr. to help with those issues. Last season, the New York Jets' run defense allowed 3.82 yards per rush, compared to 4.13 without Rankins. Anderson had 34.5 sacks in his three-year career at Alabama. Adding Rankins and Anderson to a unit with Jerry Hughes, who had nine sacks last season, is certainly an upgrade."- DJ Bien-Aime
First, Bien-Aime is spot on with the numbers and the assumption the defensive line should be an upgrade over a season ago. But, as I mentioned earlier, this team needs to get on the field and prove it. Adding talent and depth pieces is good on paper, but that doesn't win football games.
C.J. Stroud has a long way to go before he can be considered anything more than a hopeful franchise quarterback with talent and potential. Several teams selected quarterbacks with the number two pick in the draft, hoping that player was the answer but with similar, uninspiring results.
1. 2012 - Robert Griffin III
2. 2015 - Marcus Mariotti
3. 2016 - Carson Wentz
4. 2017 - Mitchell Trubisky
5. 2021 - Zack Wilson
Not exactly a who's-who of the NFL's elite, more like a who's-who of NFL busts. History is not on Stroud's side. We can extend this list into the 90s and add three more quarterbacks selected number two overall, Rick Mirer in 1993, Ryan Leaf in 1998, and Donovan McNabb in 1999. Since 1993, the only Donovan McNabb I would consider having a successful career was McNabb.
Houston Texans have more questions than just at quarterback.
Outside of the quarterback position, the Texans will need to find answers on the offensive line, where they have overhauled the position; however, center is still a significant question mark. They traded for Shaq Mason, one of the bigger off-season acquisitions, but these guys will need time to gel, regardless of who the center is.
What about the wide receiver room? Cynthia Frelund was not kind to the Houston Texans in terms of their ranking in the NFL. She considers the Texans to have the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL.
Did ESPN get it right
The short and quick answer to this question is yes. The only team ranked behind the Texans was the Arizona Cardinals, and a debate could be had to move them ahead of the Texans too. Heading into the 2023 season, the Cardinals look terrible on defense and won't have Kyler Murray to begin the season and possibly the majority of the season.
The Texans are on the right path; however, if things don't work out with Stroud, this franchise will be looking for yet, another franchise quarterback, not to mention another GM and head coach.