The Houston Texans are missing one key asset in their passing game

The Houston Texans have just about everything they need to rip the league apart through the air.
Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Regardless of who you ask, the Houston Texans are a team to beat in 2024. There are many reasons why, but one that keeps getting talked about is the passing game. The Texans have a fantastic one-two punch in that area. They have C.J. Stroud, a remarkable young quarterback who can do dynamic stuff on the field, and of course a trio of great receivers; Nico Collins, Stefon Diggs, and Tank Dell.

It makes their passing units one of the best. That doesn't even factor in tight end Dalton Schultz, or the depth at the receiver position. They have Noah Brown, Robert Woods, John Metchie III, Xavier Hutchinson, and Ben Skowronek. There's even a lot of optimism around rookie tight end Cade Stover.

While often overlooked in the discourse of the passing game, the offensive line looks to be improved from the 2024 season. Guys like Juice Scruggs and Tytus Howard are expected to be healthy entering the season, while the team did draft Blake Fischer in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

So all these factors seem to point to why Pro Football Focus has the Texans at No. 5 in the rankings for receiving corps.

Yet, the biggest reason why they're not higher, like in other publications' rankings, I think, is for one reason; Joe Mixon. Never seen as a great threat out of the backfield, Mixon's best season as a receiver came in 2022 when he had over 400 yards through the air. That sounds great, but Mixon had barely 800 yards rushing that year. Not exactly a strong season. That was his third-lowest yards from scrimmage season ever.

When comparing the Texans to a team like the San Francisco 49ers, it's not hard to see why PFF would put them at 5th. In fact, save for the Miami Dolphins, who came in 2nd, every team ahead of the Texans on PFF's list has a better pass-catching running back. Dare I say a better overall running back as well.

Right now, Mixon is the weakest link the team has and they're going to need to make the most of his time on the team if they hope to out-score other teams.