Houston Texans Needs: Pre-Draft
Houston Texans Team Needs
The Houston Texans were able to come out on top for the AFC South title in 2015, but the rest of the division all seems to be catching up. What do the Texans needs to focus on the rest of this offseason in order to repeat as division champs?
1. Offensive Line Depth
The Texans got their shiny new quarterback/running back combo that we said they needed back in February when they signed Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller in free agency, now they need to go out and show that they can get the most out of the two by protecting them up front.
Left tackle Duane Brown is expected to be ready for the season but is recovering from a torn quadriceps injury. Xavier Su’a-Filo, Tony Bergstrom and Jeff Allen likely make up the starting interior of the line. Su’a-Filo has been anything but impressive so far in his time in the league, and Bergstrom and Allen are both free agent signees. While on paper they should be solid pickups for the Texans, they have to translate over to the system.
In the draft, the Texans can look for offensive line help on Day two and three. Players like Germain Ifedi, Jack Allen, Sebastian Tretola or even fringe first-rounder Jason Spriggs could fit what the Texans look for. Spriggs especially could be groomed as Brown's eventual replacement. They may not need to turn up any immediate starters, but they definitely need to pick up some insurance in the event that the starters underperform or get hurt.
2. Defensive Line Depth
Jared Crick is gone, and Vince Wilfork is old. Jeoffrey Pagan, Brandon Dunn, Devon Still and Christian Covington round out most of the rest of JJ Watt’s gang. Elite defenses start with dominant defensive lines, so if Watt and Wilfork can get some serious help up front, Houston could turn into a perennial playoff team.
The Texans would not be wrong for selecting a lineman in the first round if a player like Jarran Reed, Andrew Billings or Vernon Butler is around for the picking. Though the latter two are likely nose tackles, they can rotate around with Wilfork during year one. Watt was finally given a player like Wilfork to play next to (albeit in the twilight of Wilfork's career), but he has never had an upper-crust lineman like Reed, Billings or Butler have the potential to be. It would not only create more opportunities for Watt, but the linebacker group as well.
3. Rangy Inside Linebacker
Both Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney are more in-the-box linebackers, so Houston doesn’t quite have a linebacker that can go out and keep up with athletic tight ends and running backs that can stretch the field through the air. Luckily for the Texans, the draft should have several rangy linebackers available in the first few rounds.
Jaylon Smith, Darron Lee and Deion Jones are a few of the inside linebacker prospects this year that could give the Texans exactly what they need in the middle of their linebacking corps; speed to go sideline-to-sideline, but also the ability to get downfield.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Newsdesk Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter, as well as on Facebook, Google+ and FanCred.