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Houston Texans Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up


Jake Arthur
Now that the 2016 NFL Draft is over, what areas of the roster do the Houston Texans still need to focus on? | Photo Credit: Bob Levey-Getty Images

Houston Texans Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up

Through free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans did a good job of addressing a few of their key needs, such as the interior offensive line and not needing to worry about a wide receiver for the next several years. This has turned into a pretty balanced roster, so what do they still need to focus on?

 

1. Defensive Line

Outside of JJ Watt, Houston needs difference-makers on their defensive front. Vince Wilfork will turn 35 years old this season, and there is not much else on the depth chart besides him and Watt. Fifth-round pick D.J. Reader could become a nice piece at nose tackle, but the collection of Jeoffrey Pagan, Christian Covington, Devon Still and Brandon Dunn is a mundane group. Imagine if Watt got hurt to the point where he actually had to miss playing time. It would be time for opponents to run right at the Texans’ front seven.

In the current free agent market, there are options on the defensive line, but not great ones. Billy Winn is a nice player who is still young at 27 years old. He could actually have a bright future as a mid-level starter at defensive tackle. Leger Douzable (29), Randy Starks (32) and Chris Canty (33) are all other options who are a little older, but still have some left in the tank and could fit in Houston’s defensive scheme.

 

2. Rangy Inside Linebacker

The Texans have a couple of good inside linebackers in Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney, but both are more in-the-box players that can struggle in coverage. Couple that with the fact that Houston has average safeties, and that could expose an Achilles heel for that defense. Tight ends and slot receivers could wind up eating the middle of the field in the zone between the linebackers and safeties.

The Texans could really use a rangy inside linebacker, but they did not add any reasonable options to see good snaps through the draft, and there really are none available in free agency. In 2017, they could look for someone like Reuben Foster, Keith Kelsey or Hardy Nickerson Jr. to replace Cushing at some point, their aging and once oft-injured star linebacker.

 

3. Tight End

Let’s get it out of the way now that C.J. Fiedorowicz is not the long term answer at tight end for the Texans. He has questionable hands, and is nowhere near the receiving threat that he is as a blocker. The only tight end currently on the roster that might be the long term answer is undrafted free agent Stephen Anderson. He has potential, but you cannot count on that. He basically has the tools but still has to translate.

Garrett Graham was arguably Houston’s best tight end, but is now in Denver. The good news for Houston is that they do not need a big-time receiving threat at tight end right now. They have a bevy of receivers between DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Will Fuller, Jaelen Strong, Keith Mumphrey and Braxton Miller, so the biggest tight end presence that they will need is a blocker, making Fiedorowicz a weapon.

However, in the next year or so, the receiver depth chart is sure to settle itself out. Hopkins remains WR1 while Fuller, Strong, Mumphrey and Miller continue to develop, potentially pushing Shorts and/or each other out of the door in Houston. Then, a need for a well-rounded tight end will come to play. Hopefully for the Texans, Anderson is up for the challenge by then.

 

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.


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I like that the Texans drafted a bunch of wide outs, but I definitely see the need for a decent, consistent catching TE because it's always good to have favorable matchups vs DBs in terms of size and LBs in terms of speed/route quickness. Really helps QBs make easier decisions.

Sent from my SM-G360V using the Pro Football Spot App

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On May 19, 2016 at 6:45 PM, Augustine Harmon said:

I like that the Texans drafted a bunch of wide outs, but I definitely see the need for a decent, consistent catching TE because it's always good to have favorable matchups vs DBs in terms of size and LBs in terms of speed/route quickness. Really helps QBs make easier decisions.

Sent from my SM-G360V using the Pro Football Spot App

I'm not sold on Osweiler but with all due respect they're gonna want him to make the best (and easiest) decisions possible.

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The Texans will be interesting, but some of the decisions they regarding off season moves may come back to bite them, especially if Osweiler doesn't pan out to the QB of the future.  I like some of the defensive additions made in the draft, but how long will it take for that talent to develop and will it be in time to take advantage of JJ Watt while he's in his prime years?  We'll see.

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On 5/24/2016 at 0:29 AM, Brandon Bender said:

I'm not sold on Osweiler but with all due respect they're gonna want him to make the best (and easiest) decisions possible.

Absolutely. It'll help if they get a good run game going too.

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16 hours ago, Mark Skol Jr. said:

Here's a simple solution..put JJ Watt at every position!

That would be the most indomitable squad the football world had ever seen....

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