After a complete overhaul of the roster, what are the steps the Texans must take to get back to the playoffs as early as 2022?
The Houston Texans are in a rebuild. While it may not be the most fun time for fans, many teams have to go through a rebuild in order to be relevant again. The Texans’ rebuild is especially hard because in the last few years the team has gotten rid of most of their star players, including JJ Watt, Deandre Hopkins, and Deshaun Watson. Despite this, I believe there are three steps the Texans must complete in order to maximize this rebuild and get back into playoff contention
Add To The Offensive Line
According to PFF, the Texans’ offensive line was rated among the worst (29th in the league) last season. A big factor in this was consistency. Despite having a pro bowler on the line, the Texans could not field the same five starters every week, with 11 different players playing 58 or more snaps throughout the season.
Drafting Kenyon Green 15th Overall in the draft is sure to help with this fact. A Houston local and product of Texas A&M, Green is widely considered to be one of the best-run blockers in the draft, which is a key factor, given that the Texans are the worst run-blocking team in the league according to PFF. Additionally, Laremy Tunsil will be back after missing 11 games in 2021. If the starting offensive lineman can stay healthy then they can improve to an average ranking, which is really all the team needs.
Find Underrated Players On Defense
The Texans need help on defense. While players like Jonathan Greenard and Garret Wallow look like potential studs, the team still needs to find its defensive identity. Last season, the Texans recorded just 32 sacks and gave up the second most rushing yards per game in the NFL. The presence of the defensive prowess that the Texans once had is now lost, and no one has come to step up yet.
The addition of Derek Stingley Jr out of LSU is likely to help the secondary, and Thomas Booker, the fifth round selection out of Stanford is likely to help the defensive line. However these guys are only rookies, and can only make so much of an impact on the field. The Texans have a lot of talent on their defensive roster, but the fact remains that underrated players need to step up.
A good example of someone that could take this leap is Rasheem Green. Having recorded 6.5 sacks for the Seahawks in 2021, Green could certainly make some noise in 2022 with Houston. Ogba Okoronkwo, who played 13 games for the rams last year and recorded two sacks is another who could step up in 2022. Veterans like these guys need to raise the ceiling for this defense, because it has the potential to be near the top of the league if everything goes right.
Figure Out If Davis Mills Is The Guy
The last and most important step on the list. Many mocks drafts for the 2023 already have Houston as the first overall pick, drafting Bryce Young out of Alabama. This is a very realistic scenario if Mills fails to pan out as the franchise QB we hope he will be. During his rookie season, the Texans saw flashes of excellence from the Stanford product. But the team will soon have to decide if he is the QB to build around or just someone to bridge the gap after the loss of Deshaun Watson.
Mills was arguably the second best rookie QB in 2021 throwing for 2664 yards and 16 touchdowns. However, he did go 2-9 in his 11 starts for the team. The biggest issue with Mills, objectively, is that he gets flustered in the pocket. He fails to complete passes when he is pressured by any sort of rush. Pair this with a lack luster offensive line and you get a offense that is near the bottom of the league. With a clean pocket, Mills had a 75.1 passing grade by PFF, but when under pressure he had a 29.3 passing grade. This drop is most likely attributed to experience, and he will likely get better as he plays more in the league. The real question is if the Texans are patient enough to wait for a young QB with potential, like Mills, to develop into the player they want him to be.
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