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Rebuilding the Texans #1: A Look Ahead

Can the Texans complete a full rebuild and begin to compete? Or will they continue to stay at the bottom of the NFL totem poll?

While there have been some positive changes this season for the Texans, most fans have resigned themselves to the fact that no playoff appearance looms on the 2022 season horizon. So while it’s nice to bask in the momentary victory, we continually look ahead to what can be done to increase the odds in the 2023 season.

How This Rebuild Would Work

The following proposals all work off of a similar baseline set of assumptions. First, the Texans sign one or two key free agents this offseason, which will be projected off of this list. Second, the signed free agents must have reasonable contracts according to the Texans’ cap projections, which can be tracked here. Lastly, all draft projections will be two-round drafts that come from Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator, which you can try on their website. No trades will be made and the draft picks have to be reasonable (no Will Anderson in the second round). So, let’s get started.

Option One: The Quest For A Franchise Quarterback

A lot of fans aren’t happy with the current quarterback situation for the Texans, understandably, and want to see a pocket protege that has something to offer. Our first possibility takes a look at addressing the issue behind center and building around the established young core.

Free Agency:

If the Texans are to take a quarterback at the top of the draft, they’ll want to make sure that he’s protected. The right side of the offensive line has been questionable, but the giant question mark at center is too pressing to be ignored. To address this concern, they make a point to acquire Conner McGovern on a three-year, $29 million contract. A little steep, but worth it to protect the future of the franchise. Additionally, it is worth noting in this scenario that Tytus Howard’s fifth-year option is exercised.

Next, the Texans look to the defensive side of the ball. While there are several gaping holes still remaining in the defense, it’s hard to ignore how underwhelming the linebacker play has been. They look to bring in an established veteran to help develop the potential of Garrett Wallow and Christian Harris. That’s why the Texans make a push to sign Devin Bush, securing him to a four-year, $18 million contract.

The Draft:

Next, they turn their attention to the draft where they hold the 1st, 16th, and 32nd picks (in this projection). With the first overall pick, the Texans take the talented Alabama gunslinger, Bryce Young. While the pick could have easily been CJ Stroud, Caserio, and Lovie, Houston likes the qualities they see in Young and choose to build the franchise around him.

At the 16th pick, the Texans decide to shore up the defensive line and select the bruising defensive tackle from Clemson, Bryan Bresee. Bresee was a third-team All-ACC selection in 2021 and is known for his relentless motor and physical play style. He would instantly upgrade the run defense, which has been a large pain point for the Texans for years now.

With pick 32, the Texans again turn toward the defense and take the Penn State cornerback, Joey Porter Jr. While the secondary has looked good this year, the current age of the group is somewhat untenable going forward. Both Steven Nelson and Desmond King, who have been terrific contributors this year, won’t be playing at that level forever. Porter adds good depth to the secondary and can share playing time as he develops into a long-term CB2 for this Texans team.

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Option Two: On The Edge

The alternate route the Texans can go in the draft is to focus on attaining a premiere edge rusher to help create pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This would allow Davis Mills one more year to develop, hopefully with a better supporting roster.

Free Agency:

If the Texans choose to focus on defense with their top pick, I expect that they would bring in a true contending quarterback to either take the reigns or help propel Davis Mills to the next level. Look no further than Jimmy Garoppolo. He has experience playing in non-dynamic offenses (like the Texans) and finding success in a manager role. The Texans would sign him to a one-year, $5 million contract.

Additionally, the Texans would look to bring in a backup RB for the young star, Dameon Pierce, to help keep the offense churning in critical situations. While backs like Jammal Williams might be tempting, Kareem Hunt offers the pass-catching skillset that would help elevate the offense. The Texans would look to acquire him on a two-year, $13 million contract.

The Draft:

With the top pick of the draft, the Texans would take the clear, current defensive front-runner, Will Anderson Jr. He offers the complete skillset that teams look for in premium draft capital and will serve to anchor the Texans’ defensive line for years to come. The former Bronko Nagurski winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year still has some work to do, but the talent is too incredible to ignore.

With their next pick, the Texans look to equip Davis Mills with more offensive firepower to test his mettle and do so by drafting Michael Mayer to finally turn the tight end position around. Mayer has had outstanding success during his career at Notre Dame. During the 2021 season, Mayer caught 71 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. He would be an immediate benefit to the Texans’ receiving core and add a new level of talent next to the returning John Metchie.

At the top of the second round, the Texans reach to secure the best center prospect in the draft in John Michael Schmitz. While he might not be the best possible value with the equivalent of a first-round pick, center is a glaring issue that the Texans have to address before the end of the off-season. John Michael Schmitz has multiple recognitions including All-Big Ten Second Team and All-Big Ten Third Team. He would offer good security for the interior offensive line, and help continue the trend of getting youth on the offensive and defensive trenches.

Final Outlook

No matter what direction the Texans choose to take in the 2023 off-season, it’s clear that there are still several areas that need to be improved. No matter where the picks end up at the end of the season, they are likely to have the equivalent of almost three first-round picks in the 2023 draft. After many years of sacrificing the future to acquire players, our front office now looks to reverse the trend and build one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. With the recent success of our draft classes, it’s hard to not be excited about what the future holds for H-Town.

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