To put it mildly, the Houston Texans have had an interesting offseason. It may be better said they had an interesting lack of an offseason, at least when it came to roster moves. The Texans let useful players (highlighted by A.J. Bouye) walk and made minimal additions from the free agent market.
The biggest move the team made was cutting ties with Brock Osweiler and moving up in the draft to get Deshaun Watson, decisions that left the Texans without a first or second round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
It stands to reason that a neutral observer may not speak highly of the Texans’ offseason performance, and it appears that NFL executives didn’t hold back in their criticism of the Texans’ perceived ineffectiveness when ESPN had 15 NFL executives, coaches, and evaluators look at all 32 teams’ offseasons. No team got an “F,” but the Texans were one of only three teams to receive a “D,” which was the lowest grade handed out. Mike Sando wrote:
Getting out from under the Brock Osweiler contract required creativity and the Texans' willingness to part with a second-round pick. That was a victory, but it didn't necessarily make the Texans better, especially with their defense suffering personnel losses that could put additional pressure on the offense.
"I view Houston as the worst team in the AFC South, going from the best to the worst," an evaluator said. "It is not like the jump was that big because they were only a nine-win team to begin with. Their defense is still kind of there, but it isn't, because they did lose A.J. Bouye. Their front seven is obviously really good, but their back end is a huge question mark. I have them as the worst safety group in the entire NFL right now, so corner and safety is a giant liability for them."
Maneuvering to select quarterback Deshaun Watson in the first round could ultimately make 2017 a pivot point for Houston. It's just hard to bank on most rookie quarterbacks emerging in the short term.
"I think the other AFC South teams had good offseasons," an evaluator said. "The idea of Houston doing absolutely nothing is going to be interesting to see how that works out."
For all the concern about Houston’s secondary, the Texans do return starters at corner in Kareem Jackson (unless he’s moved to safety full time) and Johnathan Joseph. The Texans also welcome back Kevin Johnson from a broken foot. With the departure of Quintin Demps, current safeties Corey Moore and Andre Hal had a combined 19 starts for the Texans last season.
That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt to lose Bouye. But did the Texans really have one of the three worst offseasons in the entire league? Were they actually passed in the division by the Titans, Colts, and/or Jaguars?