Yesterday, we talked defense. Today we turn our attention to the other side of the ball.
The Texans have invested heavily in their offense over the last two years, spending high draft picks on receivers, offensive linemen, a running back and a quarterback. With so much of their offensive arsenal stacked with young playmakers, there are plenty of candidates for a breakout season in 2017. These are just a few of the top contenders.
Nick Martin, C
Last year's offensive line struggles were due in part to the loss of 2016 second-round pick Martin to an ankle injury. The Texans’ projected starter at center last season after Ben Jones left for Tennessee, Martin returns to battle for the starting role with Greg Mancz, who took over in 2016 and did a solid job. Both Mancz and Martin are versatile enough to potentially move outside and help elsewhere on the line, so no matter the outcome, Houston's o-line will be strengthened with both of them healthy. If Martin earns his spot back, he could really help open up the run game and will be an enormous part of the Texans’ offensive hopes for 2017.
D'Onta Foreman, RB
Despite his current off-field issues, Foreman is poised to have a significant role in Houston’s offense. Drafted to possibly become the big, bruiser back that compliments starter Lamar Miller's more finesse running style, Foreman could be a big part of the Texans’ red zone attack. He showed big play potential at Texas, racking up 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016. If he can bring that playmaking ability to Houston, he is absolutely capable of a breakout rookie season.
Braxton Miller, WR
Shining as a wide receiver on the other side of DeAndre Hopkins must be a daunting task, but quarterback-turned-receiver and 2016 third-round selection Miller will look to do exactly that in his sophomore year. In his limited role with the Texans before a season-ending injury last year, Miller had 15 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, as well as contributing to special teams. He struggled to find consistency in his rookie season (which was only his second year as a receiver), but flashed explosive potential in college. With a new coach assisting his development (Wes Welker) and an NFL offseason under his belt, Miller could emerge as the slot-receiver and weapon the Texans drafted him to be.
Deshaun Watson, QB
Technically, either of the Texans’ quarterbacks could have a breakout season in 2017. But since I believe Watson earns the starting role over Tom Savage at some point, I’m going with the rookie. Houston traded up in the first round back in April to nab the Clemson QB, who proved his ability to win in college (4,593 yards, 41 touchdowns and a national championship in the 2016 season). He is surrounded by offensive weapons, with a duo of talented running backs to lean on (Lamar Miller and Foreman), a Pro Bowl receiver in Hopkins, and plenty of explosive potential in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. When Watson earns the starting job, he has all of the pieces in place for a breakout season.
The Texans have several offensive players who could breakout in 2017. Who do you think will have a huge season?