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BRB Groupthink: Offensive Line Or Secondary?

The masthead joins together to discuss a hot topic.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Texans’ secondary added Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Bradley Roby, Tashaun Gipson, but lost Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Jackson, and now, sadly Andre Hal. The Texans’ offensive line lost Kendall Lamm, signed Matt Kalil, and will have Seantrel Henderson back. With the draft quickly approaching, which position group is of greater need to add talent to? Would you want Houston to go secondary or offensive line in the first round? This is the question I posed to the geniuses at Battle Red Blog.

Here are their responses:


With Andre Hal’s retirement (sadness), I think the secondary is of the greatest need. None of Briean Boddy-Calhoun or Bradley Roby give us the CB play we need, and Joseph is running on fumes and could be done any moment now. I’m gonna be Greedy here.

Julie’n Davenport played not as sucky when moved back to LT, and with a full off-season and another year of NFL strength training, he should be better at LT. Mostly, though, it’s about seeing some level of future hope at both LT and RT (Martinas Rankin) and none at CB.

Capt. Ron:

This free-agency period, the Texans didn’t upgrade any of their areas of need. With the defensive secondary, they may have a net negative after Hal’s unexpected retirement. Even before that, they essentially just swapped a few pieces of patio furniture with the neighbors.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they move Joseph to safety with Hal’s vacancy and Joseph’s eve-declining ability on the outside. Houston needs to trade and/or draft two starting corners to mix with Roby. It’s a tall order to get even one, but that also could mean they move up to snag a top talent in the first round. They can’t afford to guess and miss.

The OL, and Watson, will have to suck it up for yet another season. No O’Brien offense is going to “boat race” effectively anyway, so it makes more sense to shore up that leaky secondary given the QBs the Texans face this season.

Luke Beggs:


There are honestly more pieces long term on the offensive line than there are at corner and the draft to me is more about building long term depth rather than trying to plaster over holes you weren’t smart or unlucky enough to fix in the first place.

Mike Bullock:

I’m a firm believer in the concept that it all begins and ends in the trenches. Sure Houston’s corners are important, but all-pro corners aren’t unbeatable when they’re exhausted from spending all day on the field because the offense has too many three and outs.

Bill O’Brien is never going to give up on his A-Gap attack or lack of solid RPO that better suits Deshaun “I’m not Tom Brady so stop trying to make me play in his style” Watson. The only way O’Brien’s more traditional, old school run-to-set-up-the-pass scheme works is with an above average offensive line. Right now, the Texans starting line might legitimately rank below another team’s (or more than just one team’s) second-string line, so I hope they take two offensive lineman with the first three picks and grab a corner with the third.

On a slight tangent, there’s no way this team gets better enough through the draft to improve on last season, so they still need to beat the bushes for linemen, corners, a safety and running backs.

Diehard Chris:

I’m so torn on this question. My initial reaction is that they need to focus more on that secondary especially with the unexpected Andre Hal retirement. This would of course lock us in to another year of terror with the offensive line, but it’s pretty clear at this point we’re heading in that direction anyway. Let’s not forget that LAST offseason - whether the result was successful or not - that the Texans made a real attempt to address the line. It just didn’t exactly work. At all.

I just feel like the idea that having a good QB will mask a poor offensive line is fine in a pinch, but year after year? It worked for a generational talent like Peyton Manning. I’d rather not leave that up to a QB’s ability to mask if he’s going to 1-constantly be in danger of getting splattered and 2- it hurts his development since he can’t get in a rhythm as a pocket passer. I love that Deshaun Watson can extend plays and perhaps is most dangerous when improvising - but I’d also like to see him get a chance to work in even an AVERAGE offensive line’s clean-ish pocket. The thing that makes him most dangerous now is not going to be an option when he’s older. So let’s get him going in the direction of a 12 year franchise QB. I’d prefer that to the direction this coaching staff and poor offensive line talent evaluation is currently taking him.

So yes, the Texans NEED to get the best cornerback possible, but I’m still all in on doing whatever it takes to get this offensive line to at least average.

Matt Weston:

The Texans still don’t have cornerback options past this season. Johnathan Joseph plays on a year by year basis until the sands are lifted and tossed into some post-retirement alluvial fan. Roby and Boddy-Calhoun are one-year contracts, and Roby, the best cornerback the team has can be classified as an alright CB1, and great as a CB3. An sleek interior rusher was never added, and once again, the entire defense will depend on Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt’s ability to generate a pass rush. The secondary is better, but it still isn’t good enough to cover without a rush.

The offensive line at least has talent and pieces that have been hampered by mismanagement. Juli’en Davenport was a completely different player at left than right. No one knows what they will do with Martinas Rankin. Zach Fulton is worse than he was in Kansas City, but fine overall. Matt Kalil better not start. Seantrel Henderson hasn’t played consistently in three years and wasn’t good then. Zach Martin has never fully developed past being a helpful pass blocker. Left guard and right tackle are the biggest holes on the line. It’s crappy, but there’s some upside here at least. Deshaun Watson can make up for some missed blocks. There are young enough players, players that have been better before, and previous terrible decisions, that you can assume it should be better by default next year.

I’m still in the camp the team should draft a cornerback in the first round. There should be tackles/guards available they can snatch up in the second rounds. It sounds like this cornerback group goes three deep when it comes to top talent. There is currently zero long-term hope at the cornerback position.

Now I turn it over to you. Would you rather see the Texan grab an offensive linemen or secondary defender in the first round?