ESPN’s experts smashed their heads together and came up with a future NFL Power Rankings. Jeremy Fowler, Louis Riddick, Seth Walder, and Field Yates used a scale of 0-100 to rate each team’s quarterback, remaining (non-QB) roster, draft, front office, and coaching. They then proceeded to tally and weight teams by roster (30%), quarterback (20%), draft (15%), front office (15%), and coaching (20%) to create an overall score in an attempt to make a subjective task as objective as possible.
23. Houston Texans
Overall score: 73.5
Why they’re here: The Texans have had more recent success than any team in this tier of the rankings, with a chance to remain quite competitive as we proceed ahead. Houston traded away its most productive player other than Deshaun Watson this offseason in DeAndre Hopkins and has made a long series of audacious — and roundly questioned — trades that are often a primary talking point when assessing how the team will fare ahead. — Yates
Biggest worry: It’s hard enough being a head coach in the NFL. Unless your name is Bill Belichick, it’s almost impossible to be both the HC and the GM and do them both at a high level in the salary cap era. Bill O’Brien is going to have to answer the bell in a big way while wearing both hats if the Texans are going to make noise in the AFC. — Riddick
Looking ahead: Receiver has too many durability questions for long-term comfort. The Brandin Cooks-Will Fuller V-Kenny Stills combo might just work for 2020, but Fuller’s knee issues and Cooks’ concussion history should lead the Texans to draft receiver help just in case. Tight end Darren Fells can still play but doesn’t have much time left at age 34. Pairing a dynamic tight end with Watson for the next decade would be a prudent move by O’Brien. — Fowler
Top stat to know: In exchange for Laremy Tunsil, Stills, a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick, O’Brien dealt two first-round picks and a second. That’s not a stat, but that trade is a year old and I still can’t get over it. Nothing depicts Houston’s front office problem quite like that. — Walder
In the AFC South, the Texans ranked behind both the Colts (10th) and Titans (11th) but way ahead of the Jaguars, who were ranked dead last in the entire league. What do you think about Houston’s ranking and the methods used to determine it?