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BRB GroupThink: The Best of the Rest

Who is Nick Caserio’s best acquisition, aside from the top four football players Houston brought in?

Washington Football Team v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Nick Caserio has acquired Tae Davis (LB), Ryan Izzo (TE), Desmond King (CB), Cole Toner (OL), Cameron Johnston (P), Ryan Finley (QB), Donte Moncreif (WR), Justin McCray (OL), Joe Thomas (LB), Andre Roberts (WR), Terrance Brooks (S), Chris Moore (WR), Alex Erickson (WR), Kamu Grugier-Hill (LB), Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB), Terrance Mitchell (CB), Mark Ingram (RB), Maliek Collins (DL), Marcus Cannon (OL), Shaq Lawson (EDGE), Phillip Lindsay (RB), Tyrod Taylor (QB), Derek Rivers (DE), Christian Kirksey (LB), Hardy Nickerson Jr. (LB), Tremon Smith (CB), Justin Britt (C), Tavierre Thomas (CB), Jordan Steckler (OL), Paul Quessenberry (TE), Vincent Taylor (DT), Jordan Jenkins (OLB), Chris Conley (WR) so far this offseason.

The top tier of players from that group is Desmond King, Phillip Lindsay, Shaq Lawson, and Marcus Cannon. Aside from those four, who is your favorite player the Texans have acquired in 2021?

This is the question I asked the masthead. These are their responses.

RIVERS McCOWN:

I think KPL has a snowball’s chance of being a good coverage/dime linebacker in a more expanded role than he has been so far. I actually like Vincent Taylor as a potential nose as well but I’ll stick with KPL.

JOE CRITZ:

Lemme get that Tyrod Taylor!!! It’s the Tyrod Trainnnnnn no more interceptions and endless dual-threat potential! He’s pretty much our guaranteed week one starter (unless the quarterback Houston drafts looks like an MVP in training camp, and the Texans actually trade Deshaun Watson), and I’ve always had a soft spot for him no matter how many boring games have his signature. The last time he was any good was when Greg Roman was his offensive coordinator, so as long as David Culley stole some notes from his old coworker, we’ll get to enjoy some diet Lamar Jackson until the season goes completely off the rails.

I don’t mind Chris Conley, either. He’s a good player, but I was more interested in Houston picking up Keelan Cole, the other Jacksonville receiver. Conley almost feels like a consolation prize for failing to compete in the apparently feisty market for Cole.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to go watch game film on this Who’s Who List of Who’s Whos. So that narrows the field dramatically in order to answer the question. I remember the days when Mark Ingram would come off the bench for New Orleans and just wreck an opposing defense late in the game when the other back had worn them out. Would love to see him do that here, but there’s not a lot of evidence that he has that in the tank still. But, he and Philip Lindsay could make a formidable one-two punch if Tim Kelly can use them properly.

After that it’s Tyrod Taylor. When I first saw him play in the NFL I thought for sure he was going to have a bright future, but life hasn’t panned out that way—yet. But, you never know, he might flourish in the Tim Kelly offense the way career backup Rich Gannon flourished late in his career with Jon Gruden. Stranger things have happened.

As for the rest, I’d bet quite a few of them get a visit from the Turk on cut-down day... and, I bet at least two-three of them surprise us all by making some highlight reel plays we never saw coming.

CARLOS FLORES:

Since Tyrod has already been mentioned, I’m cautiously excited about Maliek Collins.

Collins was MIA last season with the Raiders but had a spark of production during his time with the Southern Oklahoma Cow People. Having someone on the interior with Ross Blacklock that could show him a thing or two about getting to the quarterback would be great.

BIGFATDRUNK:

I’ve long been a fan of Chris Conley, who, aside from one year of Patrick Mahomes, has had to put up with a lot of poor quarterback play. The bad news is that he’s nearing the wrong side of 30 as he turns 29 this year, but he still has plenty of speed.

Of course, if it’s Tyrod Taylor at QB, then he’ll still be the victim of poor quarterback play.

L4BLITZER:

Honestly, with this free agent haul, I keep thinking of the movie Major League when at the start of the season, everyone goes “who are these guys?” Some names are somewhat familiar, but none of them are names that scream “Go out, buy my jersey and play me in Madden.” I guess I would like to see Tyrod Taylor do well, given some of the misfortune that has befallen his career (and that includes the recent Watson revelations rocking the franchise).

However, I will be curious to see how the overall running game does. While last year’s team had so, so many issues, one of the bigger factors in the 2020 misery was the lack of significant production from the running game, save the occasional David Johnson jump-cut, and his one good game against the Bengals, and the scrambling of Watson.

In particular, can the Texans get one more good season out of Mark Ingram? He became an afterthought in the run-heavy Ravens scheme, but he did have a few good runs against the Texans and is only two years removed from a massive season in Baltimore. Plus, he had his moments with New Orleans. Time may be catching up with him, but perhaps he can find a niche as a power back to help move the chains. Certainly, if the Texans have to go with someone not named Watson at QB (which is probably going to happen one way or another), then the running game will be vital to avoid total embarrassment. Lindsey would appear to be the front-runner (so to speak), but Ingram may yet have one last ride in him. Combine Ingram’s addition with a new OL coach and some new faces up front, and the team might actually have hope for a decent running game...maybe.

MATT WESTON:

Terrance Mitchell isn’t a good cornerback, and wasn’t good starting on the outside for Cleveland’s bad pass defense, even though they had a debilitating front four rush. That being said, what he isn’t is more important than what he is. Because what he isn’t is Vernon Hargreaves III. By signing Mitchell it means that Hargreaves III could get one start in Houston while Bradley Roby has the dunce hat on week one, and even then, that one start would be too much. After watching sixteen Hargreaves III starts last year, I can’t take it, I can’t, I can’t take anymore. Mitchell is a reprieve from those days.