clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 NFL Free Agency: Five Players Who Can Create More Competition For The Texans

Competition breeds excellence.

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Organized Team Activities have begun in Houston. Players are stretching, running, catching, learning the playbook, which calls to make, and how to communicate. David Culley’s smile is as bright as the sun he stands under and as wide as the hat that ordains his head. It’s a time for hope, it’s a time to learn, but most of all, it’s a time to compete, to rip off your teammates’ heads, and grab what’s yours. No one is going to give you anything in this world. You have to earn IT. No one knows this more than players suiting up for the Houston Texans.

The funny thing about competition is you can never have enough of it. No one can compete too much. You can never be pushed too far. Those who do, who want to rely on their incredible performances during the game so they can save their body for Sundays, are COWARDS, sissies, weak, lazy, incompetent, and don’t belong on this football team. There are no starters in Houston. There are just members of a competition.

The Texans didn’t make enough moves this offseason. They didn’t add enough players. They still need more blood to spread more blood. Lucky for them, it’s after June 1st, the free agent market is set to begin again, and there are numerous players available to them. Here are five more that can add even more competition to the competition so the Texans can have a greater competition.

1. Dennis Kelly (OT)

This is what I wrote in this week’s BRB GroupThink:

The best position on the Texans roster is at tackle. They have a top five pass protector in Laremy Tunsil. Tytus Howard is a bottom run blocker, but if he finds average, he automatically becomes a good player. Roderick Johnson is a great run blocking swing tackle, and aside from a late game one v. one loss, Charlie Heck played fine at right tackle last season.

This isn’t enough. These players need to be pushed. Tunsil and Howard are too complacent. Heck and Johnson shouldn’t feel secure about their place on the team. Give me Dennis Kelly. A surprising vagabond at this point of the summer. He was one of the better midzone run blockers in the league last season, and did more than hold his own replacing Jack Conklin. Plus his brother is Tim Kelly. That’s cute. I like cute things like that. Especially when it’s hard to find cute things to enjoy regarding our favorite football team.

I still feel how I felt. In fact, I feel even more strongly about how I felt. I compete only with myself. How I felt yesterday wasn’t enough. I feel even stronger than I felt yesterday, and I plan on feeling even more tomorrow. I think this is how it works.

2. MELVIN INGRAM (EDGE)

Ingram is a strange cat. He’s a 32 year old outside linebacker who is coming off an invisible season. This isn’t what makes him strange. Things like this happen to players all the time at his age. Instead, what makes him unreal is that he’s at his best as an interior rusher, not out on the edge, despite what his nametag says.

The bones in his body are better at juking and jostling past guards with a wide defensive end outside of him. Ingram doesn’t have that same burst and bend off the edge. But the quickness is still there to cross over players like A.J. Cann, and it’s something that can overwhelm the large and lumbering on the interior.

Houston hasn’t had a true interior rush since Jadeveon Clowney drunkenly divebombed through the center. Ingram can do something similar with precision. Plus, he can show Jacob Martin how to do it. Except Ingram wouldn’t, because it may put him at a competitive disadvantage, and Ingram would come to Houston to COMPETE.

3. SHELDON RICHARDSON (DT)

Richardson was someone I pined for Houston to sign three years ago. The Texans were in dire need of a defensive tackle who could push the pocket and make life easier for their edge rushers. The Texans found that the following season when D.J. Reader made the jump. But, once J.J. Watt went down, Reader was doubled and that oomph became a poof. To replace Reader, the Texans drafted Ross Blacklock, who had zero sacks, and one quarterback, excuse me, I mean two quarterback hits. Let’s not discount his performance.

Houston now has Blacklock, Maliek Collins, Brandon Dunn, Jaleel Johnson, Vincent Taylor, and Charles Omenihu, who is at his best rushing as a ‘3’ or ‘4i’. The difference between Richardson and the rest of this bunch is that he’s done it before. The rest have been lackluster, shown splotches of potential, or are coming off an injury. Houston doesn’t have a tangible interior pass rusher on this roster. They just hope they have one. These are two different realities.

Richardson is a rolling boulder who smothers the interior and pushes his pocket. His hands are knives. He creates for others. The Browns cut him to create cap space to sign Clowney and will probably bring him back at a smaller deal. If they don’t, Richardson can be exactly what Jaleel Johnson needs to find his next gear.

4. KWON ALEXANDER (OLB)

The Texans think they have coverage linebackers in Kamu Gruiger-Hill, Kevin Pierre-Louis, and Garrett Wallow. But similar to the argument made for Richardson, none of those players have been actually good at covering players in the NFL. Alexander has done it before in Tampa Bay. And, of course, the Texans still need more linebackers.

5. TODD GURLEY (RB)

Houston has a bizarre running back group. It’s 2017, baby. I’m mad about something online and I don’t even know why. With Rex Burkhead, David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, and Melvin Ingram on the roster, Houston is still missing a piece to its backfield. Gurley will complete the basketball team. Who cares if he hasn’t been good in two years? Dig up one of Rick Smith’s old scouting reports. Gurley had 17 touchdowns three years ago.