Without a first or second round pick in 2021, without a first round pick in 2020, without a first or second round pick in 2018, with problems drafting in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, and with a persistent refusal to award snaps to younger players so the Darren Fells of the world can pad their red zone numbers, the young talent on the Texans’ roster is nonexistent. To a certain extent, it is unknown.
Houston is facing a sad and miserable 2021 season. Deshaun Watson is teasing Nick Caserio, but it’s unrealistic to expect Watson to play for Houston ever again, and he shouldn’t be traded before the season begins. The only spark is that Houston has players like Tytus Howard, Max Scharping, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Justin Reid, Ross Blacklock, Keke Coutee, and others who should receive the bulk of the playing time so the team can finally see what they have in these players and what they can do with proper coaching.
This is bleak and barely qualifies as optimism. As you’d expect and as most Texans fans know, the Texans have some of the worst young talent in the NFL. Recently, Football Outsiders published an article through ESPN ranking the NFL’s Under 25 talent. The Texans of course finished last:
32. Houston Texans
2020 ranking: 10
Blue-chip players: None
Looking at the past four drafts demonstrates why the Texans are in last place in our ranking of under-25 talent.
From the 2019 draft, first-round pick Tytus Howard is now 25. The Texans had two second-round picks, Max Scharping and Lonnie Johnson. They are both now 25. The third-round pick, tight end Kahale Warring, is still 24 but didn’t see the field in his first two seasons and now has a grand total of three career receptions.
In the 2020 draft, the Texans had no first-round pick due to the Laremy Tunsil trade. Second-round defensive tackle Ross Blacklock is now 23; he missed his first season and couldn’t break into the starting lineup in his second season. Third-round edge rusher Jonathan Greenard is 24 and played only 265 defensive snaps last year with one sack and three hurries.
In the 2021 draft, the Texans had no first- or second-round pick, again due to the Tunsil trade. That means their young rookie talent is highlighted by a couple of third-round picks, quarterback Davis Mills and wide receiver Nico Collins. Both are 22 years old.
We should also mention safety Justin Reid, who hasn’t played up to his potential in recent years because of injuries. Reid, now 24 years old, was the Texans’ highest pick in 2018 as a third-round selection. They didn’t have a first- or second-round pick that year either.
This roster is not in good shape.