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2022 Houston Texans Offseason: Ranking Needs By Position

Hint: there’s a lot.

NFL: DEC 26 Chargers at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Houston Texans enter the offseason with more questions than answers and won’t be able to answer all those questions by the time the season starts. Even if they figure out the Deshaun Watson situation and find a head coach, the roster lacks depth and continuity. Most noticeably, the Texans have 29 players headed for free agency, second most in the league. They’ll keep some of the players, but here’s how every position ranks in terms of need heading into the offseason.

1. Cornerbacks

Current roster: Tavierre Thomas, Lonnie Johnson, Tremon Smith, Jimmy Moreland, Grayland Arnold

Top Three Free Agents: J.C. Jackson, Stephon Gilmore, Carlton Davis

Top Three Draft Prospects: Derek Stingley, Ahmad Gardner, Andrew Booth Jr.

What To Watch: If the Texans fall in love with Derek Stingley or Ahmad Gardner. Two of the best cornerback prospects in the draft will be available for the Texans at the third pick. They can also trade down and try to land one later on. They’ll still need to surround this talent with other reliable secondary playmakers.

2. Defensive End/Pass Rusher

Current roster: Jonathan Greenard, Jordan Jenkins, Ron’Dell Carter

Top Three Free Agents: Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell, Haason Reddick

Top Three Draft Prospects: Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, George Karlaftis

What To Watch: The Texans first or second round pick will address this position plus. Jacob Martin could stay if resigned along with DeMarcus Walker. Expect two or three potentially new faces here by the end of April.

3. Wide Receiver

Current roster: Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Phillip Dorsett, Jalen Camp, Damon Hazelton

Top Three Free Agents: Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson

Top Three Draft Prospects: Garret Wilson, Jameson Williams, Chris Olave

What To Watch: What the Texans do with the second round pick. If Jahan Dotson from Penn State falls, or if the Texans are willing to take a chance on John Metchie III who tore his ACL in the National Championship game. If not, they’ll use a late round draft pick plus a couple free agents.

4. Running Back

Current Roster: Rex Burkhead, Scottie Phillips, Darius Anderson

Top Three Free Agents: James Conner, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon

Top Three Draft Prospects: Kenneth Walker III, Kyren Williams, Breece Hall

What To Watch: Texans will approach this position for what seems like the fifth season with desperate need. They haven’t drafted a running back since 2017 in D’Onta Foreman (and no Cullen Gillaspia doesn’t count). They should draft a running back with the second third round pick. Give me Hall in the third though.

5. Safety

Current Roster: Eric Murray, TJ Green, Jonathan Owens

Top Three Free Agents: Jessie Bates III, Marcus Williams, Marcus May

Top Three Draft Prospects: Kyle Hamilton, Jaquan Brisker, Lewis Cine

What To Watch: There’s a high likelihood the Texans fill this draft with secondary players. Equally likable the Texans double dip at safety in early rounds and in the sixth.

6. Interior Offensive Line

Current Roster: Max Scharping, Justin McCray, Jake Eldrenkamp, Jordan Steckler, Sam Cooper

Top Three Free Agents: Brandon Scherff, Austin Corbett, Alex Cappa

Top Three Draft Prospects: Tyler Linderbaum, Kenyon Green, Zion Johnson

What To Watch: Scharping is a guard and McCray had an up-and-down season. A rotational guard will be added via free agency. I can’t see the team using an early pick here, even though it would go a long way.

7. Offensive Tackle

Current Roster: Tytus Howard, Laremy Tunsil, Charlie Heck, Marcus Canon

Top Three Free Agents: Orlando Brown, Terron Armstead, Trent Brown

Top Three Draft Prospects: Evan Neal, Charles Cross, Ikem Ekwonu

What To Watch: With Laremy Tunsil most likely leaving town, Texans should draft Evan Neal at three if he’s there. If not, there’s plenty of second round talent. Overall the Texans need to continue to bring in young, talented offensive lineman until the problem is solved.

8. Tight End

Current roster: Brevin Jordan, Paul Quessenberry

Top Three Free Agents: Mike Gesicki, Dalton Shultz, David Njoku

Top Three Draft Prospects: Trey McBride, Jalen Wydermyer (I like this guy), Jeremy Ruckert

What To Watch: If the Texans keep Jordan Akins and Anthony Auclair. Brevin Jordan was dynamic in his first season and a stellar long-term add, but he can’t do it alone...especially block.

9. Outside Linebacker

Current roster: Kevin Pierre-Louis, Derek Rivers, Garret Wallow, Demone Harris, Josh Watson

Top Three Free Agents: Von Miller, Anthony Barr, Melvin Ingram

Top Three Draft Prospects: Nakobe Dean, Damone Clark, Christian Harris

What To Watch: Veterans. Not enough draft picks to address this position and players in college usually aren’t ready. Expect a high-end outside linebacker to be signed. Needs to be a system fit.

10. Quarterback

Current roster: Davis Mills, Deshaun Watson

Top Three Free Agents: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, James Wintson

Top Three Draft Prospects: Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder

What To Watch: Watch for Watson to be traded before the NFL Draft. The Texans will want more picks and to rid themselves of his story line. There will be one or two veterans signed in free agency, but maybe a sixth round backup QB too.

11. Inside Linebacker

Current roster: NONE

Top Three Free Agents: Dont’a Hightower, Jarrad Davis, Jayon Brown

Top Three Draft Prospects: Devin Lloyd (I like this guy), Zakoby McClain, Quay Walker

What To Watch: The Texans bring back Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill. Devin Lloyd would be an ideal fit in this defense, but Kirksey and Grugier-Hill can and should return back to Houston via free agency. If not, this position shoots up the needs list.

12. Defensive Tackle

Current roster: Ross Blacklock, Roy Lopez, Michael Dwumfor

Top Three Free Agents: Brandon Williams, Ndamukong Such, Vernon Butler

Top Three Draft Prospects: Jordan Davis, Demarvin Leal, Zachary Carter

What To Watch: Two young defensive lineman anchor this group, but an interior pass rusher from free agency would be a nice accent to this top-heavy team. There’s talented free agents available at bargain rates.