As the season winds down, we are looking for players that will be a part of the next Houston Texans team to actually win games on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that also means that some players will need to be replaced. That’s the nature of the league. Teams are constantly churning the bottom half of their rosters. When those players start getting better than the team ends up getting better.
We’ve used PFF scores for the majority of the season. They are a frame of reference, but they are a single frame of reference. Our picks for keepers and chaff are only partially based on that. They are mostly based on our own observations. When you can marry observation with some objective content then you have a leg to stand on.
The Top Five
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo— 89.2
Maliek Collins— 80.6
A.J. Cann— 77.4
Brandin Cooks— 74.4
Tavierre Thomas— 72.7
After these fifteen games we start to see some of the same people over and over again. We’ve already profiled a number of these guys as keepers. Every team has good football players and we want to keep as many as possible. Even if you decide you need to turn over the roster you still have to have some guys stick around for the next regime. Some of those guys are included here.
The trick is knowing which guys are good football players and good for the future of your team. We identified Brandin Cooks as one of those guys that probably shouldn’t be a part of that future. It is nothing personal really. He just needs to be somewhere where he can win immediately and that is not here.
Offensive Keeper— A.J. Cann (64.5)
Make no mistake, Cann isn’t an all-pro guard or maybe even an average starter necessarily. He is a starter. You cannot fix an offensive line in one offseason and the Texans line really doesn’t need that much fixing. They need a new center. They need Kenyon Green to play better. They need their two tackles to come back and be healthy. More than anything, they need a cohesive vision for an offense that uses it’s available linemen in a way that will accentuate their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
Offensive Chaff— Brevin Jordan (53.2)
This one is a difficult cut. I had high hopes for Jordan coming into the season. I know a number of other folks did. A part of this is on him and his inability to be healthy. I nicknamed him Mr. December in the HOTD because he only seems to make catches in December. The other part is the emergence of Jordan Akins. They also have Teagan Quitoriano. Jordan is just not good enough to be a situational tight end. Maybe that is something they target in the draft or free agency.
Defensive Keeper— Jake Hansen (71.2)
Hansen had the strip of Derrick Henry that probably kept the Texans in the game. If the Titans continue driving they go ahead 21-10 and the game is over. He has a starter grade, but it remains to be seen if he can actually be a starter on a good defense. Even if he can’t, he’s good enough to stick as a rotational guy. Christian Harris also played well again, so it would be nice to see both playing together in the last two games to see if they have a good chemistry together.
Defensive Chaff— Eric Murray (66.3)
Murray is a holdover to a different time. He might be the pictorial symbol of the concept of Value of Things. He was given a ridiculous contract for someone that was at best a rotational player. He was paid as a starter. That’s how these things happen. Backups get paid like starters. Starters get paid like stars. Stars get paid like hall of famers. Suddenly, you find yourself unable to afford the things you need. That’s the value of things. Cutting Murray is not necessarily a sign that things will immediately get better. It’s more a symbol that we are fully moving on from those dark days that should be gone.