There is no more exciting time to be a Houston Texans fan. Free agency comes next week and the NFL draft is coming in less than two months. Talk about the Texans is also heating up on the radio waves. Brad Kellner (@BradKellner) is one of the co-hosts on The Wheelhouse on FM 97.5 in Houston. His co-hosts have joined us for five questions, so now we close out the trio in advance of these exciting events.
With the scouting combine in the rearview mirror, most of the conversation concerned the draft but we did also address the free agency period next week. The Texans are open for business and it has been quite some time before fans were this excited for the team’s future.
Battle Red Blog: With the scouting combine now in the rear view mirror, where do you stand on these four prominent quarterbacks? Let’s assume your number one guy is taken first. Who is your fallback option?
Brad Kellner: Man…it’s easy to see why so many people are enamored with this quarterback class. All four of these guys possess a number of traits that give reason to believe they can be successful at the next level. For me, Bryce Young is the top dog. I didn’t care too much about what he weighed at the combine, but him being over 200 pounds is nowhere close to a bad thing. He’s the guy I want for the Texans, and I don’t think that will change between now and April 27th. If he is off the board, things become a little murkier. As of this moment, CJ Stroud would be my fallback option. Anthony Richardson’s potential is mind-boggling, but a project like him doesn’t make sense for where the Texans are right now. Will Levis is growing on me, but he still hasn’t quite reached the #2 spot on my lowly-regarded QB rankings.
BRB: Does the combine impact your opinion on some guys either way? Is there anything worthwhile that comes out of the combine or is it pure theatre?
BK: It does. The combine is never the most important element of my evaluations, but I do use it as a supplement to what I am looking at in a prospect. For me, the on-field drills mean more than what takes place on the sidelines (40, bench, vertical jump, etc.). I want to see how the QBs throw with dozens of NFL scouts and executives watching over like a hawk. I want to see how WRs run routes, how DBs go through the “M” drill and how EDGE rushers fare in the three-cone drill with the eyes of a nation watching. The combine is far from the only thing that matters, but it’s definitely something that does.
BRB: Let’s assume you get your guy at number two (or one). Who do you have at number 12? Are you loading up on offense or balancing the draft between offense and defense?
BK: This is probably a cop out, but it all depends on how the first 11 picks play out. In a perfect world, this WR class would be a little more top-heavy. That’s the position I really want the Texans to address. I’m all about drafting a QB and subsequently doing whatever you can to make life as easy as possible for your young QB. Look at Cincinnati and Jacksonville. Those teams drafted QBs with premium picks and almost immediately surrounded them with talent on the outside. It works. I would be comfortable with Jordan Addison or Jaxon Smith-Njigba at 12. Speaking of my perfect world, if the Texans could trade down a few spots, snag an extra pick or two, and still end up with one of those guys? We’re cooking with fish grease.
BRB: The free agency period begins on Monday, but this is a much longer process than just the first week. What ultimately is a win for the Texans in the end? What positions are an absolute must in free agency?
BK: The Texans can’t go bargain bin shopping this off-season. The last two free agency periods have been borderline pathetic for Nick Caserio… that can’t happen again. Yes, you can find good items at Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but you can’t build an entire wardrobe from those places. You’ve got to go out and buy something good; not just a bunch of things somebody didn’t want anymore. The good news is, the Texans have way more money to spend than they did in either of the past two off-seasons. They also have a respected coach that players around the league seemingly want to play for. Because of all the draft capital the Texans possess, there’s not an “absolute must” position in free agency. With that being said, I’ll give you one position on each side of the ball that I wouldn’t mind the Texans spending on. C and DT. There are some talented veterans available at those spots that I think would pair well with the young talent the Texans already have and will get in the NFL Draft.
BRB: Teams go worst to first every year. Do you see that as a remote possibility for the Texans? If not, what would your benchmark for success look like for DeMeco Ryans in his first year?
BK: Is it a remote possibility? Sure… but we’re talking Easter Island remote. The QB the Texans draft would have to come in and have a Justin Herbert-level impact, and the AFC South would have to be as bad, if not worse, than it was in 2022. If we’re talking 2023 success, the eye test means a lot to me. I want this team to look well-coached for the first time in what feels like forever. I want this team to play physical and disciplined. I want to see a QB develop into somebody who looks like he belongs in this league. I want to see guys like Derek Stingley Jr. and Kenyon Green showcase why they were drafted where they were. With all that being said, this is a results-oriented business. I can’t sit here and say that eye test is the only thing that matters. Wins and losses mean more than anything. A doubling of the 2022 win total feels like a reasonable ask, and a step in the right direction.
We want to thank Brad again for joining us for five questions. Stay tuned for Texans news next week as they embark on free agency as real players on the market for the first time in at least three seasons. If you are in the Houston area, tune into the Wheelhouse Monday through Friday from 3 PM to 7 PM every afternoon to hear Brad Kellner, Jake Asman, and Cody Stoots break down what they think about the Texans future.