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Five Questions with 97.5 FM’s Jeremy Branham

The Killer B’s Cohost answers five questions about the Houston Texans.

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NFL: Houston Texans Rookie Minicamp Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Branham has been a part of the Houston sports scene for nearly a decade up and down the radio dial. These days you can find him as one of the two hosts of The Killer Bs on 97.5 FM. With the draft and free agency mostly in the rearview mirror we felt this was a perfect time to get his thoughts on the draft and offseason before training camp opens this summer.

Battle Red Blog: Houston Texans fans are obviously anxious and excited to see what will happen with their new rookie quarterback. What do you expect out of him in year one? What do you think his ceiling is down the road?

Jeremy Branham: The most important thing to remember is that he’s a rookie QB, and rookie QB’s have trouble having immediate success making the leap. My expectations for him are to show steady improvement and prove he belongs, and was worth being the second pick. I’m interested to see how he handles the leap from being the QB at Ohio State with elite talent surrounding him, to guiding a team coming off a three win season.

Long term, I expect Stroud to be a top 15-ish QB. Best case, top 10. I can see him taking off in the system with Slowik creating space with the receivers, a strong running game, and Stroud using his accuracy to shine in the West Coast scheme.

BRB: Nick Caserio gave up a lot to move up to the number three overall pick to nab Will Anderson. Were you in favor of that move? If not, what would you have done in that situation?

JB: I’ve been pretty adamant that it was a bad trade. We were on the air with the ESPN 97.5 Draft Show and as soon as the trade was made, and everyone was celebrating, I was obsessed on which 2024 first round pick they gave up, and I wasn’t pleased after finding out it was Houston’s 2024 first. That said, this is a trade that’s going to need five years before we crown a “trade winner.”

In order for the Texans to “win” the trade, they need BOTH Stroud and Anderson to be better than the package of picks that they gave up. Well, why both when they traded up for Anderson? Even though some people try to justify the package by saying it was really for Stroud. Well, both need to be better because they could have just drafted one player and kept their draft capital. Stroud and Anderson will need to out produce what 12, 33, next year’s first would have netted in order for me to categorize the trade as a victory for the Texans.

BRB: Most of the attention is going to be on Stroud and Anderson this season, but who was your favorite selection from day two or three of the draft? Who should Texans fans keep their eye on?

JB: Obviously, I have a Houston Cougar bias. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with UH coaches, my broadcast partners, fans, scouts in the elevators, anyone you can think of gauging their opinion of Tank Dell’s draft prospects. His production speaks for itself, he wins matchups, he gets open, he makes tough catches, he’s a freak in the return game, I’m bullish on Tank Dell. I understand the concern with his size, but he has an understanding of that as well and has an ability to avoid a lot of big hits because of his elusiveness. He’s also an incredibly tough kid. If I could buy stock on a player, I would have bought stock in Tank three years ago. I love him, and he’s the type of person, not just player, that is going to give you literally everything.

BRB: Are there any veterans out there that you’d like to see added? If no specific players then any positions you want to see addressed?

JB: I can tell you that I don’t want Jadeveon Clowney. I don’t understand the fascination for a guy that Jonathan Greenard outperformed in only eight games. Clowney quit on the Cleveland Browns, was sent home before the season finale, griped about coaching and how he was used, and was delusional enough to think he was better than Myles Garrett. Sorry, but I don’t want Clowney in the same position meetings with Will Anderson. I also think they’re in a decent spot at DE. Obviously, Will Anderson needs to play as many snaps as he can handle, but I also want to see Greenard in this defense and see if he can be the long term fit opposite of Anderson. Hughes is a steady backup and great to have around Anderson, and they liked Chase Winovich enough to give him a couple million. Plus, with the addition of Jacob Martin, I think they’re done adding to that spot.

I wanted depth post draft, nothing splashy, just add depth where they can sustain a few injuries. Shaquill Griffin was a shrewd move from that point of view, same thing with Martin. I could see them potentially adding another running back in the June wave of cuts, but nothing significant. Although, I’m intrigued by Xazavian Valladay, to guarantee him better than most sixth rounder money, I think is a statement.

If I had to pick one more veteran, I’d like to see an interior offensive lineman, and maybe they think Scott Quessenberry or Jarrett Patterson is that guy, but I’d like a vet. Someone that can push Kenyon Green at LG, if he continues to struggle. That can start at C, if the young guys aren’t picking it up fast enough. That can play RG, if there’s an injury. That can help Juice and Patterson pick up the NFL game. That’d be my one last veteran move, IOL.

BRB: Draft Kings and PFF both set the over/under on wins at 5.5 before the draft. Some sources bumped that up to 6.5 based on the huge haul in the first round. Are you taking the over or under at 6.5? Is there anything that could change your mind one way or another?

I’ve looked at best and worst case scenarios. I do a bit on my show every now and then where I’ll throw on my ‘homer hat,’ and only see Houston sports from the most optimistic view. The schedule is getable, if everything fell into place, if DeMeco is a great coach from the very first game, if the coaching staff is great, if Stroud is the offensive rookie of the year, if Anderson is the defensive rookie of the year, if a few more rookies are hits, if Metchie is really good, etc. etc. I think they can be in the hunt for 8-9 wins as the absolute ceiling, but that’s a lot of if’s and not the most realistic answer.

The most reasonable answer is that it’s a young team with a first year head coach coming off a three win season. Even six wins is a 100% improvement. Rookie QB’s struggle in the NFL, not many top five picks have had winning seasons in their rookie year, there’s still questions about offensive explosiveness. The defense is built on a lot of very young players learning a new scheme. My official prediction is six wins. Nothing could change that answer before the season kicks off, I could be singing a different tune after a 2-1 start, but that would be cheating. Give me six wins, a 100% improvement from 2022, and a lot of hope and optimism going forward.

We wanted to thank Jeremy from taking time out of his busy schedule to give us so much in-depth analysis for all of our questions. You can catch him covering University of Houston sports and on 12-3 Monday through Friday on 97.5 FM. Do you agree with his answers? Let us know in the comments section.