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C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans poised to lead Texans into a new era in 2023

A look into the Houston Texans offseason.

The Houston Texans have been a bad football team for the past few seasons, and have been in desperate need of talent on and off the field.

The first order of business was to hire a new head coach, and the Texans hired the most popular candidate available in DeMeco Ryans. The Texans needed someone young, with a fresh new-age mindset after hiring David Culley (67) and Lovie Smith (65) in back-to-back offseasons.

Ryans was a former Houston Texans second-round pick in 2006, and If anyone knows how to lead a football team and get the most out of their players, it is Ryans. Ryans has received tremendous support from the Texans fanbase, along with past and current players around the league.

Now that the Texans hired Ryans, the next order of business was to add talent to the roster throughout free agency. The Texans found a gem at running back last offseason in Dameon Pierce, but Pierce can’t do it all by himself. The Texans added former Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary, who is only 25 years old and fresh off an 818-yard, five touchdown season.

Singletary will help take the heat off Pierce and can add an element to the passing game as well. Pierce and Singletary should be a productive duo in 2023.

The Texans offense has been awful since the departure of quarterback Deshaun Watson, therefore Texans general manager Nick Caserio knew he needed to add weapons to the roster.

The first move Houston made was to sign veteran wide receiver Robert Woods. Woods is 31 years old, but still believes he can be a 1,000-yard receiver in the league. If the Texans can get that production out of Woods, it will be huge for offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik’s offense.

Houston added former Dallas Cowboy Dalton Schultz, who is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in football. Schultz should have a monster year in Houston and could be a reliable safety blanket for rookie quarterback C.J Stroud.

The Texans traded for right guard Shaq Mason during the start of free agency and rewarded him with a three-year, $36M contract extension before he even played a snap in a Texans uniform. That should tell you all you need to know about how they feel about Mason.

An under-the-radar addition was the signing of quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum is a veteran presence who will be a good mentor for C.J Stroud, the Ohio State product the Texans snagged with the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Texans gave quarterback Davis Mills the chance to start 11 games as a rookie and 15 games in his sophomore season. Mills showed flashes, but was far too inconsistent to convince the Texans to give him more time.

It will undoubtedly take time for Stroud to adjust to being in the NFL, but something that has already been on display is his leadership ability. Stroud is widely known for his ability to command the huddle, and he has been as advertised. Stroud has made a very strong impression on his teammates and the coaching staff.

The Texans needed some more weapons for their rookie quarterback, so they drafted wide receiver Tank Dell in the third-round out of Houston, and wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson in the sixth-round out of Iowa State. Both players may take time to develop, but both are expected to make an impact for the team in 2023.

As for the defensive side of the ball, the Texans added many veteran impact players in free agency that will compete for starting jobs immediately. Some of those players include safety Jimmie Ward, who was with DeMeco Ryans in San Francisco, Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill Griffin, former first-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, and Pro Bowl linebacker Denzel Perryman.

The Texans defensive line in particular was bad at rushing the quarterback, and even worse stopping the run. General Manager Nick Caserio traded up from the 12th overall pick in the draft to the third-overall pick to select Alabama’s Will Anderson. Anderson has elite potential and will make an impact immediately.

Will Anderson is currently the favorite to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year (+350), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Texans also drafted another Alabama standout in linebacker Henry To’oto’o, who has received rave reviews from the coaching staff, along with general manager Nick Caserio.

Houston did not lose many notable players this offseason, but those who left in free agency included tight end Jordan Akins, wide receiver Chris Moore, defensive lineman Ogbo Okoronkwo and cornerback Tremon Smith.

Houston, in the first time in what feels like forever, did things the right way. The team is finally receiving high praise from the national media around the league, along with the fanbase. In fact, the Texans have the third-highest odds for the most improved team in the NFL (+700), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Texans may not be competing for a Super Bowl in 2023, but the AFC South is the weakest it has been in quite some time. That fact, along with the Texans’ schedule being on the easier side, and you never know what could happen.