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Value of Things: Keeping tabs on the Texans defensive one and dones

Who do the Texans bring back on defense?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We took a look at the offensive players on one year contracts. It is time we do the same with the defensive players. Some of these players are holdovers in the last year of their deal. Others were literally brought in on one year deals. Those kind of prove it deals have been beneficial for the Houston Texans on both sides of the ball.

We will take a look at their basic counting statistics along with their PFF scores. We do this because hopefully the PFF scores make sense when compared with the total numbers. At the end we will render a verdict of whether the player will be invited back or whether they should let them go to greener pastures.

LB Blake Cashman

2023 Numbers: 87 total tackles, nine TFL, five QB Hits, 2.0 sacks, five PD, 87.8 PFF
2022 Numbers: 26 total tackles, four TFL, five QB Hits, 3.0 sacks, two PD, 54.0 PFF

There can be no other candidate for the most improved player in the NFL. A part of that is that the Lovie Smith regime just didn’t use him enough or in the right ways. Yet, he is a legitimately much better player. It is hard to say whether he makes the Pro Bowl. Those awards are often based on reputation and not actual performance. He is easily the best coverage linebacker the Texans have. As such, it is hard to imagine this linebacking core surviving without him. The only downside has been some injury concerns of late. That might prevent a bank breaking contract which makes things easier for the Texans. Verdict: He’s back

DE Jonathan Greenard

2023 Numbers: 52 total tackles, 15 TFL, 22 QB hits, 12.5 sacks, two PD, 77.7 PFF
2022 Numbers: 16 total tackles, six TFL, four QB hits, 2.5 sacks, one PD, 63.4 PFF

I’m not sure how much credit the Ryans’ regime gets for his improvement. This could be simply a case of Greenard being healthy for the first time in his career. It came at the right time as his rookie four year deal comes to and end. He will get that lucrative contract. It’s just a question of where it comes. How he does these last two weeks could tell the tale as the Texans aim to try to make the playoffs. If he could somehow get to 15 sacks he could cash in at over 20 million a season. Like Cashman, finishing the season healthy will be key. He missed most of the Cleveland Browns game and if he misses more time it could impact the final totals. Verdict: Too rich for our blood

CB Steven Nelson

2023 Numbers: 58 total tackles, four INT, 11 PD, 73.3 PFF
2022 Numbers: 52 total tackles, one INT, seven PD, one TFL, 1.0 sacks, 66.7 PFF

Nelson is like most starting corners. Most starting corners are not pure shutdown corners. That is why those guys get paid so handsomely. He has games where he looks like a Pro Bowler and games where he looks like a chump. He grades out like a solid starter. He has made far more plays this year because Ryans plays more man coverage than Lovie Smith did. That means he makes more plays, but it also means he gets beat more often like he did on Sunday. You have to take the good with the bad and avoid the temptation of focusing on just the really good or the really bad. Verdict: He’s back

DT Sheldon Rankins

2023 Numbers: 34 total tackles, seven TFL, nine QB hits, 5.0 sacks, 60.8 PFF
2022 Numbers: 43 total tackles, four TFL, seven QB hits, 3.0 sacks, 73.1 PFF

It is grossly simplistic to suggest that everyone plays better in someone’s system. The reality is that some guys are scheme fits and some guys aren’t. Rankins is more of a pass rushing tackle and that is similar to what Maliek Collins brings. When both of them play together they get beat up a little in the run game. The numbers on passing downs look good but the overall grade is that of a rotational tackle. He was a helluva lot better than the guys that played there in 2022, but they can upgrade from him. The money paid to him could probably be better spent elsewhere. Verdict: He’s gone

LB Denzel Perryman

2023 Numbers: 67 total tackles, six TFL, two QB hits, 0.5 sacks, two PD, 57.8 PFF
2022 Numbers: 83 total tackles, 14 TFL, five QB hits, 1.0 sacks, two PD, 74.2 PFF

If you give him those two games he was suspended for then he likely would approach many of the numbers he had last year, but even then there is no denying that he was better last year than this year. He is good against the run, but doesn’t have the speed to cover running backs and tight ends on passing routes. He has been better than everyone they trotted out there in 2022, but that isn’t saying much. This team can do better here and should. Verdict: He’s gone