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Houston Texans Team Needs

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Houston Texans Team Needs
By: Jason Chernofsky

The Texans, as we all know, will have their choice of who to pick, as they select first overall this season. Many believe Reggie Bush, as he is considered far and wide to be the best player in this draft. I am not saying this won't happen, just saying that one should not be so sure. Domanick Davis is more than capable as a starter, and in just 36 career starts, he has 735 rushes for 3024 yards, not to mention over 150 career catches for 1276 yards. Not the best RB ever, but for a 3rd year player, he has been rather good. All that has been done behind a rather poor OL this year. And, let's not forget Vernand Morency and Tony Hollings, both of whom provide solid youth and depth. Johnathan Wells, the current backup, will likely leave via FA, but those two are very solid players with solid potential. I just don't see the need at RB, in fact, it's probably the strongest position on the team.

Logic may say that the pick would be D'Brickashaw Ferguson, an OT out of Virginia, and they should work on rebuilding their OL, although, I very well could see them trading down in order to compile more picks and fill more needs. This isn't to bring down Bush, raise up Ferguson, or anything of the like. I just can't see a team with so many pressing needs drafting a player where they have no real need. Sure, Davis has small injury issues, and Bush is an amazing talent, and I am not saying they shouldn't draft him, just pointing out that it isn't a set pick yet.

Also, as a sidepoint, I don't feel Carr should be to blame. Sure, he could be playing better, but with these targets on offensive lineman, he shouldn't have fingers pointed at him so much. I would keep him and give him another shot with improved surroundings.

That said, here are their major needs:

Defensive Line
Playing in a 3-4, the Texans' run D is partly based on the play of its NT, and Seth Payne simply doesn't get the job done there. He'll be 31 next season, which may be the reason for his steady drop over the season. He was solid early on, but played steadily worse over the rest of the season. Haloti Ngata from Oregon would be a very interesting option, but may not be worth the first overall selection, despite a good mixture of speed and bulk at NT. Babatunde Oshinowo, out of Stanford should be available in round 3 or so, while guys like Johnny Jolly (Texas A&M), Montavious Stanley (Louisville), and Steve Fifta (Utah), could go as high as Day 1, but also fall to Day 2. Travis Johnson, their first round pick last April, simply is too small to play nose tackle, and is a best fit as a 3-4 DE or a 4-3 DT.

However, all this assumes that they will play a 3-4 again, which may not be the case depending on who they decide to hire as coach. However, if they move too a 4-3, that does not eliminate the need at the DL. If they do say, Gary Walker and Robaire Smith could play DT, but they would be too small for DE. In that case, there would be a rather large need there, even if they convert former first round pick Jason Babin back to DE.

Offensive Line
They are probably the worst team in the NFL along the OL, and although Steve McKinney may not need to be upgraded at C, as he has been rather solid, every other player can easily be upgraded. The zone blocking system they've been using simply hasn't worked for the pass. The run has improved steadily over the course of the season, but the pass blocking has been horrendous.

Let's start with guard. Milford Brown is probably the worst starting guard in the NFL. He is due to be a free agent this offseason, and I would be shocked to see him return. At the right guard position, the Texans start Fred Weary, who also is due to be a free agent, and likely will not return to the Texans as a starter.

At offensive tackle, Chester Pitts, a massive man, starts at LT. His footwork is poor, and along with Brown, may be the worst starter in the NFL at his position. He is responsible for most of the sacks allowed, and let's players run around him, while also letting them get inside. He has ability, but hasn't showed it this season. I could very well see the Texans cutting him and saving a few million dollars.

Opposite him starts Zach Wiegert at right tackle. He has been OK, but at age 34, might not return. Todd Wade was the usual starter at RT before landing on IR in November. He was very disappointing beforehand, and may not be the answer there. However, cutting him would cost them, so he will likely return. Seth Wand just looks confused when he plays. I can't see them bringing him back, as he is also due to be a free agent.

Finally, don't be too shocked if they do decide to release Wiegert or McKinney. Releasing both would save about $8 million against the cap. However, some consistency could help the OL, rather than breaking it all apart and finding new guys. That would lead to lack of chemistry, which always hurts an OL.

There should be quite a few options for the Texans in both the free agent market and draft. Stephen Neal (Patriots), LeCharles Bentley (Saints), and Steve Hutchinson (Seahawks) are three very talented guards due to be free agents, while Jon Runyan of the Eagles leads the free agent class at OT. In the draft, D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virginia would be a good option with the first overall pick, while Andy Whitworth (LSU) and Daryn Colledge (Boise St.) are good options in round 2. As for guard, Max Jean Gilles is the top prospect, but may not last to their pick in round 2, but Davin Joesph (Oklahoma), Taitusi Lutui (USC), Will Allen (Texas), and Matt Lentz (Michigan) are all solid options that should be drafted somewhere betwen rounds two and four.

Marcus Coleman is almost a lock to be cut since he was replaced as a starter due to poor play and poor attitude. C.C. Brown could be considered a solid starter, but he is better suited as a backup. Glenn Earl has been poor at strong safety, and to ignore the need to replace him would be a poor decision. Brown is versatile enough to play FS or SS, but again, he may be more backup material that starting material. They must improve here this offseason.

Wide Reciever
Andre Johnson has had a poor season, although one could cite the OL as the reason, saying he simply did not have time to get open. The fact remains, however, that he has weaknesses, and need sto get open a bit more and secure catches better. Also, just 12 TDs in 3 seasons is very poor. Carr needs him to step up, although he is a solid number one reciever. At the other reciever spot, Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford just don't cut it. They combine to have a good season, but Carr could use one good target across from Johnson. Also, they are both free agents this offseason, and although one may return to the team, he shouldn't be more than a third reciever. They could ask rookie Jerome Mathis, who has been their bright spot this season to step up and play more at WR next season, but I wouldn't rely on him.

Tight End
One of David Carr's biggest faults since becoming an NFL quarterback has been the lack of TDs he has thrown. One of the major reasons he has thrown so few is that he has poor endzone targets. Their 3 TEs have barely passed the 200 yard mark combined, and Marcellus Rivers is the only one with more than 30 yards. None have a TD. Rivers, Mark Breuner, and Matt Murphy have simply been awful this season. They are in dire need of an upgrade. Luckily for them, TE has a rather strong class this year. Leonard Pope (Georgia), Mercedes Lewis (UCLA), and Vernon Davis (Maryland) are all big targets, but picking at first overall in round 1, the Texans select too high to draft any of them. Maybe one will fall to round 2, but it is doubtful with their talent. Pope and Lewis are probably the better fits of the 3 at 6-6 and 6-7 respectively. Joel Klopfenstein (Colorado) at 6-7 is a good round 2 or 3 option.

Discuss the Texans team needs in our Houston Texans Forum.

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