Rebuilding the Houston Texans
by: Jacob Cotton
What am I doing in this article?
This is a theoretical rebuild of the Houston Texans. They are the worst team in the league without question and have little to no talent at most positions, so I wanted to try to "rebuild" their roster to the best I theoretically can without being too unrealistic. I do plan on continuing this out for a 2024 off-season +draft, but I'd have to find a way to give the Texans a realistic(ish) record.
Coaching Situation fixes:
Firing HC Lovie Smith:
By the time this article will be published, this has already happened, and I agree it was the only choice, Lovie and his crew had possibly the worst possible performance they could have had. I am aware it was a rebuilding year, but the playcalling and aggressiveness weren't there, I mean look at Brian Daboll he made a "rebuilding" team into a playoff team.
Hiring Lions OC Ben Johnson:
Ben Johnson is someone you could genuinely consider an offensive genius right now, he's very good at scheming his guys open, and loves how he can use his slots WRs, and with John Metchie coming back from his leukemia treatment, Ben Johnson will have that really good slot player comparable to Amon-Ra St. Brown. His offensive scheme has allowed mediocre QBs to play well, and it doesn't mean much, but he lasted through 2 different coaching staff overhauls on the Dolphins, and Lions. Another plus I'll add about Johnson is that he's in his mid-30s, and would be the Texans Sean McVay type of signing, I don't think he's as much of a wacko as McVay, but he's also a very good offensive coordinator who's very young.
Re-signings, and cuts:
Maliek Collins (DT, resigned 2y 11m)
Maliek Collins is the only reason why the Texans can defend the run at all. He's a good block shredder, and can stop the run pretty well due to his large frame, he isn't enough for this Texans team though because of their lack of anyone around him.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (EDGE, resigned 2y $9m)
Okoronkwo has been very good for the Texans recently. He's a very athletic edge who's been very good in his limited snap count, and I believe if he was in a DeMeco Ryans system he could end up as one of the better edges in his division.
Tavierre Thomas (SCB, resigned 1y $3m)
Tavierre has been a very good depth CB for the Texans. He would probably be re-signed, as I don't see Steven Nelson sticking with the team after this year, and especially if they draft a corner high he will end up being cut so they might as well resign the only depth they have at that position.
Jordan Akins (TE, resigned 1y $4m)
I think Jordan Akins has played well enough to warrant a re-signing from the Texans, he's been a very good role player for the Texans after taking over the TE core because of OJ Howard's falloff from Week 1.
Jonathan Owens (FS, not resigned)
I think he's done enough to be re-signed, but I don't think he's going to want to stay with the Texans and may want to join a better team that he can contend with. Owens is going to be 28 soon, and after having a great season for the Texans, I think he can end up playing, and starting for a really good team.
Blake Cashman (LB, resigned 1y $1.3m)
Blake Cashman has been very good for the special teams unit and has the athleticism to play LB occasionally. He's a very fast runner, and can easily have the upside to spot start when needed to fill in for injuries.
A.J. Cann (RG, cut to save cap space)
A.J. Cann is downright terrible. He hasn't played well against the pass rush and has played worse against the run, I will say he's been better than the backup as you could easily tell when he was injured how bad the Texans guard depth was. I have him being cut to save cap as the free agent class I'd bring in is very large, and expensive.
Tytus Howard (4y $52m)
Tytus Howard may be the most improved player in a while, he may have been one of the worst tackles/guards last year, but when he was switched back to right tackle full time he was amazing. He isn't yet worth a big-time contract like Tunsil, I decided he'd be worth more of a Jordan Mailata-type deal where they weren't entirely sure he was the guy but still wanted to retain him.
Laremy Tunsil (3y $78m)
Laremy Tunsil has been the second-best tackle in the league, Tunsil's current goal is to "break" the tackle market as he's searching for more than $20m a year, and the Texans have 0 reasons not to give it to him considering they don't pay a QB until his deal is up. Tunsil has been great since he was traded, was it a bad trade... yea, but he's still an amazing piece for a young QB to develop with.
Brandin Cooks to the Giants for a conditional 2024 2nd, and a 2024 6th
Brandin Cooks has been unhappy with his usage, and his role in this Texans team as of recently. Cooks would be the perfect fit for the Giants as they have a young WR corp that would need a true WR1 to mentor the younger guys, and Brandin Cooks could be perfect for that role. The conditional pick would be based on if he can make a Pro Bowl.
Deandre Hopkins offers a 3rd and a 7th to the Cardinals (rejected)
I don't think it's unlikely that the Texans at least offer for Deandre Hopkins, the Cardinals are in a rebuild, and are going to cut down on older players in favor of younger talent, and I don't think Dhop will stay a Cardinal, the Texans would probably make this offer after their Brandin Cooks trade.
Free Agent signings:
Nate Davis (RG, Titans, signed 3y 28m)
Nate Davis is probably the best inside lineman in this free agency class, I don't see the Texans not trying to sure up their o-line which is 2 tackle spots away from being an open door for defenses. Nate Davis is one of the smaller guards in the league at 6'3 316, but he's a solid run and pass blocker, seen as the Ben Johnson scheme calls for a solid o-line. I see no reason they won't sign a guard.
Noah Brown (WR, Cowboys, signed 2y 9m)
Noah Brown would be a very good fit for the Texans as a swap in WR2 with Nico Collins, yes Collins is much better, but he is very injury prone, so I see no reason not to have a very good depth piece in Brown.
Mike Gesecki (TE, Dolphins, signed 4y 51m)
Let's get us a top-10 tight end while we're at it. Mike Gesecki may be the most underused player in the league right now, the Dolphins have shown 0 interest in re-signing him, so when he hits the market I don't see why the Texans shouldn't try to fill out a roster spot so they can draft more "luxury picks" rather than over drafting needed positions.
Jerry Tillery (DT, Raiders, signed 1y 8m)
I'm not the biggest fan of Jerry Tillery, but may as well do anything you can to sure up your DT spot. Tillery is skinnier for a DT, but he has solid upside and can play well when called upon, only concern for Tillery is the fact that he just isn't great at anything in particular.
Devin Bush (LB, Steelers, signed 2y 11m)
Devin Bush would be a solid piece to add to the Texans LB core, Christian Harris is a very athletic LB, and why not add another of that type next to him? Bush has had an underwhelming career as a Steeler, but just because a player underperforms in one scheme doesn't mean he's outright terrible, we saw it with Evan Engram this year, and De'Vondre Campbell last year free agents playing to prove something can work out very well.
Adrian Amos (S, Packers, signed 1y 11m)
This one isn't that realistic, but why not add a veteran safety to help improve the young guys? Pitre is a very raw safety who would benefit from a vet helping him sure up his game such as tackling, and being less or more aggressive in certain scenarios.
2. C.J. Stroud (QB, Ohio State)
Ben Johnson loves his nice, accurate pocket passers, and I could see him not trying to move up for Young, and sticking at 2 to get Stroud. I prefer Bryce Young purely as a prospect, but Stroud has all of the tangibles that Bryce doesn't, C.J. is taller, and has better accuracy. My pro comp for C.J. Stroud is a more mobile Jared Goff.
15. Jordan Addison (WR, USC) (VIA GB)
Jordan Addison is a top 3 route runner in this draft class, he will test pretty well, and I could very much see Ben Johnson wanting a true WR1 with Brandin Cooks gone, and Addison is how you get that. Addison reminds me a lot of DeVonta Smith, sure hands, and great routes. He doesn't have the potential of Smith, but could still end up a perennial Pro Bowler.
33. Andre Carter II (DE, Army)
Andre Carter is an absolute glitch, he stands at 6'7 and would be the highest-drafted player out of Army. Carter has been a very good edge for a very bad Army team and has produced very well when on the field. Carter reminds me a lot of Aidan Hutchinson as they're both 6'7 edges who can occasionally drop into coverage.
45. Siaki Ika (DT, Baylor) (VIA GB)
I'm not sure who the defensive coordinator would be if Ben Johnson were to come in, but I know that the Texans would love a Jordan Davis-type player who can come in on short yard downs, and stuff the run with their massive size. Ika will not have a combine even near comparable to Jordan Davis though, he reminds me of what Linval Joseph has been for the Eagles where he's a big guy who can wreck run plays.
65. Rashad Torrence II (S, Florida)
Rashad Torrence is a very raw prospect and has all the tools and some of the talents. Torrence reminds me a lot of current Texans rookie, and future DROY snub Jalen Pitre, an aggressive safety who plays larger than their size and can provide boom potential every play.
103. Kenny McIntosh (RB, Georgia)
Ben Johnson loves his RB rotation, we saw it with Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift, now it would be Dameon Pierce and Kenny McIntosh. Kenny would not be the top RB, but he'd be a faster guy they can go to in the passing game rather than having a Rex Burkhead out there.
136. Kingsley Eguakun (G, Florida)
Eguakun will probably never start for the Texans, but he'd be a solid depth piece, and you can never complain about having young depth players who can get the job done when called on. I will say if he cross-trains to center there is a shot he could start.
187. Luke Schoonmaker (TE, Michigan)
Schoonmaker is an alright TE, it's a very late-round pick so obviously, you just take shots on guys who were good performers in college, or have tools to be solid in the NFL. You can't really go wrong with a big school player late in the draft.
199. Tommy Eichenberg (LB, Ohio State)
Tommy Eichenberg has a similar story to Schoonmaker, a big school guy who has solid upside and was never really a "bad" player in college. Eichenberg will most likely play a lot of special teams, and it wouldn't hurt the Texans to get a younger replacement for Kamu Grugier-Hill whom they released earlier this year.
204. Adam Korsak (P, Rutgers)
Hands down the best punter in the class, he can provide good hang time, and can boot the ball very far. Korsak is everything you want in a punter, and having him on contract for basically free for 4 years will never be something you can complain about.
205. Noah Daniels (CB, TCU)
I like Noah Daniels, he's a fast corner who has okay coverage skills, never truly a terrible idea to grab athleticism late in the draft, Daniels has been a very solid CB for TCU and could show he had somewhat translatable skills during the CFB playoff this season.
239. Alex Ward (LS, UCF)
Jon Weeks is probably not coming back to Houston, there's not much of a scouting report I can give about a long-snapper, but how about I give you some long-snapper facts instead? The first true long-snapper to be drafted was Tyler Schmitt picked in the 6th round at 189 by the Seattle Seahawks, technically others were drafted before him, but they weren't true long-snappers.
Texans trade down with Green Bay Packers
Packers receive pick 12, and pick 73
Texans receive pick 15, and pick 45