The Houston Texans lost a few of their top free agents like Glover Quin, James Casey and Connor Barwin on the open market, but they also added a few veteran parts that offer more leadership and championship experience.
You can expect the Texans to try to finish building into a serious Super Bowl contender through the 2013 NFL Draft. Here’s the club’s updated team needs entering the three-day festivities (in no particular order).
You know you really need help at wide receiver when the star-studded and soft-spoken Andre Johnson says he’s been lobbying the front office to use its first round pick to upgrade at the position.
“I’d like to have another [receiver],” Johnson told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m all for it. I’ve asked for it for awhile. The more weapons we have, the better it’ll be for the team.”
Though Johnson has had a problem with injuries lately—missing three games in 2010 and nine in 2011—and turns 32-years-old in July, he chalked up a career-high 1,598 yards on 112 receptions (second-most in career) with four scores in 2012. Don’t be surprised when he has even more success with another legit target on the other side of the field.
“If we draft a receiver, I’m going to help him as much as I can,” Johnson said. “I’ll answer any questions he has because I want him to perform well.”
The Texans could have up to five options to upgrade the position at No. 27—DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson, Keenan Allen of Cal, Robert Woods of USC and Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee.
While Tavon Austin will be long gone and so could Patterson, some suspect the latter receiver could fall towards the bottom of the first round. There are questions surrounding each of the five wide outs (Woods, Hunter, Patterson, Hopkins and Allen)—especially the last three, as Patterson is a rather raw receiver with limited major college experience, Hopkins allegedly trashed his hotel room at the combine and Allen missed a ton of offseason workouts due to injury, in addition to allegedly failing a drug test in Indianapolis.
Nevertheless, each of them would address what the Texans need—a new No. 2 receiver who offers a good combination of size, speed, strength and flexibility and will have a significant and immediate impact opposite Johnson. It’s just a matter of who’s still on the board and who the team likes most among the available targets at No. 27.
2. Offensive Line
The Texans don’t have to invest a high draft pick to bolster any other position on offense, but they would be wise to at least add some depth and talent to the right side of the line through the middle rounds.
Potential options that offer solid value in the third and fourth round could include Luke Marquardt, Chris Faulk, Brennan Williams, David Quessenberry, Vinston Painter, Barrett Jones and Dallas Thomas.
There should be no shortage of competition at inside or outside linebacker after the draft, as the Texans look to add some talent and depth to both positions through the early to middle rounds later this week.
Keep an eye on the likes of Kevin Reddick, Kiko Alonso, Jon Bostic, A.J. Klein and Nico Johnson at ILB and Jamie Collins, Alex Okafor, Chase Thomas, Sio Moore and Brandon Jenkins at OLB.
Other Needs Include..
- Defensive Back: Early-to-mid round eventual replacement for Ed Reed and mid-to-late depth at cornerback.
- Defensive Line: Early to middle round nose tackle and added depth at 3-4 defensive end on the third day of the draft.
- Tight End: Added depth through the third round of the draft to mold behind Owen Daniels.
- Running Back: Likely not Kenjon Barner, but perhaps that type of prospect on the third day of the draft to add more versatility to the offense.
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter. Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!