The Houston Texans are coming off a 2013 season they would like to forget. They tied the 1994 Houston Oilers for the worst one-season plunge in NFL history. They went from a 12-4 team in 2012 to a 2-14 squad in ’13. Amazingly, they were 2-0 at one point before ending the season on a 14-game losing streak.
The good news is that they now get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft due to finishing with the worst record in the league. Injuries to former Pro Bowlers Arian Foster, Owen Daniels and Brian Cushing certainly did not help matters. Poor quarterback play, and a defense that could not force turnovers or stop anyone in the red-zone, were other reasons for the disastrous campaign.
It’s hard to believe that Matt Schaub actually made the Pro Bowl in 2012 while leading his team to a playoff victory. He helped the Texans to late wins in the first two games of 2013 as well. However, that’s when all hell broke loose. The Texans would throw a pick-six in five straight games in one stretch, which single-handedly cost them several games.
Houston finished with a 32-turnover swing in one season. It forced 29 turnovers in ’12 and finished plus-12 for the year. It would only create 11 takeaways in ’13 while finishing minus-20 in turnover differential. Making matters worse was a defense that ranked last in red-zone touchdowns allowed.
Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano was even fired after 13 games due to poor play on coverage and return units. Head coach Gary Kubiak would soon follow. Now, it’s up to Bill O’Brien to take this talented team and make the most out of it. He steps into a good situation with a loaded roster and the top pick in the draft.
Texans 2014 Draft Picks
1st Round – Pick 1, (No. 1)
2nd Round – Pick 1, (No. 33)
3rd Round – Pick 1, (No. 65)
4th Round – Pick 1, (No. 101)
4th Round – Pick 35, (No. 135, Compensatory)
5th Round – Pick 1, (No. 141)
6th Round – Pick 1, (No. 177)
6th Round – Pick 5, (No. 181, from Raiders)
6th Round – Pick 35, (No. 211, Compensatory)
7th Round – Pick 1, (No. 216)
7th Round – Pick 41, (No. 256, Compensatory)
RB Andre Brown
S Chris Clemons
S Kendrick Lewis
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
CB Brice McCain
TE Owen Daniels
NT Earl MItchell
DE/OLB Bryan Braman
ILB JOe Mays
DT Terrell McClain
ILB Daryl Sharpton
DE/DT Antonio Smith
RB Ben Tate
QB Matt Schaub
S Danieal Manning
WR Lestar Jean
Top 5 Needs
1. Quarterback – The Texans traded Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders this offseason. Case Keenum showed flashes of brilliance in Shaub’s place last year, but the fact of the matter is that he didn’t win any games, either. T.J. Yates is also an afterthought. Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick would sit atop the depth chart if the season started today, which isn’t good. He is a solid backup, but he has never been a winner as a starting quarterback in this league. O’Brien likes passers with strong arms and prototypical size who can function in spread offenses.
2. Outside Linebacker – New defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel needs his outside linebackers to be able to get pressure on opposing passers in his 3-4 scheme. J.J. Watt will likely occupy more blocks rather than shoot gaps in the new system. At the very least, the Texans need to add a starting-caliber outside linebacker who is explosive off the edge. Whitney Mercilus, a 2012 first-round pick, has been a bust to this point. Brooks Reed is better suited as an inside linebacker next to Brian Cushing. Jadeveon Clowney would be an ideal fit with the No. 1 pick.
3. Nose Tackle – Crennel has almost always had a big, bulky nose tackle in his systems. It is required to run the 3-4 scheme. As of right now, the Texans have only former Chief Jerrell Powe at the nose tackle position on their depth chart. He is a solid backup at best, so they need to find a starter who can eat up blocks in the trenches.
4. Offensive Line – Right tackle and left guard are two positions along the offensive line that need upgraded the most. Derek Newton failed at right tackle last year and will not be starting in 2014 because of it. Look for them to try and nab a starter on Day 2 of the draft. At left guard, Wade Smith is now 33 and past his prime. He was a liability last season and would be better suited in a backup role.
5. Cornerback – Houston was hoping that nickel back Brian McCain would progress. That did not happen last season as he was burnt time and time again. As a result, the Texans cut him, and he’s now with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ll certainly be looking for some depth behind Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson in the draft.
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