Houston Texans: Top 3 Free Agent Positions To Target in 2015
The Houston Texans are a team on the rise. After posting the worst record in the league in 2013 they rebounded with a 9-7 record this past season. Many expected the Texans to address the QB position in last year's draft but they elected to draft linemen on both sides of the ball with their top draft picks. Their top pick Jadeveon Clowney was hampered all season with injury and is on the mend from the dreaded microfracture surgery. Hopefully he recovers fully and is joined by fellow injured teammate Louis Nix III in 2015. If both players recovery fully and can live up to their potential, Houston will be in a good situation heading into the season. Some of the key positions that need addressing in Houston are Quarterback, Tight End, and Corner Back.
It is unlikely that Houston can seriously address the QB position in the draft. The talent level falls off sharply after the top 2 QBs come off the board. With that being said Houston needs to look at the talent around the NFL available in the free agent market. There are a number of younger QBs that were once thought of as top prospects coming out of college as well as some project QBs that have been sitting behind the best in the business for several years. Let's take a look at this position.
1. Ryan Mallett - Houston traded for him during the season and he was thrown into the mix midseason with little chemistry built with his receivers. He's a big strong armed QB who sat behind Tom Brady for 3 years which the Texans hoped had rubbed off on him. It would be nice to see him get an opportunity to go through an entire off season and training camp and see if he can compete for the job.
2. Jake Locker - Locker is an interesting free agent. He was the first round draft pick of the Titans just 3 years ago. The Titans were a team struggling with off the field issues with it's WRs, a week offensive line and a running game that diminished. Locker has struggled with injuries having missed as many games as he's started. Having a fresh start with a team such as the Texans could be a good fit. He has strong leadership qualities a strong arm and is athletic to move in the pocket. Moving to a team with a good defense, a running game, and some stability at the WR position could revive his career.
3. Tyrod Taylor - I've liked Tyrod Taylor for some time. I believe he was one of the better QBs in his draft class even though he wasn't drafted until the sixth round by the Ravens. Each year he's looked solid in preseason but has had few opportunities to get on the field playing behind Joe Flacco. With a team like Houston, who has played the likes of Case Keenum the last two years, Taylor might be well worth a look. Much like Locker he's athletic and strong armed. He's also played on a team very similar to Houston in it's makeup. Run the ball, play defense, and limit turnovers. He's a possible steal at the position.
4. Mark Sanchez - I know I know. Rolling your eyes. He is however a former top tiered talent who has been in some less that perfect situations for a young QB. He's shown flashes of his talent from his USC days. What he's lacked is consistency in protecting the ball and limiting turnovers. Considering the QBs that were on the depth chart for Houston this past year he's still worth a look.
5. Brian Hoyer - He looked pretty good early in the 2014 season. Cleveland was without their top WR for most of the year in Josh Gordon. I'd like to see what Hoyer could do with a stronger receiving corp somewhere. He might just be the right guy. He's got some Moxie to him and a pretty good head on his shoulders. Houston could do a lot worse.
The Tight End position definitely needs addressing with the Texans. What was once a strength of the Texans offense has become a weakness. There are several free agents who could make an immediate impact for Houston.
1. Jordan Cameron - Extremely talented young TE in the league. He led all TEs in the NFL last year with 4 receptions of 40 yards or more. He has struggled with concussions having had one in each season he's played with one the past year sidelining him for 5 games. He could be a bit pricey with a higher risk due to his concussion issues but he has the talent of a top 3 TE in the league.
2. Germaine Gresham - Another highly talented TE who caught over 50 balls in each of his first 3 seasons. He has all skill set to become one of the best. The Bengals drafted Tyler Eifert in 2013 which is why we may not see them retain his services. He'd be a major upgrade for the Texans.
3. Charles Clay - He was drafted out of Tulsa in the 6th round by the Miami Dolphins in 2011. He caught 58 balls for 605 yards and 3 TD's this past season. He has the ability to move to the H back and fullback positions on the field and could be the most versatile and best buys of the three. I expect Miami to resign him but he'd be a great addition if available.
The CB position may need addressing this offseason with Kareem Jackson's contract up. The Texans should be even better this coming year at pressuring the QB which makes Houston a nice landing spot for any CB who is a ball hawk.
1. Kareem Jackson - The Texan could make this really simple by resigning Kareem Jackson. They know what they have in him and it would make sense to resign him. He most likely wants to test the waters of free agency. If another team gets in a bidding war Houston could look elsewhere.
2. Buster Skrine - He was a 5th round pick out of Chattanooga by the Cleveland Browns. He has shown the ability to line up in man to man coverage as well almost anyone in the NFL. He's only 5'9 but plays bigger with a good vertical. Should Cleveland not pony up the cash he'd be a great pickup for the Texans.
3. Byron Maxwell - The Seattle Seahawk CB stepped in after Brandon Browner was suspended for substance abuse. The Seahawks have some decisions to make in the offseason but it's doubtful they will keep both Maxwell and Browner on the roster. Should Maxwell end up the odd man out expect the 6'1 210 lb CB to get interest form a lot of teams around the league, Houston being one of them.