For any team in the NFL, it doesn’t get much worse going from having a 12-4 record during the 2012 season to only winning two games the year after that. Although the Houston Texans were a never supreme favorite to win the Super Bowl before the regular season last year, it came as a shock to well-versed sports fans that expected more out of this up and coming franchise. However, despite the Texans downfall from an AFC juggernaut to an abysmal competitor that was plagued with injuries and inconsistencies, this team may have a bright future to look forward to. Between acquiring quarterback guru Bill O’Brien from Penn State while having the coveted first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, the Texans have several pieces in place to rejuvenate this franchise back to its former prominence. Although the Texans ultimate goal to take back their division may not be an easy task initially, if they play their cards right, they could feasibly bounce back to at least being competitive in the AFC.
Of course, the biggest question on every football analysts mind is whether the Texans should acquire an invigorated defensive end in Jadeveon Clowney or a potential franchise quarterback. Initially, It would seem logical to acquire a competent passer, as it would give the Texans a formidable leader to build around for the long haul as the NFL draft is ripe with underrated potential at the quarterback position. While first round prospects such as Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles are obvious favorites as franchise quarterbacks, the Texans would be wise to at least evaluate the other eager prospects who may just fair better in the pros than their overhyped counterparts.
For underrated draft prospect Derek Carr, it would seem that his illustrious numbers last year illustrate the dominant potential of this athelete who matured valiantly with each successive year he played in the collegiate game. He blows both Manziel and Bortles out of the water in terms of overall yardage and touchdown passes last season (threw for 50 touchdowns and 5082 yards last year). On top of that, Carr is a swift passer that can avoid taking sacks by opposing defenses as he was only brought down 11 times throughout his senior season (Manziel and Bortles were sacked 19 and 21 times respectively). If the Texans can remain patient while using their vigilance to see Carr’s versatile potential, they could easily acquire the best overall player in Clowney with their first pick while getting a sleeper pick in Carr, all within the first two rounds of the draft.
Although the running back position hasn’t garnered as much appreciation as of recently as it has in the past, finding hybrid backs that can make clutch catches out of the backfield is essential to the success of a truly dynamic offense. Although Texans starting back Arian Foster has proven to be effective throughout most of his career, his absence during half of the season last year due to injury really crippled a Houston offense that was already in a state of turmoil. Since the Texans relinquished back up rusher Ben Tate to Cleveland Browns, acquiring an all-purpose back from the draft could do wonders in revitalizing the Texans rushing capabilities. While Boston College running back Andre Williams is a phenomenal pure runner, Auburn rusher Tre Mason has more to offer in terms of his dual threat capabilities. Not only did Mason average 5.7 yards per carry for 1816 yards last season, he also proved to be a reliable receiver as he averaged 13.6 yards per reception for 163 yards and one touchdown. Even if another franchise acquires Mason at some point during the draft, the Texans could still snatch up Dri Archer during the later rounds as his physical attributes lend themselves well to being an evasive rusher and as a speedy receiver.
When all is said and done, the Texans have a plethora of options with which to bounce back to eventually reclaim their AFC South division title. Although it’ll take more than simply finding underrated talent that can rebuild this teams dominant identity, having a confident offensive coach such as Bill O’Brian will surely help this Texans franchise find some much needed balance going into next season. If the Texans can utilize their draft picks effectively to find quality talent while respecting the loyalty of their veteran athletes, this team could very well find a way to redeem themselves for their embarrassing performances from last year.