KD’s Backfield: The Last Word on the Houston Texans

In recent years, the Texans have been considered contenders for a Super Bowl. The biggest issues they have faced come from the inconsistencies in game play and lack of discipline. Those two factors contribute to the reason that the Texans have not reached a conference championship game. The biggest issue that they have is the offensive line, they addressed the OL issues this year in the NFL Draft by drafting Tytus Howard  in the first round and Max Scharping in the third round. Neither are highly touted players but Howard has the athletic ability to be a perennial player but will be a project for the first couple years in the league. The Texans continued to address the offensive line with a trade they made this past Saturday, as well as several other trades made in the day.

The Trades

Jadeveon Clowney gets traded to the Seahawks for some average players on the defensive side of the ball in Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin along with a third round pick.

They trade two first round picks and a second round pick to Miami for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills.

The trade OL Martinas Rankin to Kansas City for RB Carlos Hyde.

And lastly, they trade 6th round pick to New England for DB Keion Crossen.

Breaking down the trades is important to understand my reasoning for why I feel the Texans made the correct moves on Saturday. Landing Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills might be the biggest, boldest, yet, best moves the Texans made for the following reasons: 1.) you’ve solidified your offensive line with Tunsil and 2.) you get a receiver that can work in the slot and on the outside. The combination of Stills and Will Fuller could be a dangerous one if both receivers stay healthy. Barkevious Mingo has been a bust after coming out of LSU, but pairing him with JJ Watt and Whitney Merculius could provide benefically for his career with the possibility of thriving despite under performing and being lackluster with his previous teams. Carlos Hyde adds another dimension to the Texans backfield, reuniting with former teammate Duke Johnson from Cleveland. If Hyde can produce at 70% of what Lamar Miller was capable of, the Texans run game might not miss a step.

The Texans already have the best wide receiver in then game with Deandre Hopkins, and when healthy Will Fuller makes it a potentially deadly tandem. The emergence of rookie receiver Keke Coutee last year and the addition of Kenny Stills now gives QB DeShaun Watson a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal. If the offensive line can protect him and his internal clock speeds up, Watson could gel nicely with his four wide receivers. Assuming that all four miss the injury bug, they could have the best wide receiving corps in the league.

One question that needs to be answered is: How will Bill O’Brien, who is on the hot seat, use his newly acquired talent and his he capable of being able to win games with his current talent pool? If he’s going to make a push for the playoffs, a divisional title and possible conference championship game, this is the year he can do it. The AFC South’s dynamic has changed completely in the matter of a short week. Indianapolis Colts’ superstar quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired leaving virtually unproven Jacoby Brissett as the starter. Nick Foles, without Philly hasn’t been good, is the new starter in Jacksonville and Marcus Mariota, the Tenneseee Titans starter, has been rather mediocre for his career. That leaves the Texans with the most dynamic and proven QB left in the division.

While the speculation is that Bill O’Brien is one of the few head coaches heading into the season that is currently on the hot set, I personally disagree with that assessment. O’Brien has had an uphill battle for a few years. He’s been on the receiving end of the bad luck charm with injuries. The former GM never addressed the offensive line which has led DeShaun Watson into the league lead of being the most sacked quarterback. And the biggest factor, a lack of a true second receiver in that offense. Will Fuller has played the part when healthy, but that injury bug seems to find him every year. Maybe the addition of Kenny Stills will help that if Fuller gets hurt, again? If O’Brien can get this team to mesh and win the division, I don’t believe that a conference championship appearance is necessary for O’Brien to keep his job.

The Texans are stacked with talent, while there are still some question marks surrounding the team, they have improved through the trades they made. They leveraged their future on Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, they were able to get something in return for the disgruntled Jadeveon Clowney and they added a much needed piece in the injury-riddled backfield with the addition of Carlos Hyde. Barkevious Mingo, while well traveled, has an opportunity to learn under DC Romeo Crennel, which possibly could lead to a career resurgence. If the Texans can stay healthy, there’s nothing to suggest that an AFC Conference Championship appearance isn’t possible.

Kevin Drake

Co-Host of Prime Time NFL Talk

Co-Host of AFNTalk.com’s AFN Live

Twitter: KevinDrake1