The Houston Texans’ moves from the offseason can’t adequately be evaluated until more time has unraveled.
At least, that is the take ESPN has on the defending AFC South champion’s moves since the 2018 season ended. The four-letter network categorized the offseason for all 32 NFL teams and placed Houston in the “too soon to tell” bin. Sarah Barshop explained that the results are contingent on how Houston solved the left tackle problem.
Who will play left tackle? This has been the question since the Texans traded Duane Brown to the Seahawks in 2017. Houston made some moves this offseason, but whether or not the offensive line has improved will depend on whether Howard can step in and play well in his rookie season.
The Texans also drafted Max Scharping in the second round to play tackle, though it is believed he will be more of a right tackle for the Texans than protect quarterback Deshaun Watson’s backside.
Secondary was also a concern heading into the offseason. Houston recovered quite nicely in free agency after the departures of safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive back Kareem Jackson by signing former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson and ex-Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby. The Texans also shored up their cornerback core with second-round pick Lonnie Johnson and sixth-round pick Xavier Howard.
However, the emphasis was always on the offensive line, and that is what former general manager Brian Gaine addressed, even if in his own thrifty way such as signing left tackle Matt Kalil in second-wave free agency. If the Texans can’t put together a group of five linemen to protect Watson, who suffered 62 sacks, the most in the NFL, or open up running lanes for running back Lamar Miller, then they will have a struggle to make the playoffs, let alone retain their status as division champs.