It’s been quite an active offseason for the Texans since NFL free agency opened last month.
The Texans have acquired instant impact players wide receiver Robert Woods, safety Jimmie Ward and offensive lineman Shaq Mason, while losing a few like high-performing wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who forced his way out of town via a trade with the Cowboys.
With the NFL Draft looming later this month, and the Texans holding a handful of draft picks, it’s likely the activity will only heat up between now and the start of the Draft on April 27. The Texans have five picks in the first three rounds, so look for teams to be anxious to convince them to give up some of those picks to acquire veteran talent.
Expect to hear some intriguing rumors like the Texans looking to enter the expensive Lamar Jackson or Jimmy Garoppolo quarterback trade market. There is even speculation the Texans might be willing to part ways with the No.12 overall pick – acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Deshaun Watson deal – for the Commanders’ third-year edge rusher Chase Young.
What could happen seems to be anyone’s guess at this point.
But what is for sure right now is the Texans own the No.2, No.12, No. 33, No. 65 and 73rd overall picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming Draft. So there are plenty of options.
The Texans are positioned well to select a young quarterback of the future among the top three prospects in C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson with the No.2 pick. The Carolina Panthers, who made a trade with Chicago to move into the No.1 slot, will have their pick of the three and then Texans general manager Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans can decide between the other two.
The overwhelming belief is if the Texans do decide to build around a rookie that it will be Alabama’s Bryce Young heading to Houston. But maybe the Texans are tired of the slow rebuild after three straight losing seasons and could opt to go for one of the proven veteran quarterbacks, which would likely cost them one of the first round draft picks and then some.
Jackson, who is unhappy in Baltimore over a contract dispute, is believed to favor a trade to Houston.
While careful not to fan the flames of tampering, Ryans didn’t dispel rumors of a mutual interest in Jackson.
“We look at all options for our team,” Ryans said recently to reporters. “That falls into that category, as well.”
Ryans, who is careful not to show the Texans’ hand when it comes to who they want to fill their signal caller void, does know the characteristics he is looking for in a franchise quarterback.
“For a quarterback, I think the most important attribute I look for, it’s that how is his leadership style,” Ryans said. “How are those other 10 guys looking – can they look at you in a huddle and know, we can count on this guy to make a play. We believe in you.”
Whatever direction the Texans decide to go at quarterback, they have already spent the offseason making sure he will have something to work with on both sides of the ball. Woods comes in from Tennessee as easily the most accomplished receiver on the Texans roster, while running back Devin Singletary and tight end Dalton Schultz should provide some other receiving targets. And Mason should help bolster the offensive line.
They’ve also added some intriguing defensive pieces like defensive linemen Sheldon Rankins and Hassan Ridgeway, along with safety Ward.
And it doesn’t sound like the Texans are done adding free agents.
“We’re always looking to add to our team, whether (or not) it’s by free agency,” Ryans said. “I think that’s an ongoing process that’s never ending, so we’re always looking to see where we can get better, add more depth to our team, so that doesn’t change.”
Free agents acquired
WR Robert Woods
S Jimmie Ward
RB Devin Singletary
TE Dalton Schultz
DT Sheldon Rankins
OL Shaq Mason
QB Case Keenum
FB-TE Andrew Beck
RB Mike Boone
WR Noah Brown
Free agents kept
LS Jon Weeks
OL Scott Quessenberry
DE Derek Rivers
Key offseason losses
WR Brandin Cooks
TE Jordan Akins
QB Kyle Allen