The Houston Texan’s Off-Season Wrap Up and Draft Preview

The Houston Texans have made a massive trade that was rumoured all throughout the off-season after Deshaun Watson fell apart in the week 17 game against the Tennessee Titans. Deshaun Watson has had a remarkable three years in Houston as its quarterback for the PML Texans. Deshaun had his best statistical season in the first year. He threw 5,382 yards, 60 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions. He had a 70% completion rate and a 118.5 QBR. He was named the 2020 Best Quarterback and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He has actually been selected to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons that he was with the Texans. His production took a dip in his second year, he only threw for 3,884 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He completed 72% of his passes but his QBR dropped to a woeful 93.6%. His lack of production had a lot to do with Coach Bull’s run-heavy game plan after the team drafted Javian Hawkins who would then go on to win the MVP award in his rookie season. Watson’s third year with the Texans had mixed results. Deshaun was back to his old gutsy self throwing the ball down the field into coverage. This approach helped him throw for 5,017 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 40 interceptions. He completed a PML career low 69% of his passes and had a 98.6% QBR. The decision to move on from Deshaun came when his abilities were stripped away from him after his poor 2022 performance. The Houston Texans decided that his $43.2M salary was too much and wanted to see if they could improve their team in multiple areas. 

The Houston Texans decided to put Watson on the block at the start of the wildcard and they were getting phone calls immediately. It wasn’t until the first week of free agency that the Pittsburgh Steelers dialed in and were interested in Watson. The Texans and the Steelers drew up a couple of offers, some that included the 7th overall pick in the draft and a few key players. The two teams ultimately agreed to a trade that sent Quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for Middle Linebacker Devin Bush, Tight End Chase Claypool, and Center Maurkice Pouncey. The three positions and players that the Texans were able to trade are going to have a chance to start for the team. The trade did leave the Texans with a whole at the quarterback position, but with free agency already starting, they had an idea of the quarterbacks on the market that they could try to bring in.

The free agent quarterback market was full of older but serviceable players. Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Jimmy Garrapolo, and Matthew Stafford are some of the intriguing prospects that were out there. All of those quarterbacks are on the older side and the Texans were looking for a player with experience but also in his prime. Quarterback Drew Lock out of Missouri was drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos but really never had a chance in PML. In his first season, he threw for 3,353 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 40 interceptions. He was also sacked 51 times, which didn’t help his confidence. Drew Lock never had a chance after the first season because the Denver Broncos owner drafted Quarterback Spencer Rattler in the first round and he was the starter moving forward. Drew Lock would eventually be traded to the Detroit Lions where he would split snaps with Matthew Stafford until his eventual release in free agency this off-season. It was rumoured that the Lions and Lock tried to negotiate but the numbers were off on both sides. The Texans were able to negotiate with Drew Lock and gave him a deal that averages $10M a season for the next three years. Drew Lock was enticed by the offensive weapons that the Texans would be able to surround. The Texans have a dynamic set of running backs, two speedy threat wide receivers capable of getting open on a dime. They also traded for WR/TE hybrid Chase Claypool, and an offensive line that should provide enough protection for him to get the ball out of his hands. Lock ultimately decided that Houston was the best place for him to be a starter and succeed, but the Texans are hoping that he will be able to mimic Deshaun Watson’s accomplishment from season 1 in PML. The Texans still have roughly $3M left to spend in free agency, but for now their attention is on the draft that is quickly approaching. 

The Houston Texans were able to address a lot of their needs in the trade that sent Deshaun Watson to Pittsburgh. The Texans needed to address the starting middle linebacker position and the tight end position and they were able to do so with the additions of Chase Claypool and Devin Bush. The Texans don’t have any glaring needs but their team only features 43 players at the moment. They will have to address the fullback and punter positions in the draft. They are in need of another wide receiver, a defensive end, and a cornerback. Most of their starters are in place but depth will be crucial to account for injuries. The Texans have seven draft selections this year and all of their picks are in the fourteenth spot of each round. The Texans are intrigued to see how far any of the four top tier quarterbacks fall and are not opposed to drafting one. There has also been rumours around the organization that safety and defensive end is a position that they want to prioritize. The top of the draft will be interesting to watch and the fallout may favor the Texans if all four quarterbacks get taken prior to their draft pick. 

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