The most glaring team need for the Houston Texans in 2014 is to quit turning the ball over and start causing turnovers. This is one of the most important stats in the NFL when determining winners and losers on game day. The Texans finished dead last in the NFL with a -20 turnover ratio. There is no way they can be successful and keep this up. All the blame does not lie with the offense either, the defense must shoulder some of the blame. The Texans’ defense ranked 29th in sacks, 31st in opponents’ points per game, and last in interceptions.
To help bolster the defense the Texans must draft a player that can rush the passer, which will help them twofold. First, it will help them sack the quarterback more and the added pressure should lead to more interceptions. The Texans should draft Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina with their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Clowney will flourish with the addition of Romeo Crennel, who is known as a player’s coach. Crennel will be able to tap that unlimited potential in Clowney. Clowney has NFL prototype size and speed that is needed at the OLB position in the 3-4 defense that Crennel will most likely run.
Many draft experts believe that the Texans should draft a quarterback with their first pick, but I do not agree with that thinking. Matt Schaub had a really bad year this past season, but I believe that new head coach Bill O’Brien can help him have a better year. Schaub must make better decisions in the passing game. Schaub is also 32 years old, so he is on the backside of his career, but I feel he is still a usable player if he gets better. If O’brien does decide to cut Schaub, or feels that he can’t get the job done, then the Texans definitely need to add a quarterback, but I do not think they need to draft a quarterback with their first pick.
The Texans must also address the safety position either in free agency or in the NFL draft. D. J. Swearinger led this position in tackles with 71 on the season which ranks him fifty second in tackles among defensive backs in the NFL. The Texans must get better production from this position if they want to improve from this season. They must also get faster at this position. Speed kills and that is not the strong suit of Swearinger or Shiloh Keo.
Inside linebacker could be a big need depending on how free agency goes. Both Darryl Sharpton and Joe Mays are unrestricted free agents. Sharpton had the better year of the two and the Texans would be smart to try to retain him. Mays, on the other hand is undersized for a 3-4 inside linebacker and did not produce as well as the Texans would have liked. The Texans need to add size and production to this position.
The Texans also need to add some offensive linemen to the mix whether in the draft or free agency. They will probably lose left guard Wade Smith in free agency and could use some competition at right tackle for Derek Newton. Also, center Chris Myers is 32 years old, so the Texans need to keep an eye out for help at that position as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, Crennel wants big defensive linemen that can cause double teams, which open up the linebackers to flow to the ball and make tackles. Unrestricted free agent Earl Mitchell has the prototype size to play the nose tackle position if he decides to stick around with the Texans and could also play some defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. This becomes a huge need if the Texans lose Mitchell. Everyone knows what J.J. Watt can do at his defensive end position, but the Texans would be wise to look for more help in their defensive line either in the draft or free agency.
Running back is also an area of need for the Texans and could be a glaring need if they lose unrestricted free agent Ben Tate. Arian Foster is now 27 years old, which for a running back is past his prime, but he is definitely still very usable. The Texans need to add a running back this offseason and becomes even more important if they lose Tate.