Houston Texans 2021 Season Preview: Rebuilding without any bricks

The Houston Texans have the ugliest 2021 season preview in the NFL. Their roster and front office are a mess -- the No. 1 pick is possible.

Well, it certainly hasn’t been a quiet offseason for the Houston Texans, and their 2021 season doesn’t have an optimistic preview. The situation surrounding the organization remains ominous. With the team’s shape being what it is, their best course of action probably includes trading Deshaun Watson, pending potential legal action or league suspension.

Houston Texans 2021 season preview

The Texans won’t have an easy go of it in 2021. Despite being one of the worst NFL teams last season, the Texans head into this season with the hardest schedule in the NFL. They play 12 teams projected to win more than nine games. Their entire schedule is a conglomeration of tough teams.

The Texans have to face the Browns, Bills, Colts (2x), Rams, Titans (2x), and 49ers. That is a mass amount of games against quality opponents.

The easier side of the schedule sees the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the New York Jets once. It’s reasonable to believe that the Texans could sneak away with one of them.

Offseason additions and losses

The Texans made a lot of moves during free agency and through trades in the 2021 offseason. The two biggest losses were J.J. Watt and Will Fuller. Watt followed DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals; Fuller landed in Miami. Recently, the Texans traded Randall Cobb so he could live happily ever after with Aaron Rodgers.

Nevertheless, Houston added names as well. The Texans signed Tyrod Taylor, who can back up admirably, if necessary. They also signed veteran defensive back Desmond King. Furthermore, Houston traded for offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and defensive end Shaq Lawson.

2021 NFL Draft

On top of being one of the worst NFL teams in 2020, the Texans only made five draft picks, and they didn’t have a pick before Round 3. However, they did an admirable job with the draft capital they had — that is, if you believe they made the correct decision with their first pick.

With the third pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Texans selected Davis Mills. He’s a big-armed quarterback with a big-recruit pedigree. It would be an awkward selection if they planned to keep Watson in town. Why use your finest finite resource to select someone that shouldn’t play for their entire rookie contract?

After that, the Texans traded up in the fourth round to select Michigan receiver, Nico Collins. Collins is a big-framed receiver with a lot of upside. The Michigan receiver didn’t play in 2020, but he’d been as productive as any recent Wolverine receiver the two seasons prior.

They really struck gold with their fifth-round pick. Brevin Jordan was a social media darling in his time with Miami. Many believed he’d be a Day 2 pick, and others believed he was the second-best tight end in the draft. Jordan was outrageous with the ball in his hands in 2020. His shorter, stockier frame feels perfect in an H-back role.

Later in Round 5, Houston selected TCU linebacker Garret Wallow. Wallow is a converted safety who displays great coverage ability. He’s an intelligent defender, but he struggles with the physicality of every-down linebackers.

Roy Lopez was an interesting pick. The defensive tackle has average size and athleticism, and his length is underwhelming. Despite the lackluster athletic profile and length, he displayed splashes of gap-penetrating ability.

Where do Houston players rank in PFN’s Top 100?

Despite the overall roster being a train wreck, the Texans still have two players inside the NFL’s Top 100 Players.

97) Laremy Tunsil

Tunsil was acquired by trade from the Miami Dolphins. The Texans desperately needed to find a blindside blocker for Watson. Tunsil would have been one of the top-five picks in his draft class if it weren’t for a surprise gas mask video that surfaced. His athleticism and technical proficiency are outstanding. He’s one of the better pass-blocking offensive tackles in the league.

5) Deshaun Watson

There’s no skirting around the Watson situation. The allegations of sexual misconduct are beyond disturbing. It’s still too early to know what’s going to come of this, but it at least appears that his days in Houston are numbered.

On the field, only MVP winner Aaron Rodgers outplayed Watson in 2020. What Watson did despite his surroundings — his ability to create out of almost nothing is outshined only by future GOAT Patrick Mahomes. Unfortunately, such a cloud has formed overhead that it’s impossible to get excited about seeing him on the field in 2021.

Texans 2021 prediction

David Culley gets his first stint as a head coach at age 65. Presumably, nobody else would sign up to take the Houston job. Culley has more going on than a man attempting to make a one-trip grocery run during the leadup to a hurricane party. The odds are stacked against the former Baltimore assistant.

Tim Kelly remains as Houston’s offensive coordinator despite being part of the previous regime. Lovie Smith comes to the Texans from coaching the Fighting Illini to be the defensive coordinator.

Offense

This is difficult. It’s difficult because both sides of the ball are going to struggle. If Watson doesn’t play for the Texans in 2021, this offense could be historically bad. Taylor may hold his own for a few games, but the Texans have to first see what they have in Mills.

Defense

The defense isn’t going to be good. It was the second-worst in the league last season, and it will not look much better in 2021.

2021 Texans record prediction

There’s not much holding this roster together, and with a difficult strength of schedule, the Texans preview as though it will be the worst team in the NFL season. Results may vary if Watson plays, but this could be the first-ever 0-17 team if he leaves.

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