NFL Picks - Feb. 7
2017 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 5
2016 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 4
2016 NBA Mock Draft - Feb. 2
NFL Free Agents
Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 15
2012 NFL Offseason Pages
More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:
DAL / NYG / PHI / WAS /
CHI / DET / GB / MIN /
ATL / CAR / NO / TB /
ARZ / SEA / SF / STL /
BUF / MIA / NE / NYJ /
BAL / CIN / CLE / PIT /
HOU / IND / JAX / TEN /
DEN / KC / OAK / SD /
Divisional Rival History:
Indianapolis Colts: The Texans have existed now for nine years. In those nine seasons, they've only beaten the Colts thrice out of 20 times.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Texans have won the past three meetings.
Tennessee Titans: The Texans would have swept this series last year if the Week 17 tilt meant anything to them.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
- 2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
- Detailed season preview
- Fantasy football projections
- Positional rankings
- Daily updates on free-agent signings
2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon
2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Donnie Jones, P, Rams. Age: 32.
Signed with Texans
Donnie Jones averaged 44 yards per punt with more than a quarter of his tries going inside the 20.
Bradie James, ILB, Cowboys. Age: 31.
Signed with Texans
No longer a three-down linebacker, Bradie James struggled at times in 2011.
- Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Signed with Texans
- Alan Ball, CB, Cowboys. Age: 27. -- Signed with Texans
- Moran Norris, FB, 49ers. Age: 34. -- Signed with Texans
- John Beck, QB, Redskins. Age: 31. -- Signed with Texans
Houston Texans Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Mario Williams, DE, Texans. Age: 27.
Signed with Bills (6 years, $100 million; $50 million guaranteed)
One of the top pass-rushers in the NFL will be allowed to hit the market because the Texans have other great rush linebackers. I'm not big on building through free agency, but teams should be selling their souls to get Williams on their roster.
Arian Foster (RFA), RB, Texans. Age: 26.
Re-signed with Texans (5 years, $43.5 million)
Arian Foster is one of the top running backs in the NFL. He can do it all, and he proved that his 1,600 rushing yards in 2010 weren't a fluke by totaling 1,224 rushing yards and 53 receptions in 13 games this past season.
Chris Myers, C/G, Texans. Age: 30.
Re-signed with Texans (4 years, $25 million)
Chris Myers has been exceptional as Houston's center, but his value isn't really high as it should be because he doesn't fit with non-zone-blocking teams.
Neil Rackers, K, Texans. Age: 36.
Signed with Redskins (1 year)
Neil Rackers' field-goal percentages over the past four years: 89.3, 94.1, 90.0 and 84.2. He's 7-of-9 from 50-plus in the previous two seasons. Only his age (36) is a concern.
Eric Winston, OT, Texans. Age: 28.
Signed with Chiefs
Eric Winston is a talented right tackle who would be a great fit for any team running a zone-blocking system. He surrendered seven sacks in 2011, but four came when T.J. Yates was inserted into the lineup, so that number is inflated. Winston's best trait is his reliability; he hasn't missed a start since 2006.
Mike Brisiel, G, Texans. Age: 29.
Signed with Raiders (5 years, $20 million)
Mike Brisiel is a solid guard in a zone-blocking scheme. He pass protects well, though penalties are an issue.
Jason Allen, CB, Texans. Age: 29.
Signed with Bengals
Jason Allen played surprisingly well in Wade Phillips' defense in 2011. He surrendered a completion percentage of only 50.6 and ate into Kareem Jackson's snaps late in the year.
Lawrence Vickers, FB, Texans. Age: 29.
Signed with Cowboys
Lawrence Vickers is a decent blocker, but doesn't do anything else.
Jacoby Jones, WR/KR, Texans. Age: 28.
Signed with Ravens (2 years, $7 million)
Jacoby Jones has never lived up to expectations as a receiver, but he's an effective return specialist. He took a punt back for a touchdown in 2011.
- Joel Dreessen, TE, Texans. Age: 30. -- Signed with Broncos
- Tim Dobbins, ILB, Texans. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Texans
- Kasey Studdard, G, Texans. Age: 28.
- Matt Leinart, QB, Texans. Age: 29. -- Signed with Raiders
- Tim Bulman, DE, Texans. Age: 29.
- Dominique Barber, S, Texans. Age: 26.
- Quintin Demps (RFA), S, Texans. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Texans
- Bryant Johnson, WR, Texans. Age: 31.
- Derrick Ward, RB, Texans. Age: 32.
- Jake Delhomme, QB, Texans. Age: 37.
2012 NFL Draft Grade: C+
Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft:
The Texans had only one need entering the offseason, and that was at the receiver position. They've lost right tackle Eric Winston, guard Mike Brisiel and linebacker DeMeco Ryans since then, so Houston will need replacements.
2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments:
Houston wasn't planning on drafting a receiver in the first round, reasoning that the new wideout would be fourth on the depth chart entering the season. I don't necessarily agree with that, but whatever. The No. 26 overall selection was a good one, as Whitney Mercilus was mocked as high as No. 7 by Todd McShay.
The Texans did well to address their offensive line with Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones, and then they managed to net Jared Crick all the way at No. 126. That was a steal. However, Houston's receiver choices were rather questionable. DeVier Posey in the third round? Really? He was a mid-Day 3 prospect on every single major big board. There were much better options out there.
General manager Rick Smith didn't have a bad draft, but it was disappointing. I expected more out of him.
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
26. Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois: A Grade
The Texans already had Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, but they wanted a third pass-rusher to use in a rotation. So, with that in mind, I think this is a great pick because Whitney Mercilus could have easily gone in the late teens. Like the Lions and Steelers, the Texans are a smart team that is getting the benefit of dumb franchises reaching for prospects.
68. DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State: Matt Millen First Kielbasa Date Grade
Steven Lourie of FootballFanSpot.com said it best: "DeVier Posey to the Texans. Someone will have to wake him up and tell him someone actually drafted him." I don't know where the hell this pick came from. I don't even think I had Posey in my mock. He wasn't in the top 125 on any consensus big board.
76. Brandon Brooks, G, Miami of Ohio: A- Grade
Things go back to normal for the Texans, who select a prospect who actually fits the range; Brandon Brooks actually could have gone in the bottom of the second round. Houston needed to find guard help after losing Mike Brisiel.
99. Ben Jones, C/G, Georgia: B Grade
Ben Jones is decent value in Round 4, but he doesn't really fill a need. The Texans already drafted a guard and they were able to re-sign Chris Myers. Jones will need injuries to sneak into the starting lineup.
121. Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan State: C+ Grade
There were mixed opinions on Keshawn Martin entering the 2012 NFL Draft. Some major boards had him in the 100-130 range; others slotted him 400-plus. I feel like there were better receivers out there for the Texans.
126. Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska: A+ Grade
What's with the series of steals at the bottom of Round 4? Jared Crick, once considered a potential first-round prospect, was ranked as high as No. 58 on a major big board. The Texans had to find depth on the defensive line.
161. Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M: C+ Grade
No surprise that the Texans brought in local product Randy Bullock; I just thought they'd do it a bit later. But I understand why they panicked a bit - with Neil Rackers gone, Houston didn't have a kicker on its roster.
195. Nick Mondek, OT, Purdue: C Grade
Nick Mondek wasn't projected to be drafted by any publication, but he fills a need at right tackle. He's also good for Houston's zone-blocking scheme.
You really have to feel for the Texans. They finally got over the hump and reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history - but they had to try to advance to the Super Bowl without their starting quarterback and top defensive player. If they had Matt Schaub and Mario Williams, they would have unquestionably been the favorite because of their balance.
Texans sign FB Moran Norris
Texans sign RB Justin Forsett
Texans sign CB Alan Ball
Texans sign QB John Beck
Ravens sign WR Jacoby Jones
Texans sign K Shayne Graham
Texans cut WR/KR Jacoby Jones
Raiders sign QB Matt Leinart
Redskins sign K Neil Rackers
Texans sign ILB Bradie James
Texans re-sign ILB Tim Dobbins
Texans re-sign S Quintin Demps
Texans sign P Donnie Jones
Broncos sign TE Joel Dreessen
Eagles acquire ILB DeMeco Ryans for 4th-round pick; swap of 3rd-rounders
Bengals sign CB Jason Allen
Chiefs sign OT Eric Winston
Texans re-sign C Chris Myers
Bills sign DE Mario Williams
Cowboys sign FB Lawrence Vickers
Texans cut FB Lawrence Vickers
Texans cut OT Eric Winston
Texans cut QB Matt Leinart
Texans re-sign RB Arian Foster
- Two Wide Receivers: Can you blame T.J. Yates for staring down Andre Johnson in the playoff loss to the Ravens? With Owen Daniels banged up, he had no one else to throw to. Fortunately for the Texans, Alshon Jeffery could be available at No. 26 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Drafted DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin
- Three Interior Linemen: Center Chris Myers and right guard Mike Brisiel are free agents who will need to be retained. Left guard Wade Smith is still under contract, but he was the clear weak link of the offensive line. Houston will show interest in center Peter Konz if he happens to fall to the 26th pick. Re-signed Chris Myers; drafted Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks
- Right Tackle: I can't say I understand why the Texans cut Eric Winston, but they made the move, so they now need a right tackle.
- Inside Linebacker: Houston traded DeMeco Ryans, so it'll need help at this position. Signed Bradie James; re-signed Tim Dobbins
- Nose Tackle: This is the only weakness in Houston's front seven. The team needs a new nose tackle. Players who fit Wade Phillips' scheme possibly available in the second round are Josh Chapman and Brandon Thompson. The Texans also need defensive end depth, but acquiring a new nose tackle will allow Earl Mitchell to move outside.
- Strong Safety: The Glover Quin experiment is not working. He played well at times in 2011, but was far too often exposed as a liability.
- Kicker: Neil Rackers went 32-of-38 in 2011, but he's set to hit the market in March. Houston should retain him. Drafted Randy Bullock
- Punter: Brett Hartmann wasn't particularly effective as a rookie punter this past season. Making matters worse, he tore his ACL in December. Signed Donnie Jones
- Cornerback Depth: Jason Allen, who played well this past year, is a free agent. Brandon Harris will be expected to take on a bigger role next year, but he may not be ready. This can be fixed if a new strong safety bumps Quin back out to cornerback.
2012 Houston Texans Analysis: The Texans never could hurdle Peyton Manning's Colts, but they didn't need to last year because Manning was knocked out with his neck injury. Now, Manning is no longer in the division. While seeing Wade Phillips' defense go up against Manning twice per season would have been a blast, Houston fans aren't complaining because their team is finally the one to beat in the AFC South.
That will not change in 2012. There is no team in the division that can challenge the Texans. In fact, if they can keep everyone healthy for a change, they'll be one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Projection: 12-4 (1st in AFC South)
2012 Fantasy Football Rankings
More 2012 NFL Season Previews
*** 2012 NFL DRAFT GRADES, OFFSEASON NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***