NFL.com lists 3 areas Texans must address in free agency

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Mark Lane
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The Houston Texans finished 2020 4-12, and coach and general manager Bill O’Brien lost his job four games in. The Texans lost their final five games and hired new general manager Nick Caserio and coach David Culley.

With a lack of draft picks, chiefly their first and second-round picks in this year’s draft, along with about $17.7 million in projected salary cap space, the turnaround may not be quick for Houston in 2021. However, they still need to plug holes on their roster.

According to Adam Maya of NFL.com, the Texans’ three biggest needs that require solutions via free agency are offensive line, pass rusher, and cornerback.

Just because the Texans can trot out the same starters on the offensive line doesn’t mean they should. The flak Deshaun Watson catches for holding onto the ball and taking too many sacks is deserved. But that’s basically an offshoot of how bad things are up front. There’s a noticeable void at wide receiver since Houston opted not to tag Will Fuller, but new GM Nick Caserio will likely address that in the draft. Houston’s pass rush needs revamping, with J.J. Watt gone, Carlos Watkins an undrafted free agent and Whitney Mercilus a potential cut candidate. The next two levels of the defense aren’t in great shape, either. Cornerback was a major issue last year and has at least two vacancies.

Cornerback will be an issue through the first game of the season as starter Bradley Roby will serve the final game of his six-game suspension handed down with five games to go in the 2020 campaign. Houston is also losing veterans in Gareon Conley, Vernon Hargreaves, and Phillip Gaines. The Texans still have cornerbacks on the roster in Keion Crossen, John Reid, and Lonnie Johnson, who played more safety in 2020, but could use another quality starter opposite of Roby.

The Texans are converting to the Tampa-2 scheme with a 4-3 front under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. The makeup of the defensive line was destined to change regardless of production and personnel from a year ago.