Texans DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo will be a big free agency decision in 2023

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo delivered in 2023.

The Alief Taylor High School product generated 44 combined tackles, 5.0 sacks, nine tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble through 17 games, eight of which he started.

According to Ari Meirov with The 33rd Team, the Houston Texans’ biggest decision to make in free agency — at least internally — will be whether or not to re-sign the former Los Angeles Rams 2018 fifth-round pick.

Okoronkwo signed a one-year deal with his hometown team last offseason after spending the first four years of his career with the Los Angeles Rams. The 27-year old finished with career-highs in tackles (44), sacks (five), pressures (36) and hurries (25). Houston has holes to fill throughout its roster, but Okoronkwo would seem to be a building block to keep around.

Of course the Texans’ choice is as obvious as a tweet image downloaded from a news release from a team’s official social media account. Nevertheless it still rings true and Houston will have to figure out what to do with Okoronkwo.

Former coach Lovie Smith used Okoronkwo as a down edge rusher in his Tampa 2 scheme. The Rams originally drafted Okoronkwo entering their second season with then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips running his patented 3-4 scheme.

What will really make the decision as to whether Houston keeps Okoronkwo or not is who they hire as their sixth full-time coach. If the Texans bring in a defensive mind — whether at the coach or coordinator level — who thinks they can get by without Okoronkwo, then that will direct what the Texans’ do in free agency.

However, Okoronkwo has experience playing as a stand-up pass rusher and a down lineman. Even in the concept of what Bill Parcells use to call “hold-the-fort” guys, Okoronkwo would adequately fill that role as the new coaching staff cultivated a young pass rusher behind him.

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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire