The Houston Texans got some good picks from the 2023 NFL Draft. However, they still have some roster spots to fill as they enter the next phase of the offseason. Here we are going to look at three free agents whom the Texans must target after the 2023 NFL Draft.
Texans GM Nick Caserio has continued the trend of acquiring mid-tier veteran castoffs through rental deals. This has been seen in previous years. However, this year’s acquisitions for new head coach DeMeco Ryans come with potential hidden gems that could complement their upcoming first-round QB. Charismatic veteran QB Case Keenum, RB Devin Singletary, and ex-Cowboys WR Noah Brown and TE Dalton Schultz all have skills that could improve under Ryans’ leadership. Additionally, Ryans’ former 49ers pupil Jimmie Ward should serve as a culture-builder in the secondary. Their biggest acquisitions, though, came through the draft. Recall that they picked CJ Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. Both of t have the potential to be franchise-changing players.
Let’s look at three free agents the Texans must target after the draft.
1. QB Carson Wentz
With Lamar Jackson officially back with the Ravens, the quarterback position is looking pretty sparse. This leaves Wentz as the best option available in a market that has significantly dried up. Last year, Wentz completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,755 yards, throwing 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. These resulted in an 80.2 passer rating. However, he was eventually benched in favor of Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell. If Wentz is willing to accept a backup role, he would likely have a job.
It’s a unique and interesting situation because Wentz is undoubtedly talented. It was just two seasons ago when he was the primary starter for Frank Reich and the Colts. With only two weeks left to play in the regular season, the Colts had a 98 percent chance of making the playoffs before their chances disappeared. He then got traded to Washington, where he didn’t perform well enough to be the team’s primary starter. He was also not healthy enough for that role.
Now, with teams filling out their QB depth charts around the league, it’s uncertain how long he’ll have to wait for a new opportunity. Nevertheless, we’re sure Wentz will get picked up eventually. However, the question is where and for how long he’ll have to wait.
In my opinion, he’s likely to land in an NFL city without a clear-cut starting QB. He could also end up in Houston, where he could be an interesting QB2 behind CJ Stroud. Either way, Wentz should be an upgrade over Davis Mills or even Keenum as a backup.
Carson Wentz with a DIME to Trevon Diggs 🎯
— PFF (@PFF) October 2, 2022
2. OG Dalton Risner
Despite being expected to receive a contract worth $9-11 million annually after leaving the Denver Broncos, it’s surprising that Dalton Risner is still a free agent. Sure, he may not have been the Broncos’ best starting left guard. Still, he was a dependable player who rarely missed a game. However, some teams may have concerns about his outburst towards backup QB Brett Rypien during the Broncos’ Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Chargers, and whether such behavior would transfer to the starting QB.
That said, Risner’s reputation as a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee adds a layer of complexity to the situation. He has also played under different offensive schemes and coaches, including Mike Munchak and Butch Barry, which could influence his decision on where to sign.
The Texans are in need of more depth on their interior offensive line, making Risner a potential target for them.
3. EDGE Ali Gaye
The Texans made some significant moves early in the draft to rebuild their team’s foundation. They acquired Stroud, a promising quarterback of the future, with the second overall pick and then traded up to secure pass-rusher Anderson Jr. at No. 3.
Yes, Ali Gaye, a former LSU pass-rusher who signed with Houston as an undrafted free agent, may not be considered a foundational player. Still, he could still make an immediate impact and help turn around a defense that ranked 30th overall last season.
Gaye was ranked 186th on the B/R board but possesses all the necessary tools to carve out a role under new head coach DeMeco Ryans. At 6’6 and 263 pounds, he has logged 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks over the past two seasons.
With Ryans coming from the San Francisco 49ers, he understands the importance of having multiple rotational pass-rushers. While Anderson will be the star in Houston, players like Jonathan Greenard, Jerry Hughes, and rookie fourth-round pick Dylan Horton will also provide support. Gaye should have a solid chance to stick as a rotational pass-rusher and run-stuffing defensive end.