The Houston Texans definitely had a forgettable 2022-23 season. They won just three games and still managed to miss getting the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. How crazy is that, right? Despite the fact that the start of free agency is still a few weeks away, it is likely that general manager Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans have already begun compiling a list of potential targets. Simply told, the Texans need a ton more depth and support on both sides of the ball. Here we’ll look at five sneaky good NFL free agents whom the Texans must consider signing in the 2023 offseason.

The Texans have been struggling in the NFL for quite some time now. However, they do have a chance to change their fortunes this offseason with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and over $40 million in cap space. We expect them to target a new starting quarterback from the talented pool of QBs in the draft. They also have the opportunity to sign big names in free agency. Despite their recent struggles, there are several free agents that make sense for the Texans. Coach Ryans surely has a lot of names on his wish list as the Texans rebuild.

Let’s look at five sneaky good free agents whom the Texans must sign in the offseason.

5. WR Mecole Hardman

At just 24 years old, Mecole Hardman’s best football should still be ahead of him. Remember that this second-round pick for the Kansas City Chiefs is known for his exceptional downfield speed. By bringing Hardman into their team, the Texans could add a dimension to their offense that has been absent since Will Fuller’s departure in 2020. Yes, Hardman has yet to surpass 700 yards receiving in his four years in the league and will need to work on consistency. Still, the potential benefits of taking a chance on him may outweigh the risks.

4. LB Arden Key

The Texans had one of the league’s worst defenses this past season. In fact, they ranked 30th in total defense and 20th in sacks. Meanwhile, Arden Key of the Jaguars managed to make 4.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits despite playing only 41 percent of the team’s snaps. He has had back-to-back solid seasons. He even recorded 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits with the 49ers in the previous year while playing just 35 percent of the snaps.

Looking ahead, the Texans are in dire need of edge rushers, and Key could be the answer. With Key’s success in short stints, the Texans could give him a larger role and hope he continues to grow. At 27 years old, Key is entering his prime, and the Texans could take a chance on him. If he earns a bigger role, Houston might unearth a diamond in the rough.

3. G Ben Powers

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Laremy Tunsil is one of the best left tackles in the NFL, and the Texans invested a first-round pick in Tytus Howard for the right side. However, the interior of their offensive line needs improvement as it finished 26th by PFF and was the worst at generating yards before contact for their rushing attack. AJ Cann had a decent PFF grade, but Kenyon Green and Scott Quessenbery did not perform well.

Enter Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Powers. He had a breakout season in 2022, playing 100 percent of the snaps and starting every game. He also allowed just one quarterback hit and no sacks and received an 86.5 pass-blocking grade from PFF. That’s the second-highest in the league. At 26 years old, Powers could provide leadership for the Texans’ offensive line, filling a significant gap. While not a flashy signing, Powers would be a really smart and solid one for Houston.

2. WR Jakobi Meyers

The Texans need consistent pass catchers for whoever their new quarterback will be. That’s where Jakobi Meyers comes in. He has been a reliable target for the New England Patriots, catching 235 passes for 2,758 yards and eight touchdowns over the past three seasons.

Remember also that while the Texans have promising young wide receivers in Nico Collins and John Metchie III, veteran Brandin Cooks requested a trade. Meyers, who has ties to Houston’s GM Nick Caserio from their time in New England, would give the Texans a dependable slot receiver and leadership for their young wide receiver group.

1. LB Tremaine Edmunds

Houston’s focus on improving the secondary and minor improvements up front left their linebackers with the lowest cumulative grade in 2022. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s Tremaine Edmunds had a breakout season in 2022. He made plays all over the field and utilized his athletic tools to their full potential. As an off-ball linebacker, Edmunds has made 121 run defense stops over five NFL seasons, placing him 10th among players in his position. His growth as a coverage player was the biggest question mark, but in 2022 he allowed just 0.69 yards per coverage snap. That ranks seventh among off-ball linebackers. Edmunds also received a 90.2 coverage grade, tying for the top mark at his position. That shows his potential for further improvement. The Texans should get on him and fast.