Texans vs. Patriots: Lack of Depth at WR Will Continue to Hinder Houston

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

The Houston Texans need an upgrade over Kevin Walter
The Houston Texans need an upgrade over Kevin WalterJim Rogash/Getty Images

Until the Houston Texans get another receiver, they will continue to struggle in the postseason.

Andre Johnson is without a doubt one of the best receivers in the NFL. After him, there is a steep drop-off in terms of the talent gap.

Johnson led the Texans with 112 receptions for 1,598 yards. Second behind him was Owen Daniels, who is a tight end. The next closest receiver, Kevin Walter had 70 fewer receptions and 1,000 fewer yards.

There can't be that kind of disparity between first and second options in the passing attack. Somehow, the team finished with the 11th-best offense through the air in the league.

Matt Schaub is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Whether through free agency or the draft, Houston must address the wide receiver position this offseason.

In terms of receivers who are free agents at the end of the season, the Texans could make a move for Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Danny Amendola or Brian Hartline.

Houston could also be looking at Robert Woods, Tavon Austin, Keenan Allen or Cordarrelle Patterson in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Texans are in a similar position the Atlanta Falcons were in 2010. The Falcons had Roddy White, who was an elite receiver. Behind him, though, were the likes of Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas and Brian Finneran.

Atlanta's management recognized the need to provide Matt Ryan another big target, so it gave up five picks to move into the top 10 to draft Julio Jones last season.

Jones has been stellar in his first two seasons, making 133 receptions for 2,157 yards and 18 touchdowns.

As a result of having Jones and White together, Ryan set career-highs almost across the board in 2012.

The Falcons went from having the 15th-best passing offense in 2010, to eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2012.

Right now, opposing secondaries can key in on Johnson and know that the Houston offense can have a hard time. Defenses will make Daniels, Walter, Garrett Graham and James Casey try and beat them.

In today's NFL, it's almost impossible to succeed without having an elite air attack. The league's continuing rule changes are making it easier and easier for quarterbacks to carve up opposing defenses.

Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the league, but he's not enough to get the Texans to the Super Bowl.

Adrian Peterson ran for over 2,000 yards, and the Minnesota Vikings just narrowly made the playoffs. Christian Ponder wasn't reliable enough for the Vikings.

Schaub, Johnson and Foster are some of the best players at their respective positions, but the Texans don't have enough offensively to be able to make that deep run in the postseason.