Part 28 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise.
The Houston Texans had another up and down season. It has been that way every off-season for them but after finishing 8-8, there is room for optimism for this franchise.
I’m not ready to say they’re on the verge of being a playoff contender. The expectations will be higher than a .500 record for the first time in franchise history. The Texans face a huge uphill battle as the AFC South placed three teams in the playoffs and all three had double digit win seasons.
The Texans only division win came against a Jaguars team resting starters in the season-finale.
It is not out of the question for the team and its fans to have high hopes but to meet expectations won’t come easy. After two seasons under Coach Gary Kubiak, the Texans are a better team they haven’t actually “arrived” yet. Going into free agency & the draft, the Texans needs are CB, DE, RB, LT, Safety and Outside Linebacker.
The Texans as a team rushed for 99.1 yards per game.
· Ron Dayne: 5’ 10” 245 lbs, 194 Att, 773 Yards, 4.0 YPC Avg, 6 TD’s
· Ahman Green: 6’ 0” 218 lbs, 70 Att, 260 Yards, 3.7 YPC Avg, 2 TD’s
· Darius Walker: 5’ 10” 212 lbs, 58 Att, 264 Yards, 4.6 YPC Avg, 1 TD
· Adimchinobe Echemandu: 5’ 10 225 lbs, 20 Att, 85 Yards, 4.2 YPC Avg.
· Arliss Beach: 5’ 10” 219 lbs, rookie free agent from Kentucky
· Chris Taylor: 6’ 0” 224 lbs. Season-Ending knee injury in Training Camp
After using a committee of runners in 2006, Ahman Green was brought in as a free agent pick up to be the starter. However, Green’s first season in Houston was a disappointment.
The Texans gambled on the 30-year-old legs of Ahman Green & lost.
The Texans had to go back to the committee again when Green injured his knee in the first game and tried to play through the pain. That didn’t work in six games; he never was healthy enough to play in the fourth quarter.
The team then leaned on Ron Dayne, who had the best season of his career until injuries slowed him down.
That opened the door for Walker, who spent much of the season on the practice squad. He moved into the starting lineup and earned himself a serious look from the coaching staff. Adimchinobe Echemandu has been signed by the Raiders. In free agency the Texans signed Chris Brown the former Titan.
The Texans will draft a running back this draft and a good fit in the 1st round would be Rashard Mendenhall. Later in the draft, Jamaal Charles, Steve Slaton could be good running back targets. If the decision is to draft a DE in the 1st round possible targets are Calais Campbell & Lawrence Jackson.
The Texans have to find a LT and good targets are Chris Williams, Pedro Sosa, and Oneil Cousins. The perception is that the Texans need a starter opposite Dunta Robinson however 4th round pick Fred Bennett has emerged as the starter and he has a knack for picking off passes.
The corner need is more for depth at the position and can be addressed later in the draft.
The question for the Texans: The Texans can go after filling several needs in this draft but which direction will the Texans go in the 1st round? LT, RB or Safety?