The Houston Texans are the newest team in the NFL. Joining the league in 2002, they have had a difficult time. It took them eight seasons to get a winning record, and 10 to make the playoffs.
Last season they had a good season, winning the AFC South with a 11-5 record and taking advantage of the Jags, Colts and Titans woes. They have thrived under the quality QB play of Deshaun Watson.
What other pieces do you need to build around Watson to take this team to unseen heights?
GAPPY: The Texans have a hit and miss roster
The Texans start life in Madden rated 79 OVR. With an average rating of 77 OVR, but an strong defense on 83 OVR. They have a lot of talent in the team, with a focus on X-Factor Superstars WR Deandre Hopkins (99 OVR) and LE JJ Watt (97 OVR).
As mentioned they have good, young talent offensively, with Superstar QB Deshaun Watson (82 OVR), Star WR Will Fuller V (82 OVR) and Star HB Lamar Miller (85 OVR).
On defense, they have sensational Linebacker corps with Star LOLB Whitney Mercilus (83 OVR), Star MLB Denardrick McKinney (83 OVR) and Star MLB Zach Cunningham (77 OVR). Alongside them are the Stars in the backfield including CB Bradley Roby (78 OVR), FS Justin Reid (84 OVR) and SS Tashaun Gipson Sr (82 OVR).
So how can you improve this team to fight for a Lombardi trophy?
The big problems you should be looking to address are focused around all the Offensive Line and Defensive Tackle.
Offensive Linemen are a hole for a lot of teams but RT Matt Khalil (69 OVR, 67 run block, 75 pass block) and LT Tytus Howard (67 OVR, 70 run block, 71 pass block) will get destroyed by the strong pass rush in this division.
Equally, you won't be able to take advantage of weak offensive lines in opponents with the lack of talent at DT. They are both scheme fits but there's relatively low upside on both DTs Brandon Dunn (68 OVR, 70 power move, 67 block shed) and Albert Huggins Jr (63 OVR, 68 power move, 67 block shed).
Trying to get someone to part with offensive linemen in this market might be tough. But if you offer a lot and put importance in the position there are deals to be done.
You don't want to tie yourself into a massive contract, and there's definitely a view that OL in this years edition is about just being 'good enough' rather than needing to be a world-beater.
Dion Dawkins, Left Tackle (77 OVR)
STEADY HANDS: Dawkins is better than he looks
Best Stats: Strength (89), Awareness (85), Lead Block (82), Impact Block (81), Run Block (79), Pass Block (78)
Dion Dawkins is only normal dev, already 25 years old and nothing special. But what he lacks for in upside, he makes up for in being really really solid and also attainable.
Offensive linemen are gold dust, but Dawkins is at a level where for a decent pick a team will let him go. And in return you'll get a very good player for the next seven or eight years for a reasonable contract.
He is decent across the board. From strength (89) to Run block (79) and Pass Block (78). He is low to mid 80's across the board in all the key metrics.
Ed Oliver Jr, Defensive Tackle (79 OVR)
STUD: Oliver Jr will end up one of the best in the league
Best Stats: Strength (89), Acceleration (87), Tackle (84), Speed (81), Block Shedding (78), Power Moves (77), Play Recognition (76)
Ed Oliver Jr is an absolute stud in waiting. He has hidden Superstar Dev, and at the age of 21 he will earn loads of XP and level up quickly.
He has top-end Strength (89) and Acceleration (87) which will destroy weak offensive lines. His tackling (84) is very good, and along with block shed (78) and power moves (77) he will be racking up the sacks for his new team if you can get him at the Texans.
Free Agency Targets
These guys won’t cost you draft picks, but you’ll need some cap space to sign them.
Domata Peko Sr, Defensive Tackle (74 OVR)
RUN STUFFER: Peko will is difficult to shift
Best Stats: Play Recognition (91), Strength (90), Awareness (87), Tackle (76)
This is a mercenary pick up. There is a gap in the middle of the defense, and Peko Sr is a 325lb hole filler. Literally and figuratively. He is a monster size and will sit on the line of scrimmage and take up space and blockers for a season.
His Strength (90) is key. But Block Shed (74) could be higher and he lacks Power Moves (66). Having good play recognition (91) will make the difference for a player like this and whilst he won't set the league on fire, he will do a job.
Jermey Parnell, Right Tackle (76 OVR)
PLUG IN AND PLAY: Steady pair of hands for a season or 2
Best Stats: Strength (84), Awareness (84), Impact Block (81), Pass Block (80), Run Block (78), Lead Block (78)
This is another purely short-term gap fill. There are gaps across virtually the whole OL, but I would sign Parnell and then switch him to be a LT and guard Watson's blindside. This will give the rookie RT Tytus Howard a chance to get some snaps and much-needed XP
Parnell is a strong (85), solid vet with good awareness (84). This matters on OL, and he’s still good in the running game with Run Block (78), Pass Block (80), Lead Block (78) and Impact Block (81).
This team is going to have to protect its star player in Watson at QB. It's unglamorous and a little boring but OL, OL and more OL. There is still a need to improve Centre, Right Tackle and Left Guard.
Nailing the draft can be a big ask, as players rarely fit needly into their expected stat ranges and the AI can snipe your targets from you. Don't fear, we have all the tips & tricks for you to master drafting in Franchise Mode here.