The NFL trade deadline is approaching for the Houston Texans, and they are entering a vital stretch of the season. Sitting at 5-3 and in the playoff hunt, the Texans have the tools to make a potential run late into the season.
What is creating issues for them at the moment is the injury bug that has bitten the roster knocking out key starters like Tytus Howard, Will Fuller, Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, and Tashaun Gipson.
The most significant injury for the Texans came on Sunday in their win over the Oakland Raiders when J.J. Watt was lost for the season mid-way through the second quarter with a torn left pectoral injury.
Head Coach Bill O'Brien and his band of decision-makers have stayed aggressive since the exit of former general manager Brian Gaine. O'Brien and the company have shipped off picks and players to fill their roster with names like Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, and most recently, Gareon Conley.
Now the trade deadline is near. The Texans have some crucial needs to address, but will they?
Texans Deadline Most Critical Deadline Need, The Pass Rush
With the exit of J.J. Watt, the Texans lost their best pass rusher who accounted for over 46% of their quarterback hits. Watt led the NFL with 20 quarterback hits through eight weeks of the season.
The Texans will have to depend on the likes of Whitney Mercilus, Brennan Scarlett, Charles Omenihu, Jacob Martin, and Barkevious Mingo to provide the pass rush from the edges.
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will have to get creative with his looks, but if the Texans can find a player to add to the mix, that would be a massive help for the overall makeup for the roster.
Players Who Potentially Match
Falcons - Vic Beasley
He has been an overall disappointment for the Falcons, and O'Brien is not interested in sending picks for a rental. That is precisely what Beasley would be. The Texans are in desperation mode, especially with the absence of Watt.
Broncos - Derek Wolfe
Another final year of the deal player in Wolfe, more of an interior player, but the Texans need to find a player that can also handle Watt's absence in the run game. Wolfe could be had for cheap due to the Broncos wanting to get him off the books.
Steelers - Bud Dupree
The Texans wanted Bud Dupree during the NFL Draft in 2015 and attempted to jump back into the first round to select him. Another player in the final year of his deal, Dupree, could be a decent short term answer. The Texans could find a way to swing a draft pick back with Dupree if they find a deal that matches for the pass rushers.
Bengals - Carlos Dunlap
The Bengals continue to say they are not open for business, but Dunlap remains their best pass rusher and at the start of a reasonable contract for a pass rusher. Dunlap has averaged over 8.0 sacks a season since coming into the league in 2010. Getting to the age of 30, Dunlap could be part of the plans for the near future, too, with him at the start of his most recent contract.
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