EVERY-THING SPORTS

After the draft, here's the most likely scenario for Texans

Texans Deshaun Watson, Nick Caserio
This rebuild could take some time. Composite image by Jack Brame.
Nick Caserio is wheeling and dealing for Texans with 2 trades being reported Sunday

When an NFL team enters the offseason, the fanbase of said team has some excitement. NFL teams can rebuild fairly quickly depending on several key factors: spending wisely in free agency, drafting well and having good draft capital. Finding players that fit your scheme is a huge part of this also. That being said, the Texans didn't (couldn't) do much of this. They had little to no draft capital, didn't make wise use of it, and only spent money on low level free agents. Given the way this offseason has turned out, the best fans can hope for is mediocrity this coming season.

The Deshaun Watson saga is playing out slower than molasses flowing uphill in winter. Whether he plays this season or not, which I don't expect, this roster doesn't have enough talent to win more than five to six games at best. So who plays at quarterback in his absence? Tyrod Taylor would be the presumed starter in this scenario. They used their first draft pick, number 67 overall, to take quarterback Davis Mills. While Mills has some skills and tools, he'll need time before he's truly ready to lead a team. Taylor is best as a backup. If he's a full time starter, don't expect much. It may benefit the Texans to give Mills the keys and see what he's got. Worst case scenario, he sucks and they're drafting high next offseason. Not a bad trade off.

Wide receiver Nico Collins and tight end Brevin Jordan weren't high priority needs, but they seem like they could be good depth guys. They both have traits that could make them into players, but their ceilings aren't very high to be big time difference makers. Linebacker Garret Wallow and defensive tackle Roy Lopez aren't anything to write home about. Wallow may see time as a special teamer, but I don't see Lopez getting much playing time at all. The only one in this group I expect to get significant playing time is Collins. At 6'4, he's the team's tallest wide receiver and at 215lbs, he's almost their heaviest. A big target is a quarterback's best friend.

All this supports the fact that the Texans are in for a poor season in 2021, maybe even again in 2022. This franchise was left for dead. General manager Nick Caserio has done as well as he possibly could, outside of this draft. Trading up twice and severely overpaying was not smart. I'm hoping this isn't indicative of what's to come from him in the future with a full compliment of draft picks. While he managed the cap hell fairly well by signing bargain free agents, restructuring some deals, and cutting dead weight, he still has a ton of work to do in order to build a contender. Finding some diamonds in the rough this offseason would help, but so would picking in the top three picks in every round in next year's draft and hitting on every one of them. Here's to hoping Caserio has a better offseason next year.

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Braves beat the Astros, 6-1. Composite Getty Image.

Austin Riley had three hits, including an RBI single in a four-run ninth inning as the Atlanta Braves pulled away for a 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

Orlando Arcia and Marcell Ozuna also had RBI singles in the ninth to help break open a 2-1 game.

Adam Duvall drew a leadoff walk from Josh Hader and moved to second on a wild pitch before Arcia delivered a run-scoring single. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies singled before Riley hit his RBI single. Hader exited after striking out Matt Olson.

Ozuna added another RBI single, and Michael Harris II drove in a run with a fielder’s choice to make it 6-1.

“That was huge against one of the toughest closers in this game,” Harris said. “It gives us a lot of confidence and shows we can go up against anybody. We have belief in our bats one through nine, so it gave us a lot of confidence against a tough guy like Hader.”

After allowing four runs, Hader has a 9.39 ERA in his first season with the Astros. He signed a $95 million, five-year contract in January.

“He’s getting after it,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “He’s just missing locations, but his stuff is pretty good. Just location, behind in the count, leadoff walk, but he’s been successful for a very long time. Stuff will click.”

Alex Bregman hit an RBI single for Houston in the first, but the Braves took the lead with two runs in the second. Travis d’Arnaud scored on an errant throw by shortstop Jeremy Peña, and Albies was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Jarred Kelenic.

Atlanta rookie Darius Vines allowed one run and four hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. It was his third major league start and first appearance this season.

“Anytime I can give this team a chance to win, that’s what we are trying to do,” Vines said.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Vines’ effort was “really good.”

“Once he was out there and kind of got his sweat going and got into a rhythm, he started pitching and mixing his pitches,” Snitker said.

Aaron Bummer (1-1) got two outs in relief for the win.

Spencer Arrighetti (0-2) gave up two runs and four hits with five strikeouts over four innings. Arrighetti improved from his major league debut against the Royals last Wednesday when he was tagged for seven runs in three innings.

“There’s a lot to look back and be proud of,” Arrighetti said. “I feel like I made some good adjustments in between starts this time around. … I made some big pitches tonight in some big situations that I’m really happy about.”

Jose Altuve had three hits for the third straight game for Houston, which fell to 6-12 this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen Tuesday and if all goes well he will make his season debut this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said.

UP NEXT

Atlanta RHP Reynaldo López (1-0, 0.75 ERA) starts Tuesday against Houston RHP Hunter Brown (0-2, 16.43), who gave up nine runs in less than an inning Thursday against the Royals.

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