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An Early Guess At Who the Texans 2018 MVP Will Be

The Texans have a season starting in less than 100 days, and with a long training camp and season upcoming, there’s plenty of chatter as to what player might shine better than the rest as the teams Most Valuable Player.

An article out on NFL.com talks about just what player they think will be the MVP for not only the Texans, but for each team around the National Football League for 2018.

The Texans MVP – author Dan Hanzus is going with DE J.J. Watt, a very good player that he sees having a big year in Houston this upcoming season.

Here’s what Hanzus has to say about Watt this season:

When’s the last time we saw Peak J.J. Watt? You have to go all the way back to the 2015 season, when Houston’s hometown hero was putting the final touches on a four-year run of dominance that rivals that of any defensive player in NFL history. At 29, there’s still reason to believe he can be that player again after back and leg injuries wiped out most of his last two seasons. For what it’s worth, Bill O’Brien expects the MVP-level stud to be back in full force. “I would never bet against J.J Watt,” the Texans coach told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football last month. “He’s going to be back, he’s going to be at full strength, and he’s going to help us win a lot of games.” Good enough for us!

What do you think of this pick? Do you agree? Leave a comment if you disagree with what player you think will be the Texans 2018 MVP.

Video: Can Texans QB DeShaun Watson Return to Form After Knee Injury?

On CBS Sports HQ, senior NFL writer Will Brinson joins Casey Keirnan to discuss what to expect from Deshaun Watson as he returns from a season-ending knee injury.

Can the Texans Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Texans since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Texans have the third best shot to unseat the Titans for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

3. tie — Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans (4-12)

Yes, we’re entering cheat mode here — two last-placed teams for the price of one. We like the odds. Especially when we’re talking about teams that featured franchise quarterbacks who both missed more than half the season in 2017.

We’re coming up on 500 days since the last time Andrew Luck took the field for a game, and he’s still not throwing actual footballs, so it’s hard to really know where he stands. Plus, the Colts — despite adding some nice talent in the draft the past two years and being mostly competitive sans Luck last season — are very much mid-reboot. Straight up, winning the AFC South would be a stunning result for first-year head coach Frank Reich.

There’s more optimism in the short term, though, for the Texans. They were perceived contenders entering last season but mishandled Deshaun Watson prior to Week 1 before watching him go down for the season after a brilliant seven-game run. Assuming his knee is back to full strength, Watson rightfully deserves to be mentioned as one of the league’s great stars in bloom.

There weren’t too many teams that suffered more injury-wise than the Texans, who also lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus in a short span, and there’s more optimism now on both returning to form. If that happens, the front seven stands as one of the better units in the NFL, and the secondary at least looks improved on paper.

Can the Texans win the South? The emergent-power Jaguars might scoff at that idea after thoroughly dominating them twice last season, but you can’t eliminate the possibility of a heroic Watson pulling out some Year 2 magic and the Houston defense bouncing back enough to give them a shot.

Video: Can the Texans Challenge the Patriots as the Top Team in the AFC in 2018?

The Texans are looking to rebound with their franchise QB in place in 2018 along with a defense that should be healthy and better. DeAngelo Hall seems to feel they are a team that can challenge for a top spot in the AFC – here’s a video of him talking about the Texans on NFL Network.

RB Alfred Blue Coming Back to the Texans on a One-Year Deal

The Texans have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with veteran running back Alfred Blue, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports

Blue rushed for a touchdown during the Texans’ season finale loss to the Indianapolis Colts, finishing with 39 yards on 13 carries. He also caught four passes for 36 yards.

As an unrestricted free agent, he drew interest from the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants and other NFL teams.

He rushed for 262 yards and one touchdown last season after overcoming a high-ankle sprain.

In four seasons for the Texans, the 6-2, 225-pound former LSU standot has rushed for 1,908 yards and six touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 316 yards and two scores.

Texans Earn an ‘B’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Texans, who according to Kiper got an ‘B’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Houston dealt both of its top picks to the Browns — one in the trade up for Deshaun Watson on draft day last year, and the other in the salary dump for Brock Osweiler. So it’s tough for a team to hit every need without those premium picks. It helps the Texans to have two extra third-round picks — one compensatory, one from Seattle in the trade for Duane Brown last year — and I thought they got value with all three.

I wouldn’t have been shocked if safety Justin Reid (pick 68) slipped into the first round. He tested well at the combine (4.40 40 and 4.15 20-yard shuttle). And he was versatile at Stanford, playing deep safety, corner, strong safety and nickel corner. With Reid and the signing of Tyrann Mathieu, Houston has upgraded at safety this offseason. Martinas Rankin (pick 80) played left tackle in college, but he could move inside to guard or center in the NFL. The Texans have competition at all five spots.

Jordan Akins (pick 98), a former minor league baseball player, is already 26, but he could start at tight end for Houston, which lost C.J. Fiedorowicz. He played a big part of UCF’s undefeated 2017 season. The Texans got only two touchdowns out of tight ends last year. Houston grabbed another with Jordan Thomas at No. 211. His nickname “Bone Crusher” is phenomenal. Keke Coutee (pick 103) is a speedy slot receiver who can help in the return game. Defensive end Duke Ejiofor (pick 177) had 16.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

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Without first- and second-round picks, it’s tough for the Texans to do better than they did.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
3/68 Justin Reid S STANFORD
3/80 Martinas Rankin C MISSISSIPPI STATE
3/98 Jordan Akins TE UCF
4/103 Keke Coutee WR TEXAS TECH
6/177 Duke Ejiofor DE WAKE FOREST
6/211 Jordan Thomas TE MISSISSIPPI STATE
6/214 Peter Kalambayi OLB STANFORD
7/222 Jermaine Kelly CB SAN JOSÉ STATE

Texans Agree to Terms with QB-WR Joe Webb

The Texans signed versatile quarterback-wide receiver Joe Webb, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Webb, 31, played last season for the Buffalo Bills. He completed 2 of 7 passes for 35 yards and one interception.

He has also played wide receiver and special teams and has previous stints with the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills.

He has completed 90 of 159 career passes for 888 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions.

Texans Coach Bill O’Brien Feels QB Deshaun Watson Will Be Able to Protect Himself

The Texans — and the rest of the NFL — found out last season that perhaps the most impressive part of Deshaun Watson’s game was his ability to use his legs to extend plays. Now, coming off ACL surgery, Watson has to be especially smart about doing so, although head coach Bill O’Brien said he is confident in his young quarterback’s instincts to protect himself, Sarah Barshop of ESPN reports.

In six starts last season, Watson frequently made plays after the pocket collapsed and was a big part of the reason why Houston ranked 14th in the league in rushing; in seven games, Watson ran for 269 yards on 36 carries for 2 touchdowns.

Watson tore the ACL in his right leg during a practice last season on a drill in which he was simply handing the ball off to a running back — although he told ProFootballTalk this offseason that he thinks he loosened his ACL on a hit he took the Sunday prior against the Seattle Seahawks.

“He has a really good instinct for maybe gaining the 5 or 6 yards and then going down before he takes the shot,” O’Brien said. “That’s a big thing that young quarterbacks usually have a problem with. He seems to have an instinct for being able to stay out of harm’s way.”

Although Watson has good instincts to protect his body, O’Brien said the coaching staff has gone over being smart outside the pocket with the 22-year-old.

“You have to have what we call a silent alarm,” O’Brien said. “When you drop back to pass, one thousand-one, one thousand-two, like, if you’re getting into that three-second range in this league and you haven’t thrown the ball yet, I would say that you better start thinking about doing something, because they’re coming.”

“It’s hard [to coach a quarterback out of never giving up on a play],” O’Brien said. “I think, when you look at all these guys are such great competitors — if you look at [Ben] Roethlisberger and [Carson] Wentz and Andrew Luck, they don’t think that the play is ever over. So they’re going to try to keep the play alive. Same thing with Watson.

“They’re going to try to keep the play alive and they don’t think it’s ever over. They’re the ultimate competitors. So, you just have to talk to them, in my opinion the guys that I’ve dealt with like that, ‘Hey look, here’s the deal.’ Again, going back to I have a clock in my head, and when this clock reaches a certain point with the protection we’ve called, you better either think about taking off, sliding, throwing it away. You don’t need to take an unnecessary shot, but I don’t think it’s easy to coach that with every single guy.”