The Houston Texans did well to set up their future in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the team still has much to figure out during its first offseason program under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans. Here are four Texans players whose stock is trending either up or down:
Tank Dell, WR: The Texans drafted Dell at the request of No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud after the two became fast friends during the NFL Combine. A strong route runner with quick bursts and good hands, Dell is reportedly becoming an early go-to option for Stroud during OTAs as the two have seemingly developed chemistry right away.
Dell averaged nearly 14 yards per reception and scored 32 touchdowns in 35 games at the University of Houston. His explosiveness and big-play ability give the Texans a true downfield threat who can stretch the field, which is exactly what they lost after trading Brandin Cooks to Dallas.
Derek Stingley Jr., CB: There were some things to like about Stingley Jr.’s rookie season. He didn’t allow a touchdown in coverage and never allowed a reception longer than 34 yards, per Pro Football Focus. However, with just one interception and four forced incompletions in nine games, it always seemed like Stingley Jr. was capable of more.
Now, with a defensive-minded head coach in DeMeco Ryans, who led a top-ranked 49ers defense that tied for the NFL lead in interceptions last season, Stingley Jr. could flourish in Year 2. Reports from OTAs indicate that Stingley Jr. has improved from where he was at this time last season, showing a sharper understanding of coverage schemes and route combinations. After adding Jimmie Ward from the 49ers and Shaquill Griffin from the Jaguars, Stingley Jr. now has more help, freeing him to shadow opponents’ top perimeter WRs.
Davis Mills, QB: Although every indication points to Mills as Houston’s No. 1 quarterback for now, it’s only for now. Stroud has been turning heads during OTAs and it feels as if it’s only a matter of time before he ascends to the top of the depth chart.
KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson recently reported that teams have been calling the Texans to inquire about Mills’ availability — a telltale sign that his days in Houston could be numbered. The Texans signed Case Keenum to mentor Stroud, and with Mills also on the roster, it seems like one would eventually have to go.
Nico Collins, WR: Collins appeared to be Houston’s No. 1 receiver heading into the offseason. But then the team signed veteran Robert Woods and drafted Dell and John Metchie, the former Alabama star, started turning heads during OTAs after sitting out his rookie year while battling leukemia. Now, Collins is surrounded by competition.
Despite seeing 126 targets in his first two seasons, Collins has just 70 receptions and three touchdowns, and he has never broken the 500-yard plateau. Even on a bad Titans team last year, Woods had 53 receptions and 527 yards. It’s possible Collins could find himself third or fourth on Houston’s depth chart by the time training camp is over.