May 17, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) participates in rookie mini-camp at Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated Houston Texans Offseason Grade: C+

Coming off a 2-14 season, many Houston Texans fans wanted to see some change with their squad. A new staff replaced an old one, veterans were sent packing, but the Texans opted not to sign many big names.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated gave the Texans a C+ for their offseason. Here is how Burke felt about the Texans offseason. (Click here to read the whole article).

Best Acquisition – DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney

For better or worse, the selection of Clowney at No. 1 overall this year will be a defining moment in the tenure of GM Rick Smith. Clowney stood out as the top football talent in the 2014 draft for months and months, only to have his detractors point out a lack of production last season. The Texans entertained the thought of trading down from the top spot, too, before opting for Clowney over a potential franchise quarterback. Smith, coming off a 2-14 season, needs Clowney to be everything it appears he can be.

Biggest Loss – DE Antonio Smith

In Smith, though, the Texans are losing someone who has been an anchor on their defensive line since arriving in 2009. He missed but one game during that time – Week 1 last season on suspension for ripping off Richie Incognito‘s helmet and swinging it at him. Those cap issues, Smith’s age (32) and his dipping production added up to Houston allowing him to walk. The franchise will miss him, both as a reliable player up front and as a lively licker-room presence.

Underrated Draft Pick – NT Louis Nix III

Anytime the chance arrives to land a first-round talent with pick No. 83, it’s a serendipitous turn of events. If healthy (potentially a big “if”), Nix could more than make up for the loss of former starting NT Earl Mitchell in free agency. Nix has upward of 30 pounds on Mitchell, meaning he should be better suited for a gap-plugging role up front, which in turn will help create lanes for Clowney, J.J. Watt and others.

Burke did give the Texans an A- for their spectacular draft a few weeks ago, but acknowledges that the Texans didn’t answer all the questions they needed to answer with free agency and the draft.

Burke’s main concern with the Texans offseason is the fact that they didn’t make a move for a starting quarterback. Tom Savage isn’t the answer right now, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, and T.J. Yates aren’t #1 quarterbacks. O’Brien’s new style of offense will depend on who his signal caller is week one, but that may not be decided until late into August.

The Texans lost lots of depth, losing starters like Ben Tate, Antonio Smith, Earl Mitchell, Danieal Manning, and key depth like Daryl Sharpton, and Joe Mays amongst others. Though the draft will help replace some of the starters, it will be important for the young rookies to step up right away and fill the void left by the veterans.

The Texans offseason may not have been flashy with free agent signings but they feel they can be competitive with the moves they made.

Stick with House of Houston and Toro Times for all the latest on the Texans offseason and upcoming 2014 season.

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Tags: Houston Texans Sports Illustrated

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