Each NFL team’s needs will take shape and become clearer as free agency approaches and the Houston Texans will have some decisions to make concerning their tight end group. The franchise is entering the 2017 offseason with three tight ends under contract: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Stephen Anderson and Rashaun Allen. Ryan Griffin is preparing to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The Texans tight end group experienced a noticeable jump in 2016 after being stagnant since the departure of Owen Daniels in 2012. 2016 saw the first time in four seasons that a tight end exceeded 50 receptions in four seasons for the Texans.
For the first time in franchise history, the Texans had two tight ends with 50 receptions in the same season. C.J. Fiedorowicz saw the light flip on as he caught 54 passes for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Ryan Griffin was able to stay healthy, appear in all 16 games, and posted career highs with 50 receptions for 442 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It all looks good on paper but one glaring issue that shows up with the position group is the lack of big play ability, as they only average 9.51 yards a reception as a group.
Compare where both Griffin and Fiedorowicz rank in the NFL in big play receptions among tight ends across the NFL
Griffin and Fiedorowicz both rank in the bottom of the NFL with receptions over 25+ yards. Griffin’s long on the season was 45 while Fiedorowicz only had a long of 26.
If the Texans are fine with that production, that is one thing, but to continue to elevate the performance of the offense, the unit is going to need bigger plays from their tight end group. Some will point at the quarterbacks the Texans put on the field as a contributing factor, which is partially true. When players like Gary Barnridge (Cleveland) and Zach Miller (Chicago) rank higher on the list with similar quarterback issues, the overall ability of the tight end group comes into question.
With the Texans tight end group having only 1.7% of their pass receptions go for over 25+ yards a reception, that is a potential red flag. It could be a reason why the Texans worked hard at the collegiate post season games of the East West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, talking to tight ends to gain a better feel for the group heading into the NFL Draft. (Read More Here)
The Texans more than likely have two spots filled with Fiedorowicz and Anderson for the upcoming season but, with the lack of big play ability, the team could lean toward finding another player who can give them that ability so the position group can take the next step.
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