Who will earn the Texans starting tight end job in 2022?
With last week’s addition of O.J. Howard, the Texans have a “good problem.” We have three capable starting Tight Ends. Those being Howard, Brevin Jordan, and Pharaoh Brown. All three of those players have a strong argument towards becoming the Texans starter. And with the days to the opener numbered, here’s my take on who the Texans will end up starting.
First let’s review each player’s case to be the starter.
Let’s start with O.J. Howard. Howard was brought in last Thursday after a surprise cut from the Bills. Before joining Buffalo just a few months ago, he had spent his five year career in Tampa Bay. The place that drafted him 19th overall. In my opinion he is the best Tight End on the Texans roster. His elite size and height has proven to be dangerous in Tampa Bay and could pair well with Davis Mills’ ability to throw jump balls. However Howard was picked up a little over a week before the first game of the season. It could take time for him to adjust to the offense. Lovie Smith might want to go for a safer option at least to start. It could also take time for Howard to adjust to Mills, and the same goes for Mills adjusting to Howard. Whereas Jordan and Brown have been Texans for the entirety of Davis Mills’ time in Houston. Howard is an interesting one. His adjustment speed, and chemistry with Davis Mills will be very telling in whether he is named the week one starter.
Brevin Jordan was taken in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. So far, Brevin has looked like very solid value for where he was selected. Jordan totaled to 178 yards and 3 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He did that while being injured half the season, and in limited playing time even when he was healthy. Brevin was great and getting open and was a favorite target of Davis Mills. In 6 less games and only playing 40% of the snaps in those games. Brevin racked nearly as many catches as any other tight end on the roster. If given the opportunity to start and have a healthy season, Brevin could become a serious problem for opposing defenses. With his elite speed and route running, chemistry with Mills, and the fact that he’s coming off a strong training camp, Brevin Jordan has a good case as to why he should be the lead man for the Texans. However, Lovie Smith hasn’t been high on Brevin Jordan as the starter. At least not yet, Smith hasn’t shown interest in Brevin starting likely because of his age (22) and inexperience. Yet, if he can keep working hard in practice and games, who’s to say Jordan can’t earn himself the starting role at some point in the season.
Pharaoh Brown quite possibly could be the under the radar favorite to start, as of right now. Brown was the starter for most of last year (starting 12 out of the 15 games he played), but most Texans fans just kind of assumed that Brevin Jordan would surpass him as the starter this offseason after having a lot more production with fewer opportunities. However, this may not be the case. Lovie Smith named Brown the starter over a month ago. However I still wouldn’t consider him a lock for the position, due to him being injured for the last few weeks, and because of the arrival of O.J. Howard. The main reason Pharoah is contending for the starting job is because of his versatility. He may be the lesser receiving threat out of the three (171 yards in 15 games last year), but he is a very good blocker, something that is vital for Pep Hamilton’s run-first offense. At 6’7 258, Brown is an absolute mammoth. His size is incredibly valuable in pass blocking. Lovie Smith is clearly a fan of his blocking capabilities, and that makes him just as valid of a candidate as the other two.
Final Verdict On The Texans TE Job
I think that Pharaoh Brown will be the starter for at least the start of the 2022 season. He is Lovie’s favorite and is the longest tenured Texan Tight End on the roster. While he might not be as flashy as the other two. His ability to do the little things, like blocking, make him just as valuable. Don’t worry though, Howard and Jordan will likely see the field a lot as well. Look for the offense to feature many two Tight End sets, and look for Brevin and O.J. to have the opportunity to rack up lots of receiving yards.
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