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Vandermeer's View: The journey begins

The long journey has already begun. Bill O'Brien making changes on his staff is just step one. When the new GM is in place, the team can complete the process of pouring through free agent and draft eligible player data so they can fortify the roster and get back on track.

The data part is notable. All teams already have detailed reports on the college players. But the Texans will have a leg up by being able to coach the Senior Bowl in a couple of weeks. It's not the game that matters so much. It's that the Texans personnel can spend five days with a boat load of draftable players, and most will not be first and second rounders.

Think about spending this much time with an athlete. Not only will they know their skill set, they'll get a close up look at their personalities and work ethic. They'll know how they deal with whatever adversity is thrown at them throughout the week.

The Texans will likely have three third round choices. There's been a lot of media talk about trading up into round two, but that's easier said than done. They do have a 2019 second round choice they acquired in the Duane Brown deal that they can use for currency. But we'll see how it goes.

Free agency will be busy. With Johnathan Joseph becoming an unrestricted free agent there's an immediate need at cornerback. Kevin Johnson missed four starts and parts of three other games, so he'll need to stay healthy. Corner and safety are two areas Houston will be looking at heavily.

The brass has to be curious as to how Derek Newton will look when he finally gets back after a long, strenuous rehab from two knee injuries. Tackle is not exactly ocean deep in free agency, but you know the Texans will be combing the NFL countryside for help. Julien Davenport will be looking for a big leap in improvement going into his second season.

Free agency and the draft might not solve all the issues but whatever haul they get, combined with some better health luck of the players they have on the roster could do enough to get them back where they projected to be last season.

Prior to free agency, they'll have the scouting combine to navigate. As opposed to the Senior Bowl, this is an even playing field of evaluation. O'Brien is always quick to point out that the interviews and medical elements might be the most important part of the event. I've heard coaches say they like watching the drills for the player interaction, as much as anything. Position group participants are competitors and teammates for a few days.

There's plenty to do before a 90-man roster can be established. These are all early steps in a long process. But they're crucial steps to get the Texans back to the top of the division and beyond.

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