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Is Kenyon Green Only A Guard For Texans' Offensive Line?

Although he has reps at tackle, new Texans offensive lineman Kenyon Green is best suited inside for his career in the pros

HOUSTON -- Make whatever you will of Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith's comments on the offensive line. In reality, the Texans didn't draft Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green 15th overall to transition from one position to another. 

Green shined at both right and left guard during his three seasons with the Aggies. He's going to be lining up at one of the two positions come Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Smith and Texans' general manager Nick Caserio will say what they must to keep teams guessing. Once Houston elected to pass on a pure offensive tackle with the No. 3 pick in favor of LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., the message became clear on what it think of the offensive line. 

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Barring a trade before the start of the regular season, Pro Bowl tackle Laremy Tunsil will stay on the left side. After picking up his fifth-year option, Tytus Howard is likely to start back at right tackle — a position that suited him since being drafted out of Alabama State in 2019. 

That leaves Green with the chance to play either left or right guard in the pros. In 35 games, he made 15 starts at left guard, 14 and right guard and four at both tackle positions. According to Pro Football Focus, Green took at least 80 snaps per position with his best reps coming at left guard in terms of both and run blocking and pass protection. 

It's not as if Green was simply forced inside to find a home during his time at College Station. He adapted to what Jimbo Fisher was looking for in terms of a leader in the trenches and shined. He became a two-time All-American and a consensus first-round draft pick by most scouts due to his development against pass rushers in the SEC. 

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The Texans added Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman A.J. Cann on a two-year deal in the offseason, but he's been limited to one position for the past seven years. An immediate starter in the Jags' trenches, Cann played in 96 games during his time in Duval — 91 of which were at right guard. 

A permanent move inside only benefits the Texans. Green is a proven commodity at guard and has faced some of the best young pass rushers in the sport. Howard struggled with consistency at guard last fall and Tusnil isn't shifting inside for a rookie with little-to-no experience at the position. 

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Smith will continue to call the battle for right tackle an "open competition" but it should be viewed that way between Howard, third-year pro Charlie Heck and rookie Austin Deculus. A sixth-round pick out of LSU, Deculus holds the record for most games played by an LSU alum, making 61 appearances on the offensive line — 46 of which came at right tackle. 

Green playing guard is a good thing for Houston. It stabilizes a position of need for years to come and strengthens an offensive line that allowed 40 sacks a season ago while producing the worst rushing attack in the franchise's history. 

One can listen to the outside noise if they please. In retrospect, Green was always slotted inside. That might be the best course of action in prolonging his career as well.