Positives have been hard to come by for the Houston Texans this offseason - both in terms of front-office machinations and in the list-heavy media judgments of those moves.
But Houston is actually projected to to have a strength in the 2021 NFL season - and it's an important one.
Per the judgment of Seth Walder of ESPN Analytics, the list of 10 best offensive lines in the category of "pass protection'' includes your Houston Texans. Writes Walder: "The Texans look destined for a losing season, but offensive line is one of the stronger units on this roster. You’d hope so, after they mortgaged the future a few years back by trading multiple first-round picks for (Laremy) Tunsil. He and (Tytus) Howard produced higher win rates in 2019 than 2020, and the model takes both seasons into account.''
Yes, unfortunately, even the compliments are sometimes backhanded ones, as "You'd hope so'' is a bit of snark that frankly comes off as something less than "analytical.'' ... it's just more of a smart-aleck'y opinion.
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But the Texans have indeed invested upfront (with the original idea, of course, being to assemble a group that would protect prized QB Deshaun Watson, a now-wobbly plan that is certainly not the fault of Tunsil and company). And the two aforementioned tackles are not alone in being given positive grades.
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We know Max Scharping figures at left guard, and we know Justin Britt figures at center. Then comes some competition, with Howard actually in a battle to keep the right tackle job via a competition with newcomer vet Marcus Cannon. And guard Lane Taylor is in play as well.
The Texans also have a top-notch offensive line coach here in James Campen, and so if they put it all together? Well, the rebuild has to start somewhere. Short of excellence at QB, offensive line is as good a place as any to start.