As the Houston Texans' training camp draws nearer, TexansDaily.com will dive into each position group looking at the sure things, battles to watch, and potential sleepers to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.
This time, it's the offensive line.
READ MORE: Who Can Replace Watt For Texans D-Line?
Left tackle Laremy Tunsil is one of a handful of players on this roster guaranteed to start. One of the top pass protectors in the NFL, he's arguably Houston's most valuable player outside of Deshaun Watson.
In two years with Houston, he's made the Pro Bowl twice and been the saving grace of this offensive line. He's also allowed just five sacks.
Tytus Howard should be equally safe as a starter. At right tackle? Let's wait on that.
The 25-year-old was a first-round pick by the Texans in 2019 and hasn't disappointed. A PFWA All-Rookie selection, Howard has established himself as a potential rising tackle prospect in years to come.
Interior spots along the line is where things get a little hazy and there's high probability all three starters will be new.
The only player who could return to start in 2021 is Max Scharping. Scharping, 24, was selected in 2019 and had a strong rookie year overall at the left guard spot. Last season was rocky, with the NIU alum benched for veteran Senio Kelemete for some of the season.
However, with a new offensive line coach (James Campen) now on the staff, Scharping has the perfect opportunity to bounce back and get off to a fresh start.
His biggest competition will be former Green Bay Packers starter Lane Taylor.
Having worked under Campen while in Green Bay, Taylor could be seen as the favorite to start at the position. With 79 career starts under his belt, his experience may not be a concern, but his injury history is.
Taylor, 31, has spent the majority of the last two seasons on injured reserve. The biggest roadblock between Taylor and the starting gig is arguably his own body as much as Scharping.
At center, there will be a fresh face.
First-year general manager Nick Caserio released former starter Nick Martin this offseason as part of his overhaul. In his place, Houston now has former Seahawk Justin Britt.
Britt was a full-time starter for Seattle for six years until an ACL tear forced him to miss the last eight games in 2019. Subsequently, he sat out of the entirety of last season.
Texans Camp Notebook: QB Update, Free-Agent Workouts & Injury News
Houston Texans practice notes from Thursday at training camp - everything you need to know
Want To Buy The Texans? Here's How Much You Need
Forbes released its NFL team valuations today.
Texans Coach Kelly Scouting Report on Trade Pick-Up Anthony Miller
Houston Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has plenty of praise for newly acquired wide receiver Anthony Miller
Injuries are arguably the only barrier he has preventing him from starting the season. Britt is by far their most experienced center which makes it hard not to see him starting in 2021.
Former Patriots starter Marcus Cannon should start somewhere. Both he and Howard are primarily tackles. As such, there has been much debate as to which will start where.
It really could go either way at this point, but both should be the starters on the right side.
Cannon or Howard will be replacing Zach Fulton. The other will be at right tackle.
Houston's line should be far more solid than last year if Campen can find the right combo as his starting five.
Roderick Johnson has been solid as Houston's swing tackle the past two seasons and is often overlooked. He stepped in for Tunsil when necessary last season, and deserves first reps to retain this spot.
Houston did bring in former Washington Football Team starter Geron Christian. He started the first six games of the season last season before injury ruled him out.
One of the two will likely remain and the other could be cut.
At the interior spots, there are new faces. Justin McCray and Hjalte Froholdt both have NFL experience in some capacity. Former Texas A&M offensive tackle Carson Green could be a surprise when asked to move inside.
Behind Britt at center are former Chargers backup Cole Toner and undrafted free agent Ryan McCollum from Texas A&M. Toner has experience with Campen in LA, while McCollum started all 10 games for the Aggies last year.
Houston also has last year's fourth-round pick, Charlie Heck. The North Carolina alum performed surprisingly well when called upon late after being inactive for most of the year.
Jordan Steckler, an undrafted free agent who spent last season with the New Orleans and New England, seems a long shot to make the final roster.
He may have barely featured in 2020, but when he got his chance, Heck made the most of it. The Tar Heel was far from perfect, but he showed enough potential that it wouldn't be a shocker to see his role expand come September.
CONTINUE READING: Former Texans RB Tries Out For Giants: NFL Tracker