Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio has been swift in making his mark on this roster, particularly on offense, with two linemen cut this week. Starting center Nick Martin and rotational guard Senio Kelemete were both released as of Friday, and as a result, we ask ...
How will this line look in 2021?
As it stands, linemen Brent Qvale and Roderick Johnson, who both appeared for the Texans in 2020, are also set to hit free agency.
As such, their options upfront are limited.
There will undoubtedly be additions at some point, whether they be in the shape of free agents, draftees, or both. However, there are options for Caserio and head coach David Culley.
Pro-Bowler Laremy Tunsil is a lock-in at left tackle. By a long shot their best lineman, Tunsil is arguably one of the top tackles in the NFL, and given the amount Houston has invested in him in both draft picks and cash, there is no chance he'll lose his spot.
Soon-to-be third-year lineman Scharping had a strong rookie year but a disappointing second. But with Kelemete now gone and a new offensive line coach (James Campen) in place, Scharping will hopefully be able to pick up where he left off in 2019.
Fulton is the only lineman currently on the roster who has real NFL experience at center, having played there for the Kansas City Chiefs. However, if the Texans wanted to keep Fulton at right guard, backup lineman and former New England Patriots fourth-round draft pick Hjalte Froholdt might be an option.
Also worth noting: Froholdt was drafted by none other than Caserio.
Right guard is currently occupied by Fulton, although that is now subject to change. Froholdt would also be an option here, however, starting right tackle Tytus Howard would perhaps be preferred. He's experienced in this offense and has played at guard for the Texans.
Last offseason when asked about his move to guard and back to tackle, Howard said he would be willing to line up wherever the team needs him.
"It felt pretty good playing right tackle," said Howard. "I played that more in college, but like I said when I first got here, I was going to play wherever coach wanted me to play. Is that right tackle, right guard, left guard, doesn't matter, I would just go out there and do the best I can do for us to win. That's the only thing that matters."
Howard's move to guard would also allow soon-to-be second-year tackle Charlie Heck to step in. Heck hardly appeared in 2020, but for the most part, performed well when called upon late in the year.
We aren't sure who the Texans' QB will be, as the Deshaun Watson drama lingers on. But we may soon have a clearer picture of who will be lining up to protect the QB in Houston.
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