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Home / frontnfl / 2018 AFC South Roster Roundup: Houston Texans
AP Photo/Gail Burton

2018 AFC South Roster Roundup: Houston Texans


The Texans only won four games in 2017, but the future looks promising with the usual suspects on defense and Deshaun Watson leading the offense.

 

Projected Starters

 

Offense

QB: Deshaun Watson

RB: Lamar Miller
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Will Fuller
WR: Bruce Ellington
TE: Ryan Griffin
LT: Martinas Rankin
LG: Zach Fulton
C: Nick Martin
RG: Senio Kelemete
RT: Seantrel Henderson

 

Defense

DE: J.J. Watt
DT: D.J. Reader
EDGE: Jadeveon Clowney
ILB: Zach Cunningham

ILB: Benardrick McKinney
OLB: Whitney Mercilus
CB: Jonathan Joseph
CB: Kareem Jackson

CB: Aaron Colvin
S: Andre Hal
S: Tyrann Mathieu

 

Roster Notes/Thoughts

 

Notable depth

QB Brandon Weeden, RB D’Onta Foreman, RB Tyler Ervin, FB Jay Prosch, WR Braxton Miller, WR Keke Coutee, WR Sammie Coates, TE Stephen Anderson, TE Jordan Akins, OT Julie’n Davenport, DE Carlos Watkins, DE Christian Covington, DE Joel Heath, OLB Duke Ejiofor, OLB Davin Bellamy, CB Kevin Johnson, S Justin Reid

 

Biggest strength: Outside linebacker

Led by three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, the entire front for Houston is very strong, but if I had to pick one position that stands out, it’s outside linebacker. Former No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney can wreck havoc in a hybrid role where he will both stand up and put his hand in the dirt, which speaks to his versatility, and Whitney Mercilus is perhaps the most underrated pass rusher in the league when he’s healthy. The depth is unproven, though, so the stars need to stay on the field.

 

Biggest weakness: Offensive line

The Texans allowed the second-most sacks (54) in the NFL last season, and I’m not sure the moves they made in the offseason will be enough to keep Deshaun Watson upright in 2018. Houston is likely hoping third-round pick Martinas Rankin can earn the left tackle job, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete can pan out as free-agent signings, Nick Martin can stay healthy, and Seantrel Henderson will finally reach his potential—but that’s a lot of hope for a key group that needs to protect a 22-year-old franchise quarterback.

 

Position battle to watch: Running back

I think Houston should look at adding a veteran like DeMarco Murray or Adrian Peterson in the coming weeks, but they seem pretty content at the position—even with D’Onta Foreman coming off a torn Achilles. If the second-year back is healthy for training camp (a big if), he has a chance to push Lamar Miller for the starting job, but both guys will play and have their work cut out for them behind a below-average offensive line.

 

Early over/under: 9.5 wins (via Odds Shark)

Under. I love Deshaun Watson and Bill O’Brien, but I’m a little surprised that Vegas has given them the sixth-best current win total for 2018 (tied with the Falcons, Jaguars, Chargers, and Rams). Besides the offensive line, Houston has issues at running back, tight end, and depth in the defensive front. Also, teams will have tape to study on Watson after he played at a historical pace as a rookie.

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