The Houston Texans invest a lot of resources in the offensive line. Considering a line's importance, be it to protect your highly paid quarterback or open holes for running backs, that's not a stunning statement, and it's not stunning to see how many offensive linemen Houston has acquired over the years.
For the sixth time in franchise draft history, Houston selected multiple offensive linemen. We've already talked about the Tar Heel, Brennan Williams, but now we get to look at San Jose State's David Quessenberry, who could be the steal of this draft class. For those that doubt that, look at the comparison to Doug Free or the projected third round grade. It's no wonder the Texans traded up to grab him, but now we get to find out for ourselves why.
There clips are game footage of Quessenberry against BYU, and you can see him work in David Fales (remember that name) footage. The real buy-in to Quessenberry came at the Senior Bowl. Let's take a look.
You can read about Quessenberry being a bit light, at 302 pounds, or weak, with 25 reps at the NFL Combine, or maybe not the most gifted athlete. As a coach of mine used to say, you don't need to be the strongest or fastest to block.
Quessenberry has long arms, left tackle length arms, and knows how to use them. You'll also notice, if you've an eye for it, a wider-than-normal stance, which helps him establish a stable, strong base to help with his leverage. Powerful Brandon Williams? Down. Athletic freak Margus Hunt? Blocked. Violent, physical Datone Jones? Shut down. Watch the practices for that blue helmet on the line and you see him keep at it.
Yes, Quessenberry struggles a bit at the second level, probably since he has to give up his wide stance on the move, but he gets there quickly and is such a technician. He takes good angles, understands where he needs to put himself, and is always in the way of a defender. At the very least, all you need to do is get in the way. You see that time and again against top competition at the Senior Bowl. Small school guys either look the part or not, and Quessenberry does, even despite some flaws.
We all know how good strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith is; between him and offensive line coach John Benton, I know they'll add some muscle to Quessenberry and get him to be a more flexible athlete in the knees, increasing his fluidity. It's not difficult either. They'll also probably polish him up so he doesn't waste steps on the move, which is why he looks off balance at times. Quessenberry is, surprise, a former tight end. He's added 60 pounds over his time as a Spartan and is still growing into his frame and adjusting to his size. Quessenberry also struggled with his footwork at right tackle during the Senior Bowl, so I don't know if he's as versatile as some believe him to be.
I ultimately see Quessenberry as a gameday inactive for most of this 2013 season, barring injury. Ben Jones should be the top guard/center reserve and Ryan Harris or Brennan Williams should be the top tackle reserve. With only 46 active spots on game day, there's only so many for offensive linemen. That's fine though. Quessenberry should focus on building a professional body and refining his technique.
2014 is where Quessenberry should begin to make his impact. If Houston feels he's progressing nicely, I can see them letting 32-year-old Pro Bowl guard Wade Smith's contract expire and penciling in Quessenberry as a starting guard with, presumably, Brandon Brooks. That's what the Texans do on the line: they keep young talent at the ready and move them up the chain. A potential multi-year starter from a sixth round pick? Tremendous value pick that could be the steal of the NFL Draft. Even if Quessenberry remains the top swing reserve lineman, that's still good value. It's a smart investment by the Texans, who seem to have their line set for the next five or so years.
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Battle Red Blog on the 2013 Houston Texans Rookies: Film Room: Breaking Down First Round Pick DeAndre Hopkins | Looking At New Texans Safety D.J. Swearinger | Scouting OT Brennan Williams | Collin Klein To Get A Shot At Quarterback | A Better Look At WR Alan Bonner | Looking At TE Ryan Griffin | Scouting Trevardo Williams | Is Chris Jones The Answer At Nose Tackle?
From Around The Network: Shakin' The Southland (Clemson) on DeAndre Hopkins | Garnet & Black Attack (South Carolina) on D.J. Swearinger | Hustle Belt (Mid-American Conference a.k.a. #MACtion) on Chris Jones | Hustle Belt on Chris Jones, Houston Texan