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Julién Davenport Is Competing for the Right Tackle Position

The Texans’ rookie offensive tackle could start as early as this season.

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Competition. It’s on.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Julién Davenport wasn’t a project coming out of college. That was the same tired cliche given to a midround rookie pick coming from a small school. At Bucknell he showed ability as a natural pass blocker, and was great at getting to the second level. His issues were playing low, being timid in the run game, and the one big question being how quickly he would adjust to go from playing fringe D1 talent to some of the best athletes on this beautiful little sphere of ours.

According to Texans’ beat writer Aaron Wilson that adjustment is happening. And it is happening quickly. He reported that Davenport is off to a ‘good’ start, and wrote the following:

Fanning his left leg out in a compact, practiced motion, Texans rookie offensive tackle Julién Davenport stonewalled pass rushers with solid footwork and blocking skills.

It was a snapshot of his potential as the 6-7, 318-pound former Bucknell standout is making the transition to the NFL after excelling in the Patriot League.

"I like Julién," Texans coach Bill O'Brien aid. "He's a rookie, so they're all learning. It's tough in no pads. I think the true test for a lineman is when the full pads are on in camp, but so far he's smart, he works hard, he's got a good skillset for that position. So far, so good, but again the true test for lineman is when they put pads on."

Davenport is competing for playing time at right tackle while learning on the job. The Texans could use his size and strength at a position that's in flux after starting right tackle Derek Newton tore both patellar tendons last season and was ruled out for this season. Chris Clark returns as the replacement for Newton, but struggled last season.

Drafted in the fourth round, Davenport was a two-time tam captain and an All-American selection. He has 36 1/1 inch arms and an 87 1/2 inch wingspan. He scored a 34 on the Wonderlic exam.

This is wonderful news for Houston. Because of the draft class the free agent tackle market was ridiculous. They were smart not to go after players like Menelik Watson or Russell Okung, no matter how poorly Chris Clark played last year. If Davenport gets used to NFL athleticism quick enough, Houston could fill a liability with a cheap contract, all while preparing Davenport to play left tackle in the impending Duane Brownless future.

As far as offseason fluff, this is very good fluff.