There are many questions yet to be answered regarding the Houston Texans’ offensive line in 2018, but none greater than who will start at left tackle when the NFL regular season begins in September.
I put this question to the BRB staff, and here’s how it all went down:
While Julién Davenport is the chalk pick here, I don’t want to rule out the possibility - albeit a longshot - that the Texans could trot out a third round rookie or a higher pick they package up and trade for. You can get starters in the third round, and currently the Texans have three swings in that round. Of course we haven’t got the slightest clue what Brian Gaine is as a GM (but in the middle rounds, can he really be worse than Rick Smith?) I realize all the hurdles to overcome for that scenario to play out (and be effective).
Gun to my head, it’s Davenport protecting Deshaun Watson’s blind side in Week One.
Based on what we’ve done, and not done, so far in free agency, I think it’ll be Julie’n Davenport. Certainly, Matt Weston’s season review of Davenport doesn’t hurt, either.
Between what we might draft and might pick up off the wire, I don’t think there will be a better option available. At this point, I feel like we’re all in on Davenport, and that may not be a bad thing.
Titan Matt Weston, Slanderer of “Blade Runner” and a Huge Fan of the Texas Rangers:
Davenport should get first dibs. He is 100% a left tackle. He’s long, a natural kick slider, and has good feet. Last year was nice for him. He got to get accustomed to the speed of the game a bit without the burden of it actually mattering. If Davenport gets strong enough this summer, he will be a competent left tackle.
I’m more concerned about right tackle. There’s no way they can go into this season expecting Seantrel Henderson as the starter. He was bad when he played in Buffalo. All he can do is kick slide with pretty decent feet; overall, he was devoured by inside rushes and bull rushes. He couldn’t do anything in the run game. That was when he played. He’s played less than 100 snaps the last two years.
Derek Newton is no longer a Texan. Kendall Lamm is the worst tackle I’ve ever seen. David Quessenberry could possibly be a sixth tackle, but who knows what you could get out of him on every down?
Hopefully, Houston picks up another player who could start at right tackle, or even left, this summer if Davenport doesn’t get those gains.
Davenport gets first crack, with random rookie also getting a shot at it.
All signs point to Davenport handling the starting reps when training camp begins. I do not think his play has made him deserving of the title; I think it is more that there is no one else worth bring in at this moment. Either because the salary hit would overvalue the player or because the Texans lack a draft choice high enough to immediately unseat Davenport, Davenport seems to be my only answer.
I do not think the Texans have the capital to trade for a tackle, unless one of our DBs and future picks are enticing enough for a team to relinquish a LT. From where we are drafting, the only two tackles on the board who could possibly be available that I can see starting Week One are Orlando Brown from Oklahoma and Tyrell Crosby from Oregon. They both have the experience and nastiness to compete at the NFL level. If yet another unknown Texans player can hold down the right tackle position, I could see Seantrel Henderson rotating in... but the guy has barely played the last two years.
Gonna go with the flow and echo Julie’n Davenport. While I don’t think he’s anywhere near Duane Brown, he’s closer to that than he is to Jeff Allen, and he’s less raw than most of the rookies that should be available when Houston steps to the mic on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft.
My major concern is how fast the starting five linemen can get together and start gelling. Continuity means more to this unit than any other on the team. If Nick Martin doesn’t know the tendencies of the men to either side of him, it diminishes his effectiveness. Same with both guard positions. And if Deshaun Watson doesn’t know what to expect from his line, he’ll be less effective as well.
Really hope they aren’t done bringing in OL talent, but don’t think they can wait past the draft to get a starter at this point.
I’m not a good judge of offensive line talent, but I’m guessing Davenport will start based on where things stand today.
I think it was a mistake not to pursue Nate Solder more aggressively, because the Texans greatly lack draft stock this year. I’m fine with the draft situation, though. In essence, Houston has Deshaun Watson from the first round pick this year, and Tyrann Mathieu from the cap money freed up by ejecting [Name Redacted] to Cleveland along with this year’s second round pick.
There should still be some quality tackles in the third round, and there’s always an opportunity to trade up late into the second round if the Texans really like a guy.
BRB has “alignment” on this issue, clearly. What are your thoughts? What about giving Jeff Allen a shot at tackle? Or the newly acquired and versatile Senio Kelemete?
Give us your thoughts in the comments section, and best of luck getting through yet another painfully football-free weekend.