Despite sinking essentially four high round draft picks into the offensive line in 2019 with the acquisition of Laremy Tunsil via a trade with the Miami Dolphins, and drafting Tytus Howard and Max Scharping, the Texans’ offensive line still ranked 22nd according to Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards in 2019.
Tunsil led the lead in offensive line penalties with 17. Ten of Tunsil’s penalties occurred at NRG Stadium. Overall, they cost Houston 90 yards that killed multiple drives.
On the plus side, Deshaun Watson only endured 44 sacks during the regular season (though there were 11 more in the two postseason games in which the Texans played). That’s an improvement over the mind-boggling 62 sacks DW4 took in 2018. Still near the bottom of the barrel, but not actually touching that bottom. With that in mind, Houston can’t afford to stand pat on the OL this offseason unless they want to see Watson’s career cut short due to too many hits.
The season ended with Tunsil, Zach Fulton, Nick Martin, Scharping and Chris Clark as the starting offensive line. Per Kenneth’s sack tracker, those five guys gave up 19 combined sacks—Chris Clark allowed four in the short time he was on the field filling in for the injured Tytus Howard and splitting snaps with Roderick Johnson.
If Houston wants to continue to upgrade its offense, the line is the only place left that needs major improvement.
With players like Joe Thuney, Brandon Scherff, Jack Conklin and Bryan Bulaga potentially out there in free agency, the Texans can improve their offensive line without having to draft players. Which is good, because premium draft picks are something the Texans simply don’t have in 2020 and 2021.
Which position on the offensive line do you think Houston should focus on upgrading immediately? Which offensive lineman, if any, do you want the Texans to land in free agency?