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Value of Things: Houston Texans Roster Jigsaw— Offensive Line

How good can the Texans offensive line be in 2023?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans offensive line was probably the most underrated position group on the team in 2022. Texans fans and pundits could be suffering from their own version of post-traumatic stress disorder. The default is to assume that the line sucks. Watching a rookie number one overall quarterback get sacked more than 70 times in a season will do that.

There were certainly some weak spots, but there were also some extreme bright spots as well. The Texans may have the best starting tackle tandem in the league. They’ve certainly added some players through trade, free agency, and the draft. With a new offensive system (or an actual offensive system) coming, it remains to be seen how good this unit can be.

We will look at all of the players currently on the 90 man roster in advance of training camp. Granted, a full one third of these guys won’t make it to September. A few others will be on the practice squad and not on the final 53 man roster. We will use their PFF scores from last year whether they be college numbers for the rookies or grades for the existing players. A few did not take any snaps, but we will include any relevant information we can.

PFF Scores of 80 or above— Perennial Pro Bowl player or College All-American

PFF Scores 70-79— A solid college or pro starter

PFF Scores 60-69— Somewhere between Rotational player and solid starter

PFF Scores Below 60— Rostered player or special teams performer

Veteran Offensive Linemen

Shaq Mason— Right Guard, 68.2 PFF, 1282 snaps

The Bucs had a better offense than the Texans, so he was on the field a lot more than anyone in Houston. The Texans signed him to a three-year extension, so they hope he can be a long-term option. He has spent most of his career north of 70, so hopefully Bobby Slowik and the offensive staff can get a little more out of him than what he did last year. He is still considerably better than A.J. Cann.

Laremy Tunsil— Left Tackle, 80.0 PFF, 1061 snaps

He is the highest paid tackle in the business, but it was still a pretty good deal for the Texans. While Stroud is cheap they get a perennial Pro Bowl left tackle. He has been an elite pass protector for years, but physical run blocking is not his thing. If they take advantage of his athleticism then he could be even better.

Tytus Howard— Right Tackle, 67.9 PFF, 997 snaps

Actually keeping Howard in one spot for back to back seasons could unlock another level of performance. If he produces another solid season he becomes the next extension candidate. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they locked him up before the season. He will be an interesting player to watch.

Scott Quessenberry— Center, 36.6 PFF, 990 snaps

As much as I would like to bag on Quessenberry and go full on snark, none of this was really his fault. He was supposed to be depth and he ended up getting thrust into the regular lineup because Justin Britt did what he did. He has experience, but he really needs to get beaten out. Hopefully, one of their many centers will beat him out.

Kenyon Green— Left Guard, 37.7 PFF, 823 snaps

There are two possibilities with Green. Either he just wasn’t ready for prime time and performed horribly or he was misused by the previous coaching staff. Either way, he is one of the more important players on the roster. They have guys that could take the spot, but their line can be one of the best in the league if he somehow lived up to his potential.

Greg Little— Offensive Tackle, 35.1 PFF, 533 snaps

He has been a swing tackle for the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins. He missed the 2021 season and the rust apparently showed. This would have been a guy they would have hoped would somehow be a starter. In this case, he is competing with Charlie Heck to be the swing tackle. If he doesn’t cut the mustard he can easily be cut.

Charlie Heck— Offensive Tackle, 55.7 PFF, 162 snaps

Heck is going into the last season of his rookie deal. He has been decent enough, but he just hasn’t taken the next step. They brought in Greg Little to compete with him and both are at the same point in their careers. Sometimes, desperation can push someone to be their best selves. Let’s see.

Jimmy Morrissey— Center/Guard, 54.4 PFF, 57 snaps

He’s a guy. I have nothing against Morrissey, but we all hope that he gets beat out for the job. It’s good to have guys like him around in camp. He makes it to where the rookies actually have to do something to earn their spot.

Austin Deculus— Tackle, No grade, No snaps

He was drafted in the sixth round and never saw the field for an offensive snap. He did so some special teams work, so that could be his future yet again. Sixth round picks aren’t expected to do much.

Michael Deiter— Center/Guard, No grade, No snaps

He has 23 starts in his career, so he is a realistic option for the center position if neither of the rookies pan out. Simply put, he is here to provide realistic competition for the two draftees.

Rookie Offensive Lineman

Juice Scruggs— Center Guard, 71.5 PFF, 886 snaps

Scruggs was the second round choice. It seemed like a forced pick given the position and his overall draft grade, but this is where we have to trust Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans. Maybe he fits their system better. Fortunately, he has to earn the starting job.

Jarrett Patterson— Center/Guard, 70.5 PFF, 827 snaps

Patterson also has a ton of experience at both center and guard. He will compete for the starting job. It’s possible that both Scruggs and Patterson could start if Kenyon Green is a bust.

Dylan Deatherage— Tackle, 62.4 PFF, 824 snaps

He has the coolest name for any lineman in the league. Beyond that I couldn’t tell much. He played for Western Michagan. PFF grades aren’t necessarily gospel, but he is a long shot to make the roster.

Kilian Zierer— Tackel, 61.6 PFF, 813 snaps

Despite the grade, Zierer has a better chance of making the roster and Deatherage. He plays better in a zone blocking scheme and playing at Auburn means he played against better pass rushers than Deatherage.

Tyler Beach— Guard/Tackle, 71.2 PFF, 499 snaps

He played guard and tackle at Wisconsin, He performed well, but was not a starter at either position full-time. He is a good camp body that could potentially sneak onto the roster if he plays good enough.

The Final Verdict

The Texans line has the possibility of being one of their strongest units. If Kenyon Green becomes even a solid left guard they will be a top ten offensive line in the league. Even without him being good they could still be average. It is probably difficult for a lot of shell shocked Texans fans to accept, but it is the ultimate truth.