April 24, 2014

2013 Texans’ Offensive Line Outlook

Chris Myers

There should be little change in 2013 with the entire group back from last season. Only one position is needed to be decided for the season.

 

Offensive Line

 

 

Duane Brown

Duane Brown

Duane Brown

Had a minor surgery at the end of OTAs to take out a bone spur but he should be ready for training camp. Brown is a top-notch left tackle and is the back bone of the Texans’ offensive line. He can pass protect and run block with the best of them and he is coming into his own as a player. He has slimmed down for the upcoming season. Dropping to 300 lbs., he feels he can move better. The sky is the limit for the 6th year pro and he is hitting his prime years in the NFL.

Outlook: One of the best in the NFL at left tackle, Brown is what you want from that position.

 

 

Wade Smith

Considered a down season last year, Smith did have his struggles in 2012 after a great 2011 season. Smith is another piece of the Texans offense that is underrated and he has been a stabilizing piece at left guard. Surrounded by two pro bowlers is a testament to the player Smith is. In the zone scheme, he helps Myers and Brown in the running game. This year is a big season in his final year of his contract.

Outlook: The Texans need to ride out his last year of his contract and let him get back to his solid play at left guard.

 

Chris Myers

One of the best centers in the game and he gets lost with the talent around him. Myers runs the show at center, is seasoned and controls blocking schemes before each play. He is another leader on the Texans that goes unnoticed but has been one of the more consistent players the past three seasons. It will be the usual work at the office for Myers and there should be better continuity for him with the right guard this season.

Outlook: The two-time Pro Bowler should continue his high level of play.

 

 

Brandon Brooks, #79,

Brandon Brooks, #79,

Brandon Brooks

His weight was an issue his rookie season when he showed up in camp around the 350 lb. mark and that concerned the Texans. Brooks showed this past offseason that he is in a different mentality his sophomore season with his weight at 325 lbs. He looks like a shade of himself from last season and much more in tune with the offensive scheme. Brooks is the future at right guard for the Texans and the short snapshot he gave in 2012 was encouraging.

Outlook: Brooks could significantly upgrade the offensive line. He is one of the more gifted players when it comes to the skill set the Texans have ever had.

 

 

Derek Newton

Derek Newton

Derek Newton

Plenty of questions surrounded Newton and his play in 2012, and there were plenty of doubters at the end of the season. Newton had to have patellar surgery on his knee during the offseason that kept him out of all offseason workouts. The Texans are high on Newton for the 2013 season and have said he should be ready to go for training camp. The offense will hinge on the right tackle play and it will be Newton’s position to lose.

Outlook: Newton has to get healthy but he will be part of the right tackle competition. Newton will start in the lead if he is there on day one of training camp.

 

Ben Jones

He filled in at right guard better than expected his rookie season after Antoine Caldwell went down with injuries. The most productive rookie of the 2012 class, Jones holds value to being able to play both guard and center. Jones is very athletic for his frame but his best position is center. He is a smart player and should be able to contribute when needed.

Outlook: Despite starting in 2012, he will back up in 2013 barring injuries, and fill in first at any of the interior offensive line positions.

 

Ryan Harris

As OTAs ended, Harris’ value rose for the Texans with the injuries to Newton and Williams. Harris is a seasoned veteran who came in and started when needed in 2012. Familiar with the zone system, another veteran presence could be valuable at the tackle position. He once played at a high level in Denver before back issues slowed him down.  He could be key for the Texans offensive line in 2013.

Outlook: Harris is the safety net for the right tackle position and should be on the roster for week one.

 

Andrew Gardner

Brought back for depth after the season after being the only restricted free agent of the offseason. Gardner, who was on the 53 man roster, has fallen on the depth chart due to the numbers game. Gardner is entering his 3rd season with the Texans and he can play both tackle positions for the offense.

Outlook: Gardner is going to be the victim of the numbers game. This could be his last season with the Texans.

 

 

Cody White, #67

Cody White, #67

Cody White

One of the more versatile offensive lineman the Texans have, White can play either guard positions plus center. The former college tight end was moved up to the active roster during the 2012 season after rumors that the Carolina Panthers were going to claim him off the practice squad. White is what the Texas like in offensive linemen - versatile, fast and a big body that can play.

Outlook: White has a chance to make the 53 man roster of training camp and could be hidden talent for the Texans.

 

Nick Mondek

A drafted rookie offensive tackle from the 2012 draft class that didn’t make it pass the first cuts last training camp. After being released, he spent time on the Oakland Raiders practice squad but made his way back to Houston after being released by the Raiders. Mondek, who was originally projected to work at tackle, has been moved inside to guard to give him a chance to win a spot with the Texans.

Outlook: His move to guard will help his chances but practice squad is his best shot. That shot is slim at the moment.

 

 

Tyler Horn

Another center who impressed enough after rookie mini camp to be offered a deal and invite for training camp. Depth is important and that is what Horn provides for camp.

Outlook: With Myers and Jones in front of him at the center position, Horn will have the clock ticking against him.

 

Brennan Williams

Another rookie draft pick, Williams was injured the second day of rookie mini-camp and has been working hard to get back to the field since the knee injury. He finally started working on flat ground and doing more football oriented drills during the Mandatory Mini-Camp and should be ready for training camp. Williams should push Newton at the right tackle position, but there is still plenty of questions that need to be answered about the rookie.

Outlook: Williams is big and athletic and has an outside shot to start in 2013, but he has to get off to a fast start at training camp.

 

 

David Quessenbery #77

David Quessenbery #77

David Quessenberry

If there is one rookie that could be the steal of the draft class, it has to be Quessenberry. He came from San Jose State as a left tackle but in Houston he started working at left guard. Due to injury, Quessenberry was moved to right tackle and he actually looked the part and got better as OTAs went on. When the right tackle position gets healthy, expect him to bump back inside to the guard position. He is a big football player and his sheer size is impressive for a rookie.

Outlook: The Texans picked up a good player late in the draft and will be a future starter for the team down the road.

 

Bryan Collins

Originally an offensive tackle at SMU, the Keller, Texas native will be working at guard for the Texans at camp.  He is another player that the Texans look for at their interior of the line, a 300 lbs. athlete that can move.

Outlook: More of a camp body at this point.

 

Alex Kupper

Kupper played offensive tackle and center at Louisville but now he is working at the guard position. Kupper will be working hard to make a difference but the pecking order might be too much to overcome.

Outlook: Another camp body, but training camp is a marathon not a sprint and anything can happen.

 

 

You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

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