Outside Linebacker: Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney
Former first round pick Whitney Mercilus took a step up last season as he racked up 12 sacks, a career high. However, the majority of those sacks came against the Jaguars and Titans, who allowed among the most sacks in the league. Mercilus needs to be an every week kind of guy, and hopefully that is what he becomes this season.
We’ve all been waiting for Jadeveon Clowney to break out. He has been riddled by injuries so far in his young career but when he was healthy last season he seemed to show some flashes. He played well against the run and was able to generate some pressure on the quarterback.
It will be interesting to see if the two of these talented players can turn the Texans defense into a trio of talented pass rusher rather than simply the J.J. Watt quarterback chasing show.
Behind them would be John Simon who was able to produce at a pretty solid rate while Clowney worked his way back from offseason knee surgery. Simon recorded five sacks and provides an option should either Clowney or Mercilus go down with an injury.
Next: Inside Linebacker