2019 NFL Draft Preview: Houston Texans Defensive Line
By Jair Lopez
Looking at Houston Texans’ depth at the defensive line ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Houston Texans defensive line was one of their positions of strength in the 2018 season. Texans have all their defensive lineman returning for this season except for Christian Covington who signed a one year deal with the Dallas Cowboys during the offseason.
Texans have J.J. Watt, D.J. Reader, Carlos Watkins, Joel Heath, Brandon Dunn, and Angelo Blackson in the defensive lineman rotation for the 2019 season. Dunn, Reader, and Heath will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2019 season, so drafting another defensive lineman to develop makes sense with only three players under contract beyond the 2019 season.
General manager Brian Gaine could look to address the defensive end position with Watt being the only defender to reach double-digit sacks for the Texans last season. Only two other defensive linemen brought the quarterback down last season, Reader registered two sacks meanwhile Blackson had one. On the other hand, Texans defense against the rush was one of the best NFL and ranked eighth in the league allowing an average of 82.7 rushing yards a game.
Reader and Dunn are stout against the run and have done a great job of taking on double teams to allow the linebackers to get to the running back. Meanwhile, Watkins and Heath were inactive for the majority of the season while Blackson and Covington got the nod to be in the rotation with Romeo Crennel’s defense.
Blackson appears to be a bigger big part of the Texans’ rotation moving forward after signing a three year $12 million contract in the offseason. Heath and Watkins have shown glimpses of being capable of collapsing the pocket and pressuring the opposing quarterback.