Houston Texans: Max Scharping has been well worth a 2nd-round choice
The Houston Texans selected Max Scharping in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and he has been one of the best players on the team this season.
For 13 starts this season and 15 total games, rookie left guard Max Scharping has played up to his second-round selection at 55th overall and then some, as he’s been a big part of the Texans repeating as AFC South champions.
Last season, the Texans’ offensive line allowed 65 total sacks including the playoffs, and this season through 15 games played by the Texans, that number has shrank to 44 sacks with one game left in the regular season.
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Scharping is one of the players responsible for the improvement of the sacks allowed number, as the 6-6, 327-pound rookie left guard has played in 873 snaps this season, allowing only two sacks and being called for just six penalties.
Also remember that originally at the collegiate level, Scharping was a tackle before being drafted by the Texans.
In weekly quotes released by the Texans media department, head coach Bill O’Brien spoke about the season that Scharping has had during a Dec. 23 press conference:
"“Max works very hard, works hard in the weight room, works hard to improve, very coachable. You’re really looking for coachable guys. He takes the coaching to heart, he tries to get better every week and I do think you’re right, I think he’s improved. I don’t think it’s easy to play left guard as a rookie when you’re blocking grown men. It’s a little bit different than Northern Illinois – and I love Northern Illinois – but slightly different. So, I think it’s hard to come into this league and play on the inside like that. I think he has worked hard to get better every week.”"
Pro Football Focus has Sharping graded overall at 56.4 this season, but even if his grade is below 60, he has been an improvement of the guard play from last year, which Senio Kelemete held even at the beginning of this season before going on the IR.
Scharping has also been a big part of blocking for an offensive line that has blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 2016, as Carlos Hyde has rushed for 1,057 yards through the first 15 games played by the Texans this season.
Hyde has rushed the football 241 times, and for the Texans as a team, they have totaled 1,900 yards rushing on 409 rushes as a team, for an average of 4.6 yards per carry.
There were two things the offensive line of the Texans needed to accomplish this season, and that was to block for a 1,000-yard rusher (which they did), and to see the number of sacks to Deshaun Watson drop, which through the first 15 games played has been the case, too.
There is still a lot of work ahead in the future for the offensive line of the Texans, but for a rookie to have a solid season with only two sacks allowed, Scharping will be a big part of the future for the Texans franchise.