Houston Texans: Projected starting lineup before the NFL Draft
LB: Whitney Mercilus (OLB), Brennan Scarlett (OLB), Bernardrick McKinney (ILB), Zach Cunningham (ILB)
Three of these Houston Texans players are set in stone without much competition. In J.J. Watt’s absence, Whitney Mercilus became the top threat out of the front seven to get after opposing quarterbacks so his spot is entrenched in the lineup.
Similarly, B-Mac and Zach Cunningham have been as consistent as possible on the inside and provide one of the most underrated position groups a major spark on defense. The real fun here is the expected competition between Brennan Scarlett and Jacob Martin due to the latter’s breakout towards the second half of the season.
Martin was acquired in the Jadeveon Clowney trade and may have proved enough to overtake the incumbent starter on the edge. This group may not have league-wide name recognition but is one of the best overall groups that the Texans feature on the roster.
Safeties: Justin Reid (SS), Tashaun Gipson (FS)
These two starters are holding down the back end but the lack of depth is slightly concerning. The city of Houston let out a collective “Who?” when the announcement was made of the Eric Murray signing for $18 million.
Justin Reid has vouched for his brother Eric to be signed by the team, which honestly doesn’t seem like a bad idea after watching the McCourty brothers dominate together in New England. Reid is the leader of this secondary, and Gipson was a solid free-agent acquisition last season.
The secondary as a whole was ranked 24th in the NFL in terms of team coverage, but 32 touchdown passes allowed definitely needs improvement.