Texans roster 2021: Predicting Week 1 offensive, defensive starters

David Johnson #31 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
David Johnson #31 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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David Johnson, Houston Texans
Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Texans starting offense predictions

Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor

Running back: David Johnson

Wide receiver: Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Nico Collins

Tight end: Jordan Akins

Offensive line: Laremy Tunsil, Max Scharping, Justin Britt, Marcus Cannon, Tytus Howard

A revamped offensive line doesn’t necessarily spell an improved one here.

Justin Britt is going to take over for the released Nick Martin at center, but Britt missed all of 2020 after tearing his ACL late in 2019, while there’s going to be a bit of a position battle at right guard between Marcus Cannon and Lane Taylor. The only positive from this unit is left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

It’ll help having a trio of starting-caliber running backs on the roster, though, as David Johnson will look to bounce back from a frustrating 2020 campaign that limited him to just 12 games, although he did manage to average 4.7 yards per carry behind an equally perplexing O-line.

Expect head coach David Culley to regularly rotate Johnson in and out of the lineup, though, with fresh faces like Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram II, the latter having a previous relationship with Culley from their days with the Baltimore Ravens.

Nico Collins might see plenty of action early on as a big-bodied pass-catching threat. He, too, missed all of 2020 at Michigan after deciding to opt out, though, meaning the learning curve will be quick and steep.

Houston will likely start Brandon Cooks and Randall Cobb in base formations, however.

Can the Texans get the kind of production out of Tyrod Taylor he flashed back with the Buffalo Bills in 2015 and 2016?

That’ll be the hope. Unless rookie QB Davis Mills somehow manages to flash enough during training camp. Odds seem to point towards Mills seeing some field time at some point in 2021.