One player on the Houston Texans who needs more snaps in 2021 is Ross Blacklock, who is entering his second season in the NFL after being a second-round pick last year.
As an interior defensive lineman his rookie season, Blacklock played in 23 percent of the defensive snaps, a total of 255 plays in 15 games, including one start. Though Blacklock didn’t have a sack, he did have 14 tackles, including 10 solo tackles. Blacklock also had one tackle for loss, and two QB hits.
Pro Football Focus didn’t think much of Blacklock’s rookie season as they graded him at 30.2 overall, but in fairness to Blacklock, he had too few chances on the field. Some of that was due to none of the rookies really having a real opportunity in ’20 if they were on the Houston Texans roster, and there wasn’t a true offseason, which put the rookies back a few steps compared to rookies of the past.
This year can be different, but a whole new learning process for Blacklock in year two as there is a new defensive coordinator, and there is the fact that the Texans don’t have high expectations if you are listening to the national media.
Texans news: Ross Blacklock has to have more snaps in year two, right?
With the Houston Texans running the Tampa 2 defense, which has four defensive linemen, that means there an extra opportunity for Blacklock to be on the field more in ’21. There is no way, if healthy, Blacklock should be on the sideline for 77 percent of the defensive plays in his second season.
Before Blacklock was drafted by the Houston Texans in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft (40th overall), he was projected to be a starter in the NFL within his first two seasons, according to his NFL.com draft profile.
There is so much potential when it comes to Blacklock, and let’s be honest, 2020 was a wash for him and all rookies on the Texans roster. It would be nice to see new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith use the talents, as he does have pass rush abilities as shown at TCU, and to improve, he’s going to need to be on the field … it is that simple.
Blacklock needs to play alongside defensive linemen Jonathan Greenard, Shaq Lawson, Charles Omenihu, Maliek Collins, Jaleel Johnson and others, as this unit could surprise critics this upcoming season, so don’t overlook this front four under Smith.
For Blacklock, he’ll continue to get better, and he is a player Houston Texans fans should be excited about, not just for ’21, but for the foreseeable feature.