Houston Texans on defense who needs to impress at mini-camp

Houston Texans
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Jerry Hughes - Defensive end/edge

Jerry Hughes recorded nine sacks in 2022, to lead the Houston Texans.  It was his third-highest sack total in his career.  He had ten sacks in each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.  He added 58 total pressures last season as well.

So, why is Hughes on this list?  Despite a good season last year, Hughes is entering his 14th season in the league and will be 35 when the starts in September.  He doesn’t appear to be slowing down but there are questions about when will his age catch up to him.

Hughes will have some competition around him in the locker room too.  Several younger guys vying for spots on the 53-man roster.  A couple of those guys are on this list too but Hughes will need to have a solid mini-camp to prove he still has it.

If Hughes can continue to produce at the same level as a year ago, he may find a spot on this team on a rotational basis or in obvious passing situations.  If Anderson is the stud we all believe he is, that could really free up Hughes in more one-on-one situations.  Hughes could potentially get double-digit seconds for the third time in his career.

Jonathan Greenard - Defensive end/Edge

Greenard is entering his fourth season in the league and I think he could be in trouble.  I know some fans feel differently but he's produced only 10.5 sacks over his first three seasons, which includes 33 starts.  Last season he tallied unimpressive two sacks and 11 total pressures.

According to PFF grades, his overall was 63.4, with a pass-rush grade of 55.3.  If Greenard is going to stick around, he must improve in this area of his game, as these numbers won’t get it done and he’ll lose out to Hughes.

The talent appears to be there though.  His 2021 season was far better and you could give Greenard a pass given his injury last season, that limited him to just four starts on the season but he’ll need to show the coaching staff he’s all the way back and ready to go.

Speaking of 2021, he put eight sacks and 27 pressures, earning him a PFF pass-rush grade of 89.2.  If he can replicate that productivity or better yet, improve those numbers, he could be a solid pass rusher opposite Will Anderson Jr but if he struggles, he could be beaten out of a job by one of a number of players vying for playing time.