The retooled Houston Texans defensive line is due for a massive season

The amount of work the Houston Texans did to their defensive line shouldn’t go unnoticed this year.
New Orleans Saints v Houston Texans
New Orleans Saints v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The amount of work the Houston Texans did to their defensive line shouldn’t go unnoticed this year. They completely retooled the position, and besides a few players, it’s a whole new group in 2024. Their biggest addition obviously being Danielle Hunter, but the two other acquisitions they made to the group that shouldn’t go unrecognized are Foley Fatukasi and Denico Autry. After losing both Sheldon Rankins and Maliek Collins in the off-season, they found the two best players they could at a cheap price. However, they did add more talent this year, too. Let’s look at their depth chart. 

Depth chart (16)

  • McTelvin Agim
  • Will Anderson
  • Denico Autry
  • Derek Barnett
  • Solomon Byrd
  • Khalil Davis
  • Mario Edwards Jr
  • Foley Fatukasi
  • Ali Gaye
  • Marcus Harris
  • Marcus Haynes
  • Kurt Hinish
  • Dylan Horton
  • Danielle Hunter
  • Pheldarius Payne
  • Tim Settle

The four starters will clearly be Anderson, Hunter, Fatukasi, and Autry. Their backups shouldn’t be overlooked, however. With an experienced veteran like Barnett who finished the last half of the season with the Texans having 2.5 sacks, a young raw pass rusher like Horton who’s still growing, and Tim Settle serving as your rotation, it’s not going to be pretty, but it will surprise some people. 

The Texans came away from this off-season with a win considering the amount of turnover they had on their defense. After spending their salary cap on Hunter, Stefon Diggs, and Joe Mixon, along with extending Dalton Schultz, they found some gems with the little cap they have remaining. 

Demeco Ryans has proven to us that he can get the most out of players who are outcasts from other teams. A good example of that is Blake Cashman. Cashman was traded to the Texans after playing in just 14 games in three seasons with the New York Jets. After being regarded by national, and New York media as a bust, people didn’t have high expectations for him. That’s until Ryans came to Houston and made him a good linebacker who just got paid by the Minnesota Vikings. The point is that anybody, even “busts” can excel in this defense. No need to worry if you’re concerned about the depth of the line, Ryans will get production from somebody that the fanbase isn’t expecting. 

The Texans' focus was clear this off-season. Get to the quarterback early and often. They added two big pass rushers, and another to help in the run game. But adding Hunter and Autry to a pass rush group that already had Will Anderson has all the makings to be lethal. Only time will tell, but there’s a very good chance this group will see a huge jump in production this season.