The Texans offensive line went through an overall before the start of 2019.
The franchise invested first and second round picks on players who were tackles in college, snapping up Tytus Howard at 23rd overall, and then using the 55th pick of the draft on Max Scharping. A week before the season opener, the Texans pulled off a massive trade for Miami's Laremy Tunsil, who wound up making the Pro Bowl.
Tunsil is primed for another good year in 2020, and the 2019 rookies are as well.
Howard wound up as the team's starter at right tackle, while Scharping was bumped inside to left guard, where he started the final 14 games of 2019. When that duo, along with Tunsil at left tackle, started together with center Nick Martin and right guard Zach Fulton, the Texans won five games and lost once. Howard thinks the time spent together will lead to bigger and better things in the future.
"That's going to be a big key for us up front," Howard said. "We got all those reps together last year. Continuing that success next year as an offensive line, we just got to do what we've got to do to protect Deshaun."
Howard's season ended at the start of December with a knee injury, but he's optimistic about his availability for the start of 2020.
Martin really liked what he saw out of the rookie duo last year. The veteran center said each came in and made good first impressions, and with Howard, the nastiness was evident immediately
"He's a finisher," Martin said. "He gets in there and he wants to destroy people, which is really good, and that's what you want in a lineman. That's who you want to play next to."
Scharping, meanwhile, was steady and strong in 2019. Martin thinks the Green Bay native will improve in 2020 on what was an impressive 2019.
"He's a professional," Martin said. "He does everything the right way. He comes to work. He's got his routine. He's obviously very intelligent and bright, which helps, because the NFL's not easy. Obviously he grew in his first year, but I think he'll make a big jump in year two."
Tunsil, who's worked out routinely this offseason with Watson, shared what he and the quarterback have discussed many times the last few months.
"We basically just tell each other, 'Man, let's go get it, let's get it done. We have the tools right in front of us on this team and we can get it done, it just starts with us,'" Tunsil said. "We pretty much voice our opinions every day about the team we have."
Winning a Super Bowl is the macro goal for everyone involved. But Howard articulated what he and his fellow linemen's main goal is on a game-to-game basis.
"Protect Deshaun," Howard said. "That's our goal. I got to do everything I got to do, no matter what it is, to protect him. Like Coach (Bill O'Brien) said when I first got here: I'm his bodyguard. That's what I was brought here to be. So I got to be nasty, I've gotta be dirty. I've got to do whatever I've got to to protect him, and that's what I'm going to do."
Howard, Scharping and the rest of the Texans are set to begin training camp in the next two weeks.