The Texans will enter the 2018 season with a revamped offensive line, after signing three new players in free agency: center/guard Zach Fulton, tackle Seantrel Henderson and guard Senio Kelemete. Head coach Bill O'Brien expects at least four new starting linemen, including second-year Julién Davenport getting a chance to compete at left tackle.
"We've got new linemen, the chemistry of those linemen is going to be big," O'Brien said Tuesday at the Annual League Meetings in Orlando. "We're going to have at the very least probably have four new starters. (Julién) Davenport may start off at left tackle. We'll give him that opportunity, see what type of shape he comes back in. You've got (Zach) Fulton, Seantrel Henderson, (Senio) Kelemete, Nick Martin – we've got a lot of work to do with the offensive line, that takes a long time. And so the way we're teaching it, the way we're installing the offense is good for all of us because it's a little bit new for all of us and I think it's going to be a very unique spring because of that. It's like a new beginning."
In 2017, Davenport started three games at left tackle and paved the way for a season-high 176 rushing yards against Pittsburgh in Week 16. His performance as a rookie, as well as his length and athleticism, earned him the opportunity though none of the positions are "nailed down," according to O'Brien.
Right tackle Derek Newton, rehabbing from his 2016 patellar tendon surgery, is on schedule but not expected to be ready for OTAs. Left guard Xavier Su'a-Filo signed with the Titans in free agency. The Texans, with several o-line starters to replace, have options with their newly-signed players heading into spring.
"Seantrel Henderson, feel really good about him, coming off of last year, played at the end of last year, had a real good Miami game, played real well in that game," O'Brien said. "We feel good about where he's at. We feel like he can play right or left. We'll start him off on the right side but we think he can swing over to left. Zach Fulton, we feel real good about. We'll start him off at guard but he can play center if we want to move Nick Martin to guard. There's some versatility there."
The Texans will begin Phase 1 of the offseason workout program on April 16.