Five storylines to watch in OTAs

The Texans begin organized team activities (OTAs) this week, marking the start of Phase 3 of their offseason workout program. NFL teams hold 10 OTA practices where 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Here are five storylines to watch during the Texans 2019 OTAs:

1. The O-line. Period.

Even though players won’t put on the pads until training camp, the offensive line has been, and will continue to be, the talk of the offseason. The Texas invested in offensive tackles during this year’s NFL Draft, selecting Tytus Howard and Max Scharping in the first and third rounds, respectively and signing free agent Matt Kalil. Martinas Rankin is expected to slide over to guard, while returning players like Julién Davenport, Seantrel Henderson, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete bring their knowledge of the offense and a healthy dose of competition to the group.

The Texans o-line will be a developing storyline from now until the start of the regular season, or whenever the starting five is determined.

2. A revamped secondary

Following the Andre Hal retirement news and departures of Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Jackson and Kevin Johnson in free agency, the Texans secondary has been undergoing a makeover too.

Heading into OTAs, the Texans revamped their secondary, adding safeties Tashaun Gipson and Jahleel Addae in free agency, as well as cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Add in second-round draft pick Lonnie Johnson Jr. and sixth-rounder Xavier Crawford, and the secondary room pretty much needs “Hello, my name is…” nametags. Expectations are high for second-year starter Justin Reid while Johnathan Joseph brings his 14 years of veteran leadership to the group but developing chemistry and working on communication will be key for this group heading into OTAs, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

3. How does D’Onta Foreman look and other RB questions

D’Onta Foreman has been hard at work this offseason after getting back on the field in December. He’s knocked off the rust following his 2017 Achilles surgery and now has a full, healthy offseason ahead of him. Behind Lamar Miller and Foreman, the Texans will be looking to fill that third running back spot and have a number of players that may fill the opening left by Alfred Blue who signed with Jacksonville.

4. Wide receiver depth chart

DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee.

The Texans have a solid trio of wide receivers when healthy. However, Fuller will likely be limited while he continues rehabbing his ACL injury which means a number of wide receivers will see extra reps. Who will be the No. 4? Returning from last year are return specialist and wide receiver DeAndre Carter as well as the undrafted deep threat in Vyncint Smith. A number of rookies and free agents are also looking to snag some attention. From Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon to last year’s training camp standout Jester Weah, Deshaun Watson will have number of weapons to work with in OTAs.

5. Tight end buzz

After solid rookie campaigns, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins head into Year 2 with a buzz surrounding them. This offseason, both are expected to make another leap forward now that they have an understanding of the playbook and what is expected of them in the offense. Rookie Kahale Warring, a standout water polo player and all-around athlete, looked impressive in rookie camp and could be an x-factor. Six-year veteran Darren Fells, signed as a free agent in March, brings his international basketball background to an athletic position group, one that could easily form its own basketball team, and has already been a mentor to guys like Thomas.

OTAs will take place at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Dates (which are subject to change) are as follows:

May 20: Start of OTAs (organized team activities)

May 20-21, May 23: OTA #1, 2, 3 (Phase 3, Week 6)

May 28-30: OTA #4, 5, 6 (Phase 3, Week 7)

June 3-4, June 6-7: OTA #7, 8, 9, 10 (Phase 3, Week 8)

Check out some of the best shots from rookie minicamp.

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