The Texans offensive line went through a rough period in 2021. The five starters that took the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the opening game of 2021 accounted for just 46 of a possible 85 starts last season. Only one of those five started 12 or more games in 2021 and that ever changing quintet never truly found a rhythm as a result. But, the offseason kick started some changes on the offensive line that hopefully will show dividends this season and beyond. Let's take a look at the 2022 OL roster as the Texans head into the OTA phase of the offseason.
Returning players from 2021 squad, in order of snaps played in 2021.
Tytus Howard - 244 snaps at LT (22.9% of total snaps at LT), 683 snaps at LG (64.1% of total snaps at LG)
When I first started this OL position breakdown back in late January, Howard's all encompassing Texans situation was, let's call it, thought-provoking, for lack of a better word. There was a lot of media noise surrounding a potential trade of LT Laremy Tunsil, which would've had an impact on Howard's outlook in 2022. There was plenty of discussion about Howard's fifth year option and whether the Texans would exercise said option. Furthermore, the Texans had the number three overall pick in the 2022 Draft that had three bonafide top ten tackles on the horizon. Then, specific things happened that provided some clarity for the former Alabama State star. Tunsil locked in to stay in Houston. Then, the Texans passed on drafting a tackle at number three and drafted a potential guard at pick #15 - Kenyon Green. Then, the Texans exercised the fifth year option on Howard's contract. Each singular event seemed to make Tytus' situation that much clearer heading into 2022. And, that's a good thing for Howard and the 2022 Texans.
Charlie Heck - 827 snaps at RT (77.5% of total snaps
Heck enters the third year of his career, having started one game as a rookie in 2020 and 14 games at RT last season after Marcus Cannon went down with an injury. Heck has improved throughout his two year stint in Houston and another significant jump in play as he enters year three will do nothing but benefit this 2022 Texans offense.
Max Scharping - 689 snaps at OG (64.63% of total snaps)
Scharping, a second round selection in 2019, enters the final year of his four year rookie contract in 2022. As a rookie, Scharping was a full-time starter, not missing a snap from game three of the season through the loss at Kansas City in the playoffs in January 2020. Unfortunately, the 2020 season was not as successful as his rookie campaign. As a third year veteran in 2021, though, he rebounded with a much better season, finding his confidence again at the guard position.
Justin Britt - 671 snaps at OC (62.95% of total snaps)
The Texans signed Britt to a one year deal last offseason after Britt suffered through nearly two seasons with an injury in Seattle. He was an upgrade over previous middle men in the Texans offensive line as he made an impact on and off the field for this organization while he was here. The Texans, seemingly, thought similarly as they re-signed Britt this offseason to, again, man the middle of the Texans OL in 2022.
Justin McCray - 545 snaps at OG/OC (51.1% of total snaps)
The Texans signed McCray to a two year deal in 2021, which puts him under contract for 2022. McCray wasn't expected to start in 2021, but with injuries, changes and movements on the OL, he ended up playing over half of the offensive snaps in the 2021 season.
Jimmy Morrissey - 258 snaps at OC (24.2% of total snaps)
Morrissey was drafted by Las Vegas in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft and was eventually claimed by the Texans when he was waived later in the 2021 season. Morrissey had been in Houston for just a couple of weeks before he started at center against Miami in week nine. Overall, he started four games as a rookie, including the win over the Chargers the day after Christmas. He'll return to Houston in 2022.
Laremy Tunsil - 262 snaps at LT (24.6% of total snaps)
In 2019, Tunsil was a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career after being traded to Houston and he followed that up with another Pro Bowl campaign in 2020. As such, when he suffered an injury early in week five of 2021, the impact on the Texans OL and the offense, as a whole, was significant. As such, there was some noise in league circles and local/national media about Tunsil's future in Houston but he squelched all that when he announced he was back in 2022. That was great news to have the star LT back at LT for this key season.
Jordan Steckler - Played in two games in 2021
I thought there were moments in 2021 training camp that Steckler showed some real promise as an edge protector. He signed a one year deal for 2022 as well and will be back.
Carson Green - Practice squad in 2021
The former Aggie star offensive tackle spent the 2021 season on the practice squad. He'll return in 2022, fighting for a roster spot this season.
2022 Veterans Additions
A.J. Cann - formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Cann started 13+ games each season after being drafted in 2015 through the COVID season of 2020. In 2021, though, he suffered a season ending injury early in the season and missed the last 13 games of the season. The Texans jumped at the opportunity early in free agency to sign Cann to help bolster the interior of this offensive line.
Scott Quessenberry - formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers
First, there was David. Then, there was Paul. Now, along with Paul, there's Scott. The triumvirate of Quessenberrys is now complete as the Texans signed the youngest of the bunch, Scott, to a deal this offseason. After a successful career at UCLA, Scott appeared in 63 games for the Chargers, starting ten games at center over four seasons.
Cedric Ogbuehi - formerly of the Seattle Seahawks/Baltimore Ravens
Ogbuehi was a first round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2015 and spent four years with the Bengals. Since then, though, he's been looking for a more permanent home and an opportunity. He played in Jacksonville for a year in 2019 while Texans OL coach George Warhop was the Jaguars OL coach. Those two were reunited in Houston in 2022 after Ogbuehi signed a free agent deal to come back to his home state.
2022 Rookie Additions
Kenyon Green, Texas A&M - 1st Round, #15 overall
Here's my Harris 100 Scouting Report on Green
"(Atasocita HS in Humble, TX - Houston suburb). An absolute dude for the Texas Aggie offense. I could watch Green play all day and I've seen nearly every rep that he's had for the Aggies in his first two years. He's not on par with Quenton Nelson, but, honestly, who is? That said, he's in that type of class, even at the guard position. He's done things I didn't think upperclassmen can do. I saw him as a freshman scoop the backside of zone runs, zoning off a zero technique like it was child's play. He's strong AND quick. He can pull on power. He can slide laterally on zone plays, climbing to the second level when necessary. He mashes at the points of attack, possesses nimble feet and plays with a ferocity that would benefit all offensive linemen. In 2021, he was asked to play nearly every single position on the field and there were times when he looked like he was a fit to play tackle. But, there were times where he struggled (see Arkansas and #55 Tre Williams). When he transitioned back inside, he looked that much more comfortable and at ease knocking 300-lb men off the ball without much effort."
Austin Deculus, LSU - 6th Round, #205 overall
No player at famed LSU played in more games as a Tiger than Deculus. The Houston homeboy started every game at RT for the 2019 national champions and the next two years as well. He has tremendous size and athleticism for an offensive lineman at any level of football. I saw him play a couple of times in person and he had some moments that made me think he could stick around in the NFL for a while. His experience in the SEC will serve him VERY well as he competes for a roster spot/playing time and more back home for the Texans.
Myron Cunningham, Arkansas - UDFA
Cunningham started his career at Western Illinois, originally, but never made an appearance as a Leatherneck. Before he took a snap, he transferred to Iowa Central CC where he became a coveted OL prospect at the FBS level. When he arrived at Arkansas, he stepped into the left tackle position and started ever since. He started every game but one since 2019, earning team captain status and anchoring an offensive line that was one of the best in the SEC.