It might just be me, but it feels like this offseason has dragged on longer than ever. As such, the 2021 season can't get here fast enough. 17 games. Three preseason tilts. It's time to get this thing ROLLING in a hurry. In those 17 regular season tilts, the Texans will face their share of legends and emerging stars so I sat down with all 14 rosters and the schedule to put together another unique version of the Harris 100 - the best players the Texans will face in 2021.
Without specifically ranking them as I do for the NFL draft (Rams star Aaron Donald would be number one if I did do that), I came up with the top 100 players the Texans will face and a handful of Honorable mention names to watch as well. I will break this into position groups over the next couple of weeks and today it's time for the offensive linemen aka Offensive Trench Warriors (in chronological order when the Texans face each player).
A few quick "By the Numbers" notes on the 2021 Harris 100 Offensive Trench Warriors from the 2020 season…
3 - Offensive linemen from the Cleveland Browns, the most from any team's offensive front
36 - Average age of three star left tackles from NFC West (Brown, Whitworth & Williams)
27 - Age of Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries, fourth NFC West tackle to make this Harris 100
8 - Former first round picks (Conklin, Lewan, Nelson, Kelly, Humphries, Becton, Brown, Williams) in this Harris 100
0 - Former undrafted college free agents in this Harris 100
Alright, let's roll. These are the Offensive Trench Warriors that made the Harris 100 - The best players the Texans will face in 2021.
Bold - Pro Bowl in 2020
* - 1st Team All-Pro in 2020 (AP, Pro Football Writers, Sporting News)
** - 2nd Team All-Pro in 2020 (AP, Pro Football Writers, Sporting News)
Brandon Linder, Jacksonville, (C - Week 1 & Week 15)
Rock steady in the middle of the Jaguars line, Lawrence will rely heavily on Linder in the future
*Jack Conklin, Cleveland (T - Week 2)
Pro Bowler signing in Cleveland last year was final piece to complete studly offensive quintet
**Wyatt Teller, Cleveland (G - Week 2)
Burst on the scene in 2020, should be a Pro Bowler in 2021
**Joel Bitonio, Cleveland (T - Week 2)
Outstanding, consistent star who has been that way since he was drafted in 2014
Taylor Moton, Carolina (T - Week 3)
Up and coming young tackle, re-signed for 2021 in Carolina
Michael Onwenu, New England (G - Week 5)
Rookie surprise in 2020, should be a foundation piece in New England for a while
Trent Brown, New England (T - Week 5)
Brown returns back to New England where he had the most successful stint of his career
Taylor Lewan, Tennessee (T - Week 11 & Week 18)
Lewan was missed after he tore his ACL in week six against the Texans in 2020
*Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis (G - Week 6 & Week 13)
Beast. He's also the one NFL offensive lineman whose jersey is featured on fans most in his NFL city.
**Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis (C - Week 6 & Week 13)
The interior 1-2 punch of Nelson and Kelly gives the Colts offense its identity.
Rodney Hudson, Arizona (C - Week 7)
Inexplicably traded to Arizona in the offseason. Now, the Texans must face him for second time in three years
D.J. Humphries, Arizona (T - Week 7)
The former first round pick has matured into one of the better edge protectors in the game.
Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams (T - Week 8)
It feels like Whitworth is 80 years old, but he plays like a 26-year old, i.e. outstandingly effective
Mekhi Becton, New York Jets (T - Week 12)
The youngster should be locked on the left side of the Jets line for the entirety of his career.
Duane Brown, Seattle (Week 14)
Now in his 14th year in the league, Duane still locks down the edge. Legend.
*Corey Linsley, Los Angeles Chargers (C - Week 16)
The Chargers found the long term answer at QB last year so elite OL help was necessary. Enter Linsley.
*Trent Williams, San Francisco (T - Week 17)
Rejuvenated and re-energized in a Pro Bowl campaign, Williams re-upped with SF for 2021