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Vandermeer's View: Difference-making Texans in '17

It's no secret that it's been a tad quiet during the first couple of weeks of free agency for the Texans. Sure, the Osweiler trade was an explosive story. And it was good to see Ryan Griffin get re-signed. But the fans and media have been getting restless watching AFC South foes nab free agents in their bid to challenge the Texans.

It's worth noting though, that despite the lack of an early splash and the departure of some names-you-know, there are some intriguing Texans who could make a nice contribution in 2017 at some positions of need.

Let's start with Kendall Lamm. The tackle has played in 30 games already and started seven. He's mostly the sixth offensive lineman when the Texans 'heavy up' on offense. He's here for a reason and should be interesting to observe as Houston looks for help during Derek Newton's continued rehab from two knee injuries.

Robert Nelson is another improving player. He's seen action at corner, made a nice pick off Andrew Luck at the end of the half in the home Indy tilt and just might find his way onto the field in some key situations in 2017. Remember this about corner; last year A.J. Bouye signed a 'by-the-way' one-year deal as a depth player. No one is saying Nelson is on track for Bouye's type of year, but he's certainly worth watching. Plus, this draft is shoulder-deep in corners and safeties.

If the Texans played Sunday and started their base defense, you just might see Brennan Scarlett at outside linebacker. He played in seven games last year. I can't dazzle you with stats but he was impossible not to notice last preseason, making plays like this.

Those are three under-the-radar type players who could help. And let's not forget that key 2016 contributors like Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, D.J. Reader, Corey Moore and Joel Health are all back, to name a few.

The Texans will also be signing some players in the final waves of free agency, not to mention the haul they'll go fishing for in the draft.

You're looking at a team that finished first in defense AND gets J.J. Watt back. That fact and the maturation of an offense that should have better play at quarterback will automatically make the Texans better.

Is it good enough to win the division and make the postseason again? That's why we're here – to watch the story unfold.

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