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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

Texans defensive line is earning better consideration than expected

The Houston Texans are attempting to complete the rebuild. As such, there aren’t exactly spots on their roster that signify strength.

Although the Texans may not have position groups that are fortified, it doesn’t mean the groups that aren’t showing strength don’t have promise.

According to Zoltán Buday from Pro Football Focus, the Texans’ defensive line ranks No. 23 in a ranking of all 32 teams’ defensive lines.

While the Texans do not have an elite player on their defensive line — at least not until rookie Will Anderson Jr. gets acclimated to the NFL — they have more starting-caliber players than most teams that find themselves outside the top 20 on this list.

In fact, the Texans have four interior defenders who ranked in the top 100 players at the position. Furthermore, while edge defender Jerry Hughes will start his 14th season in the NFL, he is still capable of playing at a solid level, as he has earned PFF grades over 70.0 in each of his last six seasons and ranked among the top 40 at his position in each of those years.

Houston doesn’t just have Hughes that can be a solid contributor. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins has been a stalwart as the line’s three-technique. The Texans also have former 2020 third-round defensive end Jonathan Greenard entering a contract year. The Texans shelled out contracts in free agency for Sheldon Rankins and Hassan Ridgeway.

Anderson will be the wild-card that ultimately determines the strength of the group. If the No. 3 overall pick is able to play at a high level and bring disruption throughout his rookie campaign, then the rest of the league will know in 2024 that Houston’s defensive line is not to be taken lightly.

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