Projected 2014 starters: Houston Texans


Around The League predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class. Click here for the complete series breakdown.

Texans Projected Starters
  Offense Defense
  QB Ryan Fitzpatrick DE J.J. Watt
  RB Arian Foster NT Louis Nix
  WR1 Andre Johnson DE Jared Crick
  WR2 DeAndre Hopkins OLB Jadeveon Clowney
  TE1 Garrett Graham ILB Brian Cushing
  TE2 C.J. Fiedorowicz ILB Brooks Reed
  LT Duane Brown OLB Whitney Mercilus
  LB Xavier Su'a-Filo CB1 Johnathan Joseph
  C Chirs Myers CB2 Kareem Jackson
  RB Brandon Brooks SS D.J. Searinger
  RT DerekNewton/Brennan Williams FS Chris Clemons

» The Texans tipped their hand on Bill O'Brien's philosophy by drafting two impact defenders (Jadeveon Clowney, Louis Nix), an earth-moving guard (Xavier Su'a-Filo), a blocking tight end (C.J. Fiedorowicz) and a pile-driving fullback (Jay Prosch). As long as he has four backup quarterbacks and no obvious solution under center, O'Brien is going to run the ball with authority and play smashmouth defense.

» Earmarked for the Willie McGinest role in Romeo Crennel's defense, Clowney will push Brooks Reed inside next to Brian Cushing. He should be joined in the starting lineup by Nix, who will fill the nose-tackle void left by Earl Mitchell's departure. We give Jared Crick the early edge to replace Antonio Smith opposite J.J. Watt. Free safety Chris Clemons is the favorite over Kendrick Lewis and Shiloh Keo alongside strong safety D.J. Swearinger.

» Conversations between Andre Johnson and the Texans have been positive. Despite the franchise icon's reservations about going through a rebuilding a process, we expect him to be on the roster come Week 1.

» The question is, who will be throwing passes to Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins? Ryan Fitzpatrick is the heavy frontrunner, but it's hardly a given that he will outplay Case Keenum in training camp and preseason action. Supplemental fourth-round pick Tom Savage is a long-term developmental project.

» The offensive line should be improved with Su'a-Filo at left guard and a healthy Brennan Williams pushing Derek Newton at right tackle. The lack of a top-tier quarterback might hold the Texans back for another season, but they did an impressive job of reloading in the draft.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" predicts 2014 starting lineups and talks insider goodness with Bucky Brooks.