Projected 2015 starters: Houston Texans


Around The NFL predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class. See every breakdown here.

Texans Projected Starters
  Offense Defense
  QB Ryan Mallett DE J.J. Watt
  RB Arian Foster NT Vince Wilfork
  WR1 DeAndre Hopkins DE Jared Crick
  WR2 Cecil Shorts OLB Jadeveon Clowney
  WR3 Jaelen Strong ILB Brian Cushing
  TE1 Garrett Graham ILB Benardrick McKinney
  TE2 C.J. Fiedorowicz OLB Whitney Mercilus
  LT Duane Brown CB1 Johnathan Joseph
  G Xavier Su'a-Filo CB2 Kareem Jackson
  C Ben Jones CB3 Kevin Johnson
  G Brandon Brooks SS Stevie Brown
  RT Derek Newton FS Rahim Moore

» Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer will split first-team reps throughout OTAs and ostensibly into training camp. Since Mallett is the younger player with a higher ceiling, we believe Hoyer will have to outplay him to enter Week 1 as the starter. The Texans' brass spent the first couple of months of the offseason showering praise on Mallett, an indication that their preference is for him to beat out Hoyer.

» Veteran wideout Cecil Shorts is the heavy favorite to start opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Rookie Jaelen Strong will compete with Nate Washington and veteran holdovers Damaris Johnson and Keshawn Martin for the No. 3 job. Strong's talent edge should win out as long as he adjusts quickly to Bill O'Brien's offense.

» If Jadeveon Clowney's knee checks out, he will start opposite Whitney Mercilus at outside linebacker, allowing second-round pick Benardrick McKinney to line up on the inside next to Brian Cushing. If Clowney isn't ready to go, it will be interesting to see if McKinney spends time as an edge rusher.

» Former Patriots star Vince Wilfork is an upgrade on the 2014 duo of Ryan Pickett-Jerrell Powe at nose tackle. If Wilfork has one more solid season left in the tank, this could be the best defensive line of the J.J. Watt era.

» Former Giants safety Stevie Brown moves into the starting lineup opposite Rahim Moore following D.J. Swearinger's release.

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