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Duane Brown: A
Duane Brown has shown incredible progress since being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2008. The decision to take him so early in the draft was something that the media and fans alike continuously questioned, but it is something that is now praised by all. Brown has emerged as one of the best players on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and he was just rewarded for his great play with a large contract.
Wade Smith: A-
Though he is clearly not the best player on the Texans' offensive line, Wade Smith certainly manages to produce for them. He has helped contribute to both of Arian Foster's Pro Bowl seasons, and he is now even more important to the line with the losses of Eric Winston and Mike Brisiel in free agency.
Chris Myers: A
Chris Myers is the unquestioned, quiet leader of the offensive line. Playing at the center position, he ensures each and every down that the line is prepared to run the play out to perfection, and he is also a very apt run blocker. Though he is not the most skilled pass protector due to his lackluster athleticism, Myers is smart and does not allow his weaknesses to affect him. Since he is weak against the bull rush, he makes sure to take early position against power rushing defenders, ensuring that they cannot even start their move. Myers was awarded for his nearly unnoticeable efforts with a Pro Bowl selection last season.
Antoine Caldwell: B-
Antoine Caldwell will be facing a lot of pressure this season. By replacing Brisiel as the team's right guard, all eyes will be on him—and the tackle to his right—as the Texans will attempt to continue their success in the ground game. Caldwell does have starting experience, and he has certainly shown that he has the talent to make the loss of Brisiel go unnoticed. For Caldwell, though, the story is his ability to be able to consistently contribute and not fall into rough patches of being detrimental to the line's success.
Derek Newton: C+
Like Caldwell, Newton will be facing enormous pressure this season. He will be replacing Winston as the team's right tackle, and unlike Caldwell, he has yet to start an NFL game. Though he was the team's swing tackle last season, his lack of starting experience in the NFL is concerning for an offensive line that is expected to be great.
Brandon Brooks: C+
This mass of a man took part in an intense competition with Caldwell for the starting right guard job this offseason. Brooks weighs in as the heaviest player on the Texans' roster at an enormous 346 pounds, and he can absolutely pummel any defensive player. The surprising thing about Brooks, though, is that he is very nimble on his feet for such a heavy man. This allows him to get the right angles on his blocks, and also get downfield into the second level.
Ben Jones: C+
Ben Jones has shown this offseason exactly why the Texans were so pleased to select him in the fourth round of this year's draft. He takes excellent angles on his blocks, and his ability to so completely learn the Texans' playbook has been very encouraging. Despite being listed as a center, he has the skill-set to play guard if it is necessary for him to do so.
Ryan Harris: C+
Ryan Harris is exactly who the Texans needed to pick up after Rashad Butler was placed on the IR with a torn triceps injury. He has a ton of starting experience in the NFL, and if he can manage to prove his critics wrong and stay healthy for a whole season, then he should provide quality depth as the team's swing tackle.
Andrew Gardner: C-
Andrew Gardner, like many of the players on the Texans' offensive line, has very little playing experience in the NFL. He has bounced around the NFL for the majority of his career, and he is hoping that he can find a permanent home in Houston. He has played well so far in the preseason, and he would have been the team's swing tackle if Harris had not been signed.
The Texans' offensive line is going to be a major concern heading into the regular season. A 40 percent turnover on the line occurred in the offseason, and two inexperienced linemen will be starting for the Texans on September 9. The Texans' offense lives and breathes through its rushing attack, and if the offensive line cannot effectively produce, then the result could be scary.