Projecting Houston Texans Starting Lineup Pre-2014 NFL Draft

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Projecting Houston Texans Starting Lineup Pre-2014 NFL Draft
USA TODAY Sports

The finish line that is the 2014 NFL draft is in sight and the sprint is on. The intensity of speculation regarding the Houston Texans and their intentions for the first overall pick is at a rolling boil.

The discussion has expanded from if Houston will take Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel or Khalil Mack to whether moving down to No. 6 with the Atlanta Falcons is the likely maneuver.

While much of the behind-the-scenes activity has been devoted to getting the draft board in order, the front office and revamped coaching staff assembled by Bill O’Brien is likely dealing with more mundane matters. This includes determining how many players on the current roster are capable of starting in the season opener.

A team does not go from Super Bowl contender to a 2-14 cellar-dweller largely due to the misfortune of injuries and the record-setting misdeeds of a scattershot quarterback.

Football Outsiders ranked the Texans at No. 18 in their Adjusted Games Lost ranking, meaning there were 17 NFL teams that were more affected by injuries. Matt Schaub and his four consecutive games with a pick-six exposed the fragile psyche of a squad that was less than the sum of its parts.

Most of those parts still remain, with Schaub, Ben Tate, Owen Daniels, Antonio Smith and Danieal Manning as the most notable absences. The offensive and defensive systems concocted by Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips have been replaced by those of O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.

Some would contend the bulk of these changes amounts to addition by subtraction. You can judge that for yourself after this preliminary projection of the 2014 starting lineup is reviewed.

 

*All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference (PFR) and Pro Football Focus (PFF, subscription required) unless otherwise noted. Salary data provided courtesy of Spotrac.com (subscription required for Premium Stats)

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