We take a look at the Houston Texans outside linebackers prior to the opening of the 2014 Training camp.
In Camp: Whitney Mercilus, Ricky Sapp, Jadeveon Clowney, Paul Hazel, Trevardo Williams, Jason Ankrah, Terrance Lloyd, Chris McAllister
On the Spot: Whitney Mercilus is heading into his third season with the Texans and it is time for his game to come together. He has the second most quarterback sacks for the franchise since 2012 with 13 and there is a need for him to become more of an impact player off the edge. He currently has the most experience at the position for the Texans with one full season as a starter. Now it is time to we will see if the new system will suit his playing style under Romeo Crennel who wants his edge players to flash.
Battle to Watch: The Third and Fourth spots on the depth chart are spots open and it is up for Sapp, Hazel, Ankrah, Lloyd and McAllister to take control of those spots. It should not be over looked that Brooks Reed could find his way back to the outside linebackers with Akeem Dent being traded for late in minicamp. This position group is still in question and what they will be able to contribute when the season gets closer.
Offseason Star: There has been justified excitement for the addition of Jadeveon Clowney to the defense and he will be listed as an outside linebacker in title. His job will be rushing the quarterback from every angle and edge position that Romeo Crennel can think of. The Texans offseason improved significantly with the addition of Clowney to the roster and he will add another piece to pass rush that was non existent at times in 2013.
Don’t Be Surprised If: Jason Ankrah makes the transition from playing defensive end to outside linebacker for the Texans. At 6-3 and 262 lbs., he has good movement skills for never playing the stand up position during his time at Nebraska. He has an outside shot of cracking the 53 man roster, but the practice squad is a high possibility for the rookie.