The Texans OL was not a good run blocking unit last season. The basic stats tell us this, the advanced stats tell us this and the eye test tells us this. When all three pillars of evaluation line up and provide the same answer, they aren't lying. Anyone can tell you the Texans need to improve the OL but which positions should be prioritized and with which players can they do so?
As the roster currently stands, the tackle positions should be locked down with Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. The Center position, held down by Justin Britt last year, seems to be running it back. Britt is one of the most respected players who is mentioned as a leader by teammates, coaches and execs. His two-year, nine million dollar contract makes him the 16th-highest paid C in the NFL, an indication of what Caserio thinks he provides.
The right guard spot appears to have a new starter in AJ Cann. The seven-year starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars is clearly one of George Warhop's guys and barring looking like a shell of himself post season-ending MCL injury in 2021, should be the penciled-in starter. Cann has been known for his run blocking prowess and the Texans will be hoping they can get the 2019 version who was a solid starter, rather than the 2020 and 2021 version who was a weak link.
That leaves one spot in the projected starting five that needs a clear upgrade. At left guard, the Texans have played a messy game of musical chairs between Max Scharping, Justin McCray and even Tytus Howard. Getting a starter quality player here would remove the weakest link in the chain and no, the answer should not be Howard, who is a good TACKLE.
With the interior offensive line market dried up in free agency and barring a surprise trade, Caserio will have to look to the 2022 Draft where he'll have 11 chances to find the LG of the future. Selecting a physical mauler who meets the physical measurements that Warhop desires will be pivotal.
The Texans could select Boston College's Zion Johnson as high as 13. Texas A&M's Kenyon Green is the next best option and has been falling to pick 37 in a majority of mock drafts. These are the two prospects who have the best chance at starting early in their career, with Johnson being particularly pro-ready after five seasons of starting experience and Green starting at every position but Center for the Aggies.
If I had to bet, Caserio is going to trade down from either 3 or 13 and selecting Johnson or Green in the 20s would be a wise pick that provides better value than moving Evan Neal or Ikem . Both linemen provide a physical presence to pave lanes on the ground, with Green having the size advantage over Johnson, who is the far better pass protector between the two.