Lamar Miller, Brock Osweiler highlight at least five new starters on Texans' offense

The Houston Texans open training camp July 29, with their first practices July 31 at Houston Methodist Training Center. Here's a starting lineup projection:


Quarterback (Brock Osweiler): The Texans paid him $72 million over four years with $37 million in guarantees in hopes of finally ending their quarterback carousel.

Running back (Lamar Miller): Part of the Texans' big free-agent haul, Miller adds speed and versatility to the backfield.

Receiver (DeAndre Hopkins): The team picked up his fifth-year option and ensured having him in the fold in 2017, but if the Texans don't extend Hopkins' contract this offseason, he'll play 2016 with a chip on his shoulder.

Receiver (Jaelen Strong): Strong has impressed the Texans with the turnaround he has made since his rookie year and, at least early, they'll count on him here.

Receiver (Cecil Shorts): He took a pay cut to remain with the Texans and offers a veteran presence for an otherwise young receivers room, but Shorts also will be the Texans' best option at slot receiver to start the season.

Tight end (C.J. Fiedorowicz): The Texans have targeted tight ends less than any other team in the past two seasons, and that isn't how they like to do things.

Left tackle (Duane Brown): His recovery from a torn right quad tendon and the subsequent surgery is the biggest question mark, but Brown should be ready for the season.

Left guard (Xavier Su'a-Filo): The first pick of the second round in 2014, Su'a-Filo came with big expectations. This will be a pivotal season for him.

Center (Nick Martin): The Texans have an option to start veteran Tony Bergstrom here, but they drafted Martin in the second round this year for this role.

Right guard (Jeff Allen): Allen, who replaces Brandon Brooks, brings a toughness the Texans covet.

Right tackle (Derek Newton): Gone are the days when Newton's status with the Texans came into question. He isn't perfect, but offers consistency on a line filled with change.


Defensive end (J.J. Watt): He won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors after a season in which he played with a broken hand, five torn core muscles, a herniated disc in his back, and (for one game) a flu-like illness. Imagine how he'll do healthy.

Nose tackle (Vince Wilfork): Wilfork might help to usher in his successor, but until then he'll start for the Texans.

Defensive end (Devon Still): He's known better for his daughter's fight against cancer, but Still has a legitimate chance to start opposite Watt.

Outside linebacker (Jadeveon Clowney): The third-year player has said he wants to dominate the league, but he'll need to stay healthy for a chance to do that.

Inside linebacker (Brian Cushing): Another healthy offseason under his belt has Cushing feeling optimistic.

Inside linebacker (Benardrick McKinney): Cushing says he and McKinney have developed the kind of chemistry Cushing once had with DeMeco Ryans.

Outside linebacker (Whitney Mercilus): With 12, he had his first double-digit sack season in the year after the Texans gave him a four-year extension.

Cornerback (Johnathan Joseph): He's a stabilizing veteran presence in the Texans' defensive backfield who still has miles left.

Safety (Andre Hal): Converted from cornerback last season, Hal established himself with four interceptions and one pick-six.

Safety (Quintin Demps): The journeyman safety had a knack for big plays last season and earned the starting role.

Cornerback (Kareem Jackson/Kevin Johnson): Both Johnson and Jackson started 10 games last season, as the Texans often open with three corners on the field.

Special teams

Kicker (Ka'imi Fairbairn): There's a legitimate competition here, and incumbent Nick Novak could beat out this undrafted rookie.

Punter (Shane Lechler): The great punter will be 40 in this, his 17th season.

Long-snapper (Jon Weeks): You don't notice a long-snapper until he messes up, and Weeks is nearly invisible during games.