Undoubtedly defense is the strength of the Houston Texans -- it has been for a while now.
This is the side of the ball where the Texans spent the most money this offseason and where their most high-profile moves came. Because of that, the Texans' defense lacks the uncertainty its offense does. Let's take a look at where the roster stands on the defensive side of the ball.
Analysis: That J.J. Watt is part of this group automatically makes it a strength of the team, and Crick had a strong 2014 season as well. The Texans' depth at defensive end could cause them trouble if tested. Pagan, a 2014 draft pick, got better during the season, but we don't know how he'd play with a full load of snaps and if the Texans are lucky they won't need to know that. McLeod, Pettinato and Coleman are undrafted rookie pickups.
Analysis: The depth here is decent and the headliner here is Wilfork, who is an upgrade from Ryan Pickett, who played a similar role for the Texans last season. I expect Wilfork to have a more expansive role than Pickett, though, as Pickett only played in 25.3 percent of the Texans' defensive snaps last season. The Texans are also expecting Wilfork to help Nix's development as he enters his second year. The Texans had undrafted rookie Brandon Ivory in this group until Ivory's arrest on burglary charges which prompted his release.
Analysis: This is a group filled with potential, starting with Clowney who is still recovering from the December microfracture surgery performed on his right knee. The intent of the surgery and its subsequent rehab was for Clowney to return to being the deft and powerful pass-rusher his talent allows. This could be a fairly deep group, having three starting-caliber outside linebackers once Clowney returns to full health and joins Mercilus and Simon. Trail, a 6-foot-7 undrafted rookie, looked intriguing during organized team activities and minicamp, though it's hard to judge outside linebackers in workouts that don't include pads.
Analysis: I'm including Hal in this group as he's learned the safety position this offseason. It's an interesting group that looks very different from what the Texans fielded last season when Kendrick Lewis and D.J. Swearinger were the Texans' starters. Moore will replace Lewis. Brown has played both free and strong safety, though he was at his best when he played primarily free safety. Ballentine, who was on injured reserve last season, has drawn compliments from Texans coach Bill O'Brien.
Analysis: This was not a position of need for the Texans going into the draft, but you can never have too many corners, so they bolstered it anyway with Johnson, their first-round pick this year. It's also important not to overlook Bouye, who played through an injury last season and had shoulder surgery in the offseason. Bouye saw a lot of playing time last year -- he was in the top 10 in defensive snaps played despite missing two games, serving as one of the Texans' outside corners when Jackson moved inside last season.