Houston Texans preseason opener: Three defensive players to watch

The Houston Texans took a huge leap forward last season in the takeaway department, but still struggled mightily in the pass-and-run game.

The good news is that the Texans have added a plethora of talented players throughout the draft and free agency and that should lead their Lovie Smith-led defense to have some serious progression in 2022.

Here are three defensive players to watch throughout their preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints:

Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock

Ross Blacklock has shown flashes when given the chance, but the consistency isn’t there yet for the former second-round pick. Blacklock is entering his third year in the league and has a lot to prove. For now, Roy Lopez and Maliek Collins are week one starters, but if Blacklock can continue his strong offseason and show off in the preseason, there’s definitely room for the former. TOS standout to carve out a role on the defensive line.

Linebacker Blake Cashman

Blake Cashman is a former fifth-round pick of the New York Jets in 2019. Cashman showed flashes of his ability to play throughout his early years in the league, but the issue was always his health. Cashman has had a serious injury problem, but that hasn’t been the case in Houston. Cashman has had an impressive camp and consistently shows off his 4.5 speed and aggressive style of play. He is a player to watch.

Security Jalen Pitre

It is not yet known how many Pitre will play throughout the pre-season, but the former Baylor star has continued to draw rave reviews from everyone around him throughout his first training camp and will have a serious impact every moment he is on the pitch. Texans head coach Lovie Smith recently said Pitre would be a starter for the team going forward.

The Texans defense should have their hands full with Saints first-round pick Chris Olave and it will be interesting to see which players step in.