INDIANAPOLIS -- Stonewalling pass rushers is what sets Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil apart from other blockers around the league.
Tunsil is extremely athletic with polished technique and outstanding size and strength.
What Tunsil wasn't last season was healthy and available due to undergoing surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb suffered against the New England Patriots. The injury ended his season as he remained on injured reserve and him not returning as soon as former coach David Culley originally projected, a four-week recovery estimate, raised some questions about his future with the Texans given his three-year, $66 million contract and being due a $17.85 million base salary in 2022 and $18.5 million in 2023.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio met with Tunsil after the season, but made no commitment or lack of commitment toward the former Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick when asked about his status at the NFL scouting combine.
“I don’t want to get into some of the things we talked about, but we’ll see how it goes here once we get moving," Caserio said. "We’re kind of going through the whole team-building process as we speak. So, we’ve got a lot of players that are under contract, so we’ll be pretty busy here the next couple of weeks. But you know, Laremy’s under contract. He’s been a good player for us, so we’ll kind of see how it all goes.”
The Texans hold the third overall pick with some mock drafts projecting Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal to them, or North Carolina State offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu. The Texans have some flexibility even if they don't draft a tackle as Tunsil could play left tackle with Tytus Howard moving back to his natural right tackle spot and Charlie Heck operating as the swing tackle.
When the Texans introduced new offensive line coach George Warhop, he said he hadn't spoken yet with Tunsil.
“I will reach out," Warhop said. "You got to understand. It’s been a whirlwind at this point. We’ll have plenty of time to talk. So, at this point, I’m watching tape. We’re talking about offense. So, I’ve barely had enough time to call my wife at this point. So, I’m going to love Laremy Tunsil, but I love my wife. So, I’m always going to make sure I’m calling her. When I get to him, I will get to him.”
Meanwhile, Caserio weighed in on veteran offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.
Cannon is recovering from back surgery to repair a herniated disk.
If the Texans moved on from the 33-year-old former New England Patriots starter, they would save $5.2 million against the salary cap.
Caserio was complimentary of Cannon, who started four games before his back got aggravated.
“Durability has been the main thing that’s prohibited him from maybe being a better player, but when he was out there, I think he actually probably played hurt, showed a lot of mental, physical toughness,"Caserio said. "I think it speaks to who Marcus is as a person and a player.”