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Texans' D-line young, promising

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Posted April 21, 2010 @ 3:44 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The best could be ahead for a Texans defensive line that doesn't have a lineman who will be older than 28 years of age as of Week One currently on the roster. DE Mario Williams, just 25, has three seasons of nine sacks or more and two Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. Fourth-year DT Amobi Okoye, who doesn't turn 23 until June 10, flashed intriguing pass-rush ability at the beginning of his career and is stout vs. the run. Even the oldest lineman of the group, DE Antonio Smith, who turns 29 in October, has the potential to get better in his second season in the Texans' system. All of his 4½ sacks in 2009 came in the final nine games of the season. Second-year DE Connor Barwin, 23, is expected to get more playing time and doesn't lack for upside as a pass rusher; he enters only his third season as a full-time defensive end after playing the position for just one year in college.

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