Texans DE Jonathan Greenard is a strong candidate to breakout in 2022

Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard has shown plenty of promise through his first two seasons, and 2022 may be the year the former third-round pick from Florida finally touches his ceiling.

According to Michael Renner from Pro Football Focus, Greenard is one of 10 players expected to breakout in his third season.

This one may be cheating, as Greenard was tremendous last season, but it was on limited time. He only played 414 snaps in 2021, earning an 89.2 pass-rushing grade. These weren’t fluke plays — he has some of the best hand usage of any young pass-rusher in the NFL. Greenard has a whole host of moves at his disposal to go along with nearly 35-inch arms. That’s a winning combination even if we didn’t get to see it over the course of a full season.

Greenard did not take a live team rep during the Texans’ offseason program, but he is expected to take part in training camp.

Last season, Greenard started in all 12 games played and tallied 33 combined tackles, nine tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, and 8.0 sacks, the most by a Texans defender since 2019 when outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus recorded 7.5. The 6-3, 263-pound edge rusher also collected two forced fumbles and four pass breakups.

Greenard will need to have a strong showing in 2022 as the Texans will be able to negotiate with the Hiram, Ga., product during the 2023 offseason. Greenard signed a standard four-year rookie contract in 2020. The upcoming season will also show the Texans whether or not Greenard has reached his potential and what he can provide for the defense long-term. If Greenard can’t meet the defense’s needs as a dominant edge rusher, the team will have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL draft to use on an effective edge rusher. Greenard breaking out in 2022 should keep the Texans from making that decision.

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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire