After talking to him during the NFL Combine in February and then seeing him in a workout of local players, Kubiak decided to give the NCAA record-breaking quarterback a shot last week as an unsigned college free agent. Now, only time will tell if Keenum will be able to impress enough to make the team during training camp as the Texans third-string quarterback behind Matt Schaub and second-year quarterback T.J. Yates.
Keenum had hoped to hear his name called in the NFL Draft following four stellar seasons with the Cougars, but all teams passed on him during the seven-round draft. There have been questions about his ability to make certain NFL throws and his decision-making ability after playing in the Cougars’ quick strike system for five years.
But obviously the Texans thought he was a safe gamble as a free agent Kubiak didn’t waste any time scooping him last Sunday and signing him to a contract.
“I just think he fits what we do. He can move, he’s smart,” Kubiak said. “It’s a good fresh start for him.
“I know he’s disappointed not getting drafted, but it may work out well for him, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Keenum has already began making himself familiar with his new team and teammates. In fact, Schaub has already reached out to him.
“Obviously it was a tough weekend for him; he’s one of the best players college football has seen for many years and I know that was tough for him not to get drafted,” Schaub said during Monday’s Texans Golf Charity event. “But we’re excited to have him part of our team and a part of our group, so I just reached out to share a few words with him, and it was a good conversation.”
Interestingly, Keenum should benefit from Schaub’s limitations during OTA’s (organized team activity) and the upcoming minicamps. Schaub, who is still recovering from the foot injury that forced him to miss the last month of the regular season and the playoffs, will only participate in non team drills and likely will not be fully cleared until the team reports for training camp this summer.
In the meantime, that will allow both Yates and Keenum to take all of the team reps to become even more familiar with the offense. Yates, of course, finished out last season as the Texans starter and guided them to the playoffs after spending most of the season as the rookie third-string quarterback who did not suit up for games.
That role could belong to Keenum this season, though Kubiak has not ruled out bringing in another quarterback to compete for the third string spot. It could either be a veteran or another young guy, Kubiak said.
“There’s a couple of veterans out there,” he said, “there’s a lot of free agent guys out there still looking for an opportunity, so we’ll see.”