Houston (CBS Houston) – Come August 31st at 5:00 pm (CST) the Texans must cut their roster down to 53 players. To understand which players have a chance to make the roster, it’s important to understand the spots available.
Before going through the position by position breakdown, this projection has a number of assumptions:
- The Texans keep 3 quarterbacks. They’ve kept two before but it’s unlikely they could sneak Case Keenum onto the practice squad.
- Trevardo Williams and Sam Montgomery will make the team. Unless they go on injured reserve, it’s too early to let them go.
- DeVier Posey does not start the season on the PUP.
- Ed Reed does not start the season on the PUP.
With those out of the way, let’s look at the roster position by position to determine how many truly open roster spots there are.
Next to the position title in parentheses are the number or roster spots the position will take up at a minimum. A blank or _________ notes where there is a spot but the camp battle remains ongoing.
Special Teams (3): Shane Lechler, John Weeks, and Randy Bullock.
Nothing to see here. They’re all locks.
Quarterback (3): Matt Schaub, TJ Yates, and Case Keenum.
Running Back (3): Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and _________ (Could be Ray Graham, Dennis Johnson, Deji Karim, or Cierre Wood)
This is one of the toughest camp battles to evaluate. The tiebreaker will come down to their ability to contribute to special teams. Deji Karim has the edge in that category.
Fullback (1): Greg Jones
Tyler Clutts or Zach Boren could make the squad but they would have to be special teams contributors.
Tight End (3): Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham, and Ryan Griffin.
Griffin has been a nice surprise for a sixth round draft pick putting himself in position to make the team.
Wide Receiver (5): Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keshawn Martin, DeVier Posey, and _________(Either Alan Bonner or Lestar Jean)
Alec Lemon and EZ Nwachukwu are long shots at best.
Offensive Line (9): Duane Brown, Wade Smith, Ben Jones, Chris Myers, Brandon Brooks, Ryan Harris, Derek Newton, David Quessenberry, and _____________.
If Brennan Williams is healthy and not on IR the 9th spot is his. If he’s on IR then it could open the door for someone like the newly acquired Nathan Menkin. Cody White is also a name to keep an eye on. The Texans cut Trindon Holliday last year to clear the way for White.
Defensive Back (9): Ed Reed, Danieal Manning, Shiloh Keo, D.J. Swearinger, Johnathan Joseph, Brice McCain, Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris, and __________ (Could be Roc Carmichael or A.J. Bouye among others.)
Depending on the Texans faith in Ed Reed’s health they could keep 10 defensive backs.
Defensive line (6): J.J. Watt, Earl Mitchell, Antonio Smith, Jared Crick, Tim Jamison, __________. (This will most likely be a guy that can play nose. Could be Terrell McClain, Daniel Muir, Chris Jones, or David Hunter)
Inside Linebacker (4): Brian Cushing, Joe Mays, Tim Dobbins, and Daryl Sharpton.
Outside Linebacker (5): Whitney Mercilus, Brooks Reed, Tevardo Williams, Sam Montgomery, and Brian Braman.
If they decide to keep 6 Willie Jefferson, Cameron Collins, and Justin Tuggle would be in the mix.
That’s 51 roster spots, with five up for grabs based on position, leaving two ‘at large’ spots available.
The positions where spots are available are running back, offensive line, defensive back, defensive line, and wide receiver.
The final two ‘at large’ spots could be used to:
- Bolster depth on the offensive line, where Wade Smith’s health is now a concern.
- Keep another defensive back if the Texans are worried about Ed Reed’s health. They have kept at least 10 in the last two years.
- Keep a sixth outside linebacker.
- Keep a player that coaches think is too valuable to let go or try to put on the practice squad.