[EDITOR’S NOTE: WE ARE ASKING EACH OF OUR JOCKS TO DECIDE IF A BUBBLE PLAYER FOR THE HOUSTON TEXANS IS GOING TO MAKE THE CUT AND BE ON TEAM’S 53-MAN ROSTER OR MISS THE CUT AND BE CUT BY THE TEAM. THE SECOND OF THE SERIES IS BY CODY STOOTS – IN THE LOOP 10A-2P – ON DEFENSIVE LINEMAN BRANDON DUNN]
Brandon Dunn is going to make the Texans. I know this for sure. His path to the Texans 53-man roster certainly hasn’t been easy and there has been a little luck along the way, but now skill will push the 23-year-old onto the roster.
He went undrafted out of Louisville in 2014 and spent most of the year on the Bears practice squad. Next season he outlasted plenty of players before ending up on the practice squad again. He moved between the active roster and the practice squad before he found a new home in Houston with the Texans in October of last year. He proceeded to play 12 games for the team.
Now, heading into the 2016 season he finds himself in a fight for a spot with veterans and new faces alike. Dunn possesses one important attribute the Texans covet on their rosters: versatility. He can play the nose tackle and end spot along the defensive line. He has a slight head start on new faces, like Devon Still and Joel Heath, having played for the Texans last year and more playing experience than say, Jeoffery Pagan.
He has flashed the most of the rotating members of the defensive ends so far outside of Christian Covington. He is stout and while he lacks playmaking ability he can get dirty work done. The Texans will need someone to fill the inglorious role opposite J.J. Watt upon his return. That position requires a grinder and someone who know their role and that can be Dunn.
Think about the times Jared Crick ended up making a play when Watt sent plays his way, and then realize Dunn is a similar player with a little more run-stopping potential and a bit less pass-rushing potential. Dirty-work Dunn could be his nickname. In fact, I think I will push for that to be his job when he takes snaps opposite Watt. Want proof of his workman, lunch pail, attitude? He played defensive line and offensive line in high school being the best one for both sides of the ball.
He doesn’t possess the upside a Covington does, but he could spell Covington should he occupy the role opposite Watt and could help add depth to the nose tackle spot with D.J. Reader being the lone person behind Vince Wilfork right now. He fits better in a 4-3 defense but to his benefit the Texans often find the room for a four-man defensive line increasing Dunn’s ability ever so slightly.
My concern for him would be if Pagan starts playing better and Reader continues to show promise. If Pagan comes on strong then the team likely keeps him having invested a draft pick on him a few years ago. If Reader continues to develop then his usefulness hinders Dunn’s versatility as a positive attribute and eliminating the depth argument in his positives.
If the Texans had to figure out their 53-man roster tomorrow then there is no doubt in my mind Dunn would be there. The longer camp goes on the greater chance Dunn could be caught in his race to earn one of the coveted spots on the team, but as I see it now plan on seeing Dunn. Number 92 in your programs and somewhere like 41st in your hearts on gameday.