Early projection of Texans’ 53-man roster

Early projection of Texans’ 53-man roster
June 20, 2013, 9:00 am
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Yeah, it’s really early, still about another month until training camp. But here’s my first prediction of what the Texans’ 53-man roster will look like.

We’ll get a much better idea of the actual roster once we get into training camp. Once that happens, we’ll see how bad some injuries are and how good players look in pads. But for now, here’s what we have:

QBs (3): Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum

There won’t be much arguing about this. There’s talk about Case Keenum challenging T.J. Yates for the second-string job. If we’re doing that, it’s safe to assume he’s going to beat out Stephen McGee for a roster spot.

WRs (6): Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean, Alan Bonner, Jeff Maehl

Andre Johnson is pretty good. We think he’ll make this team. Jeff Maehl sneaks in here because DeVier Posey is probably going to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. If he doesn’t, that spot would be his. Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean had good springs and Alan Bonner looks like he’ll compete to be a returner.

TEs (3): Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin

Phillip Supernaw, from Katy, had a chance to make the team but injured his foot early in OTAs and gave up a lot of snaps to Ryan Griffin, the sixth-round pick out of UConn. Griffin has looked good and has a really good shot to make the team.

RB (3): Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Cierre Wood

The only one in question here is Cierre Wood. He’s battling veteran Deji Karim and rookie Dennis Johnson for the roster spot. Wood just seems like a better runner, even though Johnson has been really impressive. Wood is the kind of guy who might end up being a No. 2 next season. Johnson makes the team if he shows the Texans during training camp that he can be a real force on special teams.

FB (1): Greg Jones

Greg Jones was brought in from Jacksonville and is one of the better blocking fullbacks in the league. Vonta Leach probably won’t end up with Houston. If he did … then two fullbacks, which is unusual.

OL (9): Duane Brown, Wade Smith, Chris Myers, Ben Jones, Brandon Brooks, Derek Newton, Brennan Williams, Ryan Harris, Cody White

Most of these are pretty easy to figure out. David Quessenberry has looked good through the spring but the Texans probably won’t carry five tackles, which means he might be the odd one out, as hard as that will be to do.

Some people will suggest that Ryan Harris misses the cut but he provides some much needed veteran depth. If Derek Newton or Brennan Williams can’t get healthy, this could obviously change. Quessenberry, with these nine on the team, would ideally end up on the practice squad. It’s the same thing the team did with Nick Mondek last year, when they used a sixth-rounder on him.

K (1): Randy Bullock

P (1): Shane Lechler  

LS (1): Jon Weeks

No surprises with the special teams guys.

DL (6): J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith, David Hunter, Earl Mitchell, Jared Crick, Terrell McClain

You’ll notice the absence of Chris Jones, the sixth-round pick. We’ll have to see these guys in pads but it looks like Terrell McClain might be ahead of him as the backup nose tackle and it seems unlikely they’ll carry three.

For now, David Hunter is on the roster because Tim Jamison’s returning from an Achilles injury. We want to see how he looks in training camp. If he’s OK, he’ll be there instead.  
    
OLB (6): Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus, Bryan Braman, Trevardo Williams, Sam Montgomery, Willie Jefferson

Notice we have Brooks Reed on the outside. That’s probably where he’ll end up playing. Bryan Braman, Trevardo Williams and Willie Jefferson would make for some really good special teams players. Yes, six outside linebackers is a lot but that’s what they have a surplus of.

ILB (3): Brian Cushing, Darryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins

Only three? Yeah, it’s a little outside-the-box but here’s the reasoning: If one of these guys gets hurt, they just slide Reed inside to play, so really, they have four guys who can play inside linebacker, which is what they need.

If someone does get hurt, the team will hope it’s later in the season when either Sam Montgomery or Williams will be ready to start outside. It’s also very possible the fourth inside ’backer isn’t on the roster yet.

CB (6): Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain, Brandon Harris, Roc Carmichael, A.J. Bouye

A.J. Bouye edges out Johnny Adams for the last corner spot. Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael looked good through minicamp. Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson have the potential to be one of the better corner duos in the league.

S (4): Ed Reed, Danieal Manning, D.J. Swearinger, Shilo Keo

Hard to argue these four. And, yes, Keo is ahead of Eddie Pleasant. Pleasant might sneak on the roster if Reed isn’t healthy. In that case, Bouye might be out and the team might want to carry five safeties to start.