Early Texans 53-man roster projection

Early Texans 53-man roster projection
June 23, 2014, 10:30 am
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It’s still way too early for this. I know. After a month of spring practices, the Texans have a month off before training camp starts.

It’s a little harder to project a 53-man roster this year because there’s a new coach in town. We’ve never seen Bill O’Brien put together a roster, so we’re not sure how he’s going to do it.

“We’ll keep the right 53 for the Houston Texans,” O’Brien said on Thursday. Thanks, Bill.

Anyway, here’s my first guess:

QB (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage, Case Keenum

The Texans made this much easier when they traded T.J. Yates to the Falcons. There’s a possibility the team could bring in another veteran quarterback but they’ll probably end up with these three on the roster. Fitzpatrick is the starter and Savage and Keenum will battle to be the backup.

RB (3): Arian Foster, Alfred Blue, Andre Brown

Foster is a lock. Blue is a draft pick who has looked pretty good so far; there’s no reason not to keep him. Then the final spot will come down to Brown and Dennis Johnson. Brown gets the edge because of experience and because he’s a bigger body to pass protect.

FB (1): Jay Prosch

The Texans drafted a fullback so they’re going to keep one. Prosch beats out Toben Opurum easily.

WR (6): Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin, Mike Thomas, Alan Bonner

There’s a very real possibility the Texans only take five receivers but we’re not sure how to pick just yet. The ultimate locks are Johnson and Hopkins. From there, Posey and Thomas are next. Posey is the only other real outside receiver on the roster and it seems like Thomas is going to win the slot receiver job. From there, Martin and Bonner are left. It’s possible the team won’t want to keep both because they’re similar. Both can play inside and both can return.

TE (3): Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin, C.J. Fiedorowicz

These three are pretty much already decided. Graham is back after signing a new contract. Griffin is coming off a really nice rookie year. And Fiedorowicz is a third-rounder and looks like he has a chance to be a really good player.

OL (9): Duane Brown, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Chris Myers, Brandon Brooks, Will Yeatman, Derek Newton, Ben Jones, Brennan Williams, Cody White

Brown, Jones, Myers, Brooks, Newton and Su’a-Filo are definitely making the team. After that, the team needs some depth. Cody White is a backup guard and Yeatman and Williams are backup tackles. Yeatman and Williams are both coming off knee injuries and haven’t practiced yet, so they’ll need to catch up. Alex Kupper is left off this list but has a chance to make the team. There’s also a really good chance the Texans add a veteran tackle through free agency. In fact, I think they will.

P (1): Shane Lechler

K (1): Randy Bullock

LS (1): Jon Weeks

Lechler and Weeks are the easy ones. I think Bullock will probably beat out Chris Boswell for the kicker job but it’s hard to tell because they haven’t really been kicking much this spring.

DL (6): J.J. Watt, Jared Crick, Louis Nix III, Ricardo Matthews, Tim Jamison, Jerrell Powe

The notable player left off this list is defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan. He was a sixth-round pick but that doesn’t mean he’ll definitely make the team. He hasn’t been able to practice yet, so it’s hard to know what kind of a player he is. If he does get back on the field during training camp, he can beat out Tim Jamison for a roster spot. He could be stashed on IR too. Oh yeah, and that Watt guy is pretty good; we’re fairly certain he’ll make the ballclub.

OLB (5): Jadeveon Clowney, Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus, Ricky Sapp, Justin Tuggle

I’m pretty confident all five of these guys will make the team. Sapp is the last one in but he’s a good special teams player so he gets the nod. Trevardo Williams, a fourth-rounder last year, doesn’t make the team. Tuggle and Reed have been playing inside but it's important to know they can play outside.

ILB (4): Brian Cushing, Jeff Tarpinian, Max Bullough, Akeem Dent

Mike Mohamed would have been in that last spot but the Texans traded Yates for Dent. We haven’t seen Dent in a Texans uniform yet, so he could be anywhere from the starter next to Cushing to a late cut.

CBs (6): Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris, Andre Hal, A.J. Bouye, Elbert Mack

Hal is the last one in. He was a draft pick but hasn’t stood out this spring. Still, he can make the team with a  good showing at training camp. Bouye has a chance to be a pretty good player; he can play inside and outside. And Mack is a really solid special teams player who has been constantly praised by O’Brien.

S (4): D.J. Swearinger, Chris Clemons, Kendrick Lewis, Lonnie Ballentine

Shiloh Keo and Eddie Pleasant, two guys who played a bunch for the 2013 team, are out. In fact, three of the four safeties are new arrivals. Clemons and Lewis were free agent pickups and Ballentine was the last pick in the draft. Ballentine isn’t a lock but a guy who is 6-3, 215 and runs a 4.4 has to be able to help out on special teams.