Shaping up for training camp.
As a fan of the Houston Texans (if you are one), you may already know this, and if you didn't know this, you will find out repeatedly throughout the preseason and the early part of the regular season.
Sure, we all know about the privileges on draft night. First overall pick, Clowney, first pick in every round, "A second is really like a first! A third is really like a second!", blah blah blah... Well, there is also another key privilege that manifests itself frequently throughout the "roster construction" phase this summer, and that's being at the front of the one for any waiver cuts throughout the league.
Yes, the Texans essentially get dibs on other teams' garbage as they put it on the curb. It's like they're the most privileged homeless person ever!
As a result, the depth chart is probably going to look like a sea of revolving doors until Bill O'Brien determines he has the group he's ready to hit the over on 7/5 wins with.
The waiver aspect will become more of a "thing" as training camp unfolds and other teams begin to make cuts. In the meantime, the churn and burn on the existing roster continues.
It started this week with 2013 third round pick offensive tackle Brennan Williams being let go with injury concerns, and it continued yesterday with fullback Brad Smelley (and his unfortunate last name) being cut loose along with defensive lineman Tim Jackson. On the "add" side of the ledger was tight end Chris Coyle, an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State.
On Wednesday, the Texans finally made it official, trying to shore up their precariously thin tackle depth chart by signing Tyson Clabo, who started 15 games for the Miami Dolphins and apparently made it through the entire season without bullying or being bullied, a rarity on the Miami 2013 offensive line.
The ties to the Texans for Clabo are obvious, with his having played for offensive line coach Paul Dunn in Atlanta and with former Dolphin personnel guy Brian Gaine heading up scouting for the Texans, and with Derek Newton's being named the starter almost by default, Clabo has a decent look at the starting gig here.
So with the moving parts somewhat stationary for now, let's take a totally ridiculous and early stab at the 53 man roster, knowing full well that Bill O'Brien and Rick Smith could be making so many moves that Daryl Morey looks patient by comparison. Let's start with the locks (bet your life, or at least the life of someone you really like a lot) to make the team...
QUARTERBACK (2): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage I'm not ready to put Keenum here, although I think Savage would have to show virtual genius levels of football IQ to get to the point where O'Brien feels comfortable with him as the backup with no veteran safety net. But I'm not ready to bet the life of a good friend yet on Keenum.
RUNNING BACK (3): Arian Foster, Andre Brown, Alfred Blue To be clear, I am betting a close friend's life on Andre Brown making the team assuming he is healthy. The way-too-early 53 man is not a prediction of health, it's a prediction of skill. Blue, by the way, is the only non-QB third day draft pick I have as a lock. Dude is a beast.
TIGHT END (3): Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin I don't feel great about Griffin here, only because of the "semi-fringe player from previous regime" corollary. But I will stand up for my UConn guys. ***realizes Trevardo Williams went to UConn, too....chugs whiskey....smacks face with hammer***
WIDE RECEIVER (3): Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Thomas Thomas can catch all the Hail Mary deflections as a Texan now. Also, yes, I'm betting on Andre Johnson being with the team in Week One.
OFFENSIVE LINE (6): Duane Brown, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Chris Myers, Brandon Brooks, Derek Newton, Tyson Clabo I think Derek Newton could easily lose his starting to Clabo, but still think he's a lock to make the team, assuming he's truly made strides and O'Brien's naming him the starter wasn't just a "well crap, we need to name someone" situation.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (2): Louis Nix III, Jerrell Powe Nix is on the preseason PUP list, but it sounds precautionary. Let's hope so.
DEFENSIVE END (2): J.J. Watt, Jared Crick Jared Crick. Starter. Yeah, go ahead. Be scared.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (2): Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (2): Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus CORNERBACK (2): Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson SAFETY (3): D.J. Swearinger, Chris Clemons, Kendrick Lewis If you're looking for a tangible indicator of the depth concerns, just take note that the only ones I'm willing to bet my life on making the team are pretty much the penciled in starters. Also, note one of those starters is Brooks Reed and one is Whitney Mercilus.
LONG SNAPPER (1): Jon Weeks PUNTER (1): Shane Lechler Moving along....
So we are at a total of 32 players. So let's fill in a few more that we feel decent about...
33. Case Keenum, QB3 34. Jay Prosch, FB1 (release of Smelley a solid indicator here) 35. Ben Jones, G/C (OL7) 36. Will Yeatman, T (OL8) 37. Tim Jamison, DE3 38. Geoffrey Pagan, DE4 39. RIcky Sapp, OLB3 40. Elbert Mack, CB3
Wow, this is not a deep team at all. Let's keep trying to do this....someone's gotta win that WR battle, so let's add...
41. DeVier Posey, WR4
....and another offensive lineman
42. Cody White, OL9
....and another defensive tackle
43. Ricardo Mathews, DT3
44. A.J. Bouye, CB4
45. Brandon Harris, CB5
46. Lonnie Ballentine, S4 47. Eddie Pleasant, S5
....ok, forgot, we need a couple inside linebackers, step right up, kid....
48. Max Bullough, ILB3 49. Akeem Dent, ILB4
50. Justin Tuggle, OLB4 51. Jeff Tarpinian, ILB5 (total hunch, plus his brother follows me on Twitter)
....now a 5th WR, Bonner or Martin, Martin or Bonner....when in doubt, pick agaist the class of 2013
52. Keshawn Martin, WR5
And finally, we need someone to kick the damn ball....
53. Chris Boswell, K
The road to eight wins starts here, people....