Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith has gone to painstaking efforts to keep us all from limiting our view of the team to just the 53 man roster. Every chance he gets, he reminds media and fans that it's really a 70-man roster — the regular 53, the 16-man practice squad, and then one international player who carries a roster exemption.
For a team like the Texans, the practice squad actually carries more importance because of the place they're in as a franchise. They are rebuilding, and thus the practice squad becomes a place where they can stash some young players. Also, because the Texans' talent level isn't all that high, there is theoretically a better chance practice squad guys for the Texans may see the field than if they were on a better team.
So, with that said, the Texans spent all morning Wednesday inviting some players waived on Tuesday back into the building, and even picking up an old friend from off the street. Here is the initial version of the Houston Texans' 2022 practice squad:
TE Jordan Akins
RB Marlon Mack
LB Kevin Pierre Louis
S Grayland Arnold
CB Tristin McCollum
C Jimmy Morrissey
WR Jalen Camp
CB Jacobi Francis
QB Jeff Driskel
DE Demone Harris
WR Drew Estrada
WR Johnny Johnson III
TE Mason Schreck
DL Adedayo Odeleye
A few thoughts on this group:
Welcome back, Jordan Akins!
Now, those are four words I never thought I'd be saying, but here we are. Akins had signed with the Giants this past offseason after playing out his four year rookie deal as a Texan from 2018 through 2021. For a fifth year player, Akins is an older player (30 years old) because of a professional baseball career out of high school, before playing football at Central Florida. Each preseason over the last three years, it became a tradition to expect Akins to finally take that next step. Tight end is still a position where the Texans need talent, so maybe there's a happy ending to the Akins story, but this one caught me off guard.
Marlon Mack isn't completely out of our lives yet.
Mack was one of the more surprising cuts on Tuesday, not because he is anything special as a football player, but because the Texans' running back room is still somewhat talent deficient, the thinking had been that there would be a spot for a former 1,000-yard rusher. On the 53-man roster, there was not, but Mack chose to come back to the Texans and bide his time for an opportunity in Houston. I think, other than Dameon Pierce, this team's running back room is a massive work in progress with a myriad of moving parts.
Grayland Arnold is the player on the practice squad I am most excited about in the future.
Of all the young players on the practice squad, the one I am most hoping makes his way up to the 53-man roster is Arnold, a third year defensive back out of Baylor. I had him in my final 53-man roster, but Nick Caserio chose to hang onto veteran Eric Murray instead, perhaps because Murray would have cost more to cut than to keep in Salary cap terms. Arnold made more plays in the win over the Rams in the preseason than Murray made during all of training camp and the preseason games. Arnold was excellent on special teams, as well.
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