Sean Pendergast

Houston Texans 53 Man Roster Prediction, Version 3.0

Dameon Pierce is looking like a starting running back for the Texans.
Dameon Pierce is looking like a starting running back for the Texans. Photo by Jack Gorman
We've had three weeks of practices and two preseason games for players to make an impression on Lovie Smith and Nick Caserio (and, on film, 31 other NFL front offices, in the event said players get released). Now, it starts to get interesting, with one more preseason game coming up on Thursday against the 49ers, and a handful more practices before the final cutdown date of August 30.

There are some very interesting position battles ongoing in Texans camp, and more than a few surprise names that will make the team, and likewise, some potential surprise cuts. As of Tuesday morning, here is what my 53-man roster would look like (knowing that at least a couple of the Week 1 members of the 53-man roster are probably playing for other teams right now):

QUARTERBACK (2): Davis Mills, Kyle Allen

RUNNING BACK (4): Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Dameon Pierce, Troy Hairston

TIGHT END (3): Brevin Jordan, Pharaoh Brown, Teagan Quitoriano

WIDE RECEIVER (5): Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Moore

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Laremy Tunsil, A.J. Cann, Kenyon Green, Tytus Howard, Justin Britt, Charlie Heck, Justin McCray, Austin Deculus, Scott Quessenberry

DEFENSIVE LINE (10): Roy Lopez, Maliek Collins, Jon Greenard, Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Thomas Booker, Rasheem Green, Kurt Hinish, Obo Okoronkwo, Michael Dwumfour

LINEBACKER (7): Kamu Grugier-Hill, Christian Kirksey, Garret Wallow, Christian Harris, Blake Cashman, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Eric Hansen

CORNERBACK (6): Derek Stingley, Jr., Steven Nelson, Tavierre Thomas, Desmond King, Tremon Smith, Isaac Yiadom

SAFETY (4): Jalen Pitre, Eric Murray, Jonathan Owens, Terrence Brooks

SPECIALISTS (3): Jon Weeks, Cam Johnston, Ka'imi Fairbairn

In summary, here are the changes from the last time we did this exercise, at the outset of training camp:

NEW GUYS IN:
Chris Moore
Troy Hairston
Scott Quessenberry
Obo Okoronkwo
Michael Dwumfour
Eric Hansen

SHOWN THE DOOR:
Chad Beebe
Andy Janovich
Darius Anderson
Max Scharping
Ross Blacklock
Neville Hewitt

A few thoughts on this iteration of the Texans' 2022 roster:

Jeff Driskel has been good, but not good enough
Driskel has unequivocally been one of the heroes of each of the Texans' first two preseason games. He's been the one engineering the game winning drives, and the one throwing the winning touchdown passes in the waning moments. The 2022 training camp version of Driskel is light years ahead of last year's version. That said, roster spots, even on a rebuilding team (hell, ESPECIALLY on a rebuilding team?), are precious, and the fact of the matter is that the Texans can have Driskel sit at home and be ready for a phone call any time there is a QB injury or COVID hits. Nobody is calling Jeff Driskel to make him their backup quarterback.

Churn in the running back room
The running back room for the Texans has gotten interesting. At the top of the depth chart, it may have Marlon Mack listed, but anyone with a working set of eyeballs and access to training camp and tape of the win over the Saints knows that Dameon Pierce is, by far, the best player in that room. I had Darius Anderson in my most recent 53-man projection, but he tore his knee up the next day (MY BAD! I jinxed him!), and the Texans released FB Andy Janovich, so I have Troy Hairston, a converted defensive end now paying fullback, in Janovich's place.

Bye bye, Blacklock (and Scharping)
The biggest takeaway to pull from this version of the 53-man roster is that I am projecting the end of the line for two Texans second round pick disappointments. Scharping, a 2019 second round pick, has had no shortage of opportunity to seize the spot at left guard this training camp, and he still looks lost. Similarly, Blacklock, the Texans' 2020 second round pick, needed a big preseason to secure his spot for another year. He was abysmal on Friday against the Rams, and banged up at practice on Monday. Not good, when you're fighting for a post in one of the deeper position groups on the team. The hourglass is running out of sand for both of these guys.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast