We are two weeks into Houston Texans' training camp, and while it's been fun watching some of the younger players thrive and improve, I think everyone is itching for some real football — fans, players, coaches, everyone. That will come soon enough, with the Saints coming to town this Saturday for the first preseason game of the year.
But impressions have been made, positive and negative, and it's fun to forecast what the 53 man roster would like if the actual regular season were to start this weekend. This is our second stab at this exercise this preseason, so without further ado, here is Version 2.0 of the Pendergast Predicted Houston Texans 53-man roster:
QUARTERBACK (2): Davis Mills, Kyle Allen
RUNNING BACK (5): Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Dameon Pierce, Darius Anderson, Andy Janovich
TIGHT END (3): Brevin Jordan, Pharaoh Brown, Teagan Quitoriano
WIDE RECEIVER (5): Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett, Chad Beebe
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Laremy Tunsil, A.J. Cann, Kenyon Green, Tytus Howard, Justin Britt, Charlie Heck, Justin McCray, Max Scharping, Austin Deculus
DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Roy Lopez, Maliek Collins, Jon Greenard, Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Ross Blacklock, Thomas Booker, Rasheem Green, Kurt Hinish
LINEBACKER (7): Kamu Grugier-Hill, Christian Kirksey, Garret Wallow, Christian Harris, Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman, Kevin Pierr-Louis
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:
WR Chad Beebe
DT Kurt Hinish
CB Isaac Yiadom
C/G Justin McCray
ILB Blake Cashman
RB Darius Anderson
SHOWN THE DOOR:
TE Antony Auclair
WR Chris Moore
C Jimmy Morrissey
DL Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
S M.J. Stewart
CB Fabian Moreau
And a few thoughts on the roster overall, changes and otherwise:
The "NEW GUYS IN" have a few interesting stories
If you're a Houstonian and you see the last name "Beebe," it's understandable that you might break out in cold sweats. Chad Beebe is the son of former Bills WR Don Beebe, who was a prominent part of the Bills' comeback from down 35-3 against the Oilers in the 1992 playoffs. Kurt Hinish is na undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, who fills a need for the Texans (NEED: Big, burly, run stuffer who can get upfield in a kind of sneaky way), is cheap, and is getting a lot of run with the first and second units. Darius Anderson recently had charges of burglary against him dropped
due to insufficient evidence. He's looked spry in the run game in camp.
The "SHOWN THE DOOR" cleans out some of the back end of the 2021 roster
In this version of the 53-man roster, I went from four tight ends down to three, with Auclair, a blocking specialist from 2021, the casualty. The team drafted fifth round pick Teagan Quitoriano for his blocking skills and I think the Texans can use Auclair's spot elsewhere. Chris Moore has been running with the first unit at times, but I don't think he's really flashed anything remarkable. Jimmy Morrissey started a few games for the Texans at center in 2021, but I think McCray is the backup solution there.
All five second year draft picks from 2021 might end up starting
I think one of the underplayed stories of this camp so far has been this — Nick Caserio might have nailed it with all five of his draft selections in 2021. Mills is going to be the starting quarterback. Collins and Jordan are two of the most improved players on the team through the first two weeks of camp. Caserio has proactively, multiple times, brought up Wallow's offseason improvement as an example for the rest of the team. Finally, Lopez is the one guy who was actually a starter for most of last season from jump. The remarkable thing is these five guys were taken in the third, third, fifth, fifth, and sitxh rounds, respectively.
Could there be trades coming?
There have been some big names over the last few days that have indicated they want out of their current situation. In Cleveland, the drama train rolls on as RB Kareem Hunt has requested a trade. While Hunt would immediately become the featured back here, and probably come at a reasonable cost, his off the field history (suspended eight games in 2019 for domestic assault) probably eliminates him from any Texans conversation. Meanwhile, in Chicago, linebacker Roquan Smith, a two time second team All Pro, has requested a trade, due to the Bears' front office low balling him on a contract extension. Smith would look incredible in Lovie Smith's defense, but I don't think the Texans are at a stage in their life cycle as a team where giving up high draft capital for the right to pay a guy a market-setting deal makes sense. Nick Caserio will likely just go ahead and love the ones he's with.
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