Heading to Camp: Houston Texans 53-Man Roster Prediction Version 1.0

With the off-season in the books, here is the first prediction of the Houston Texans 53-man roster heading to camp.

The Houston Texans are moving towards an extended break before the start of training camp in late July. The Texans have gone through rookie mini-camp, OTAs and mandatory mini-camp to get a closer look at their roster for the upcoming season. With practices in the books, State of the Texans gives there the first crack at the potential 53-man roster for the upcoming season.

53-Man Roster Prediction 1.0

Offense

Quarterback (2)

  • Deshaun Watson
  • A.J. McCarron

Analysis

This one is pretty simple. The Texans have their definite cut starter in Deshaun Watson, and a backup in A.J. McCarron is working to catch up in the offense. Joe Webb III, at this point, remains the emergency quarterback who will fill in at other special teams spots.

Running Back (5)

  • Lamar Miller
  • D’Onta Foreman
  • Cullen Gillaspia (Rookie)
  • Buddy Howell, Jr.
  • Josh Ferguson

Analysis

The group remains thin with only Lamar Miller with the proven track record in NFL game. Signs point to D’Onta Foreman being a vital part of the Texans offense in 2019, and rookie Cullen Gillaspia is in line to get fullback work for the offense. Buddy Howell Jr. was a special team standout in 2018, and the same will be expected of him in 2019 with an outside shot of getting some carries in a pinch.

The Texans might have to go outside of the organization to find help. At the moment, Josh Ferguson and Taiwan Jones are in the next tier of backs to break into the 53. Ferguson will get the first chance to make the roster with a specific role in the offense. Rookie Damerea Crockett and Karan Higdon have to put together standout camps to take a roster spot from a veteran.

Wide Receiver (6)

  • Deandre Hopkins
  • Will Fuller
  • Keke Coutee
  • DeAndre Carter
  • Tyron Johnson (Rookie)
  • Joe Webb III

Analysis

The Texans are as good as any around the NFL with their top three in Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee. DeAndre Carter appears to have the backup slot and primary return duties for the time being. Joe Webb III is with the receiver group despite being the emergency quarterback, but his position versatility keeps him on the roster. The surprise is a rookie wide receiver, Tyron Johnson. Johnson, as a rookie, is doing what Vyncint Smith is doing in year two and maybe at a better rate. The ceiling looks higher for Johnson, and his ability to play on the outside will help also.

Tight End (3)

  • Jordan Thomas
  • Jordan Akins
  • Kahale Warring (Rookie)

Analysis

The most physically imposing group of the Texans with Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins and Kahale Warring. This group remains young, but their ceiling is higher than most realize. Thomas will more than likely be the primary tight end while Akins will be the “move” option in the offense. Warring will be worked into the offense much like Thomas and Akins were as rookies.

Offensive Line (9)

  • Julién Davenport
  • Seantrel Henderson
  • Max Scharping (Rookie)
  • Senio Kelemete
  • Zach Fulton
  • Nick Martin
  • Greg Mancz
  • Martinas Rankin
  • Tytus Howard (Rookie)

Analysis

The Texans have plenty of options to use for this season and trying to find the right choice will be critical. The Texans will return starter Nick Martin to center, and things are lining up for Tytus Howard to start when week one opens up. There will be a better picture when Matt Kalil returns but with Julién Davenport, Seantrel Henderson, Max Scharping and Howard all with the team through the off-season, it is going to be tough for Kalil to break through during training camp.

Defense

Defensive Line (6)

  • J.J. Watt
  • D.J. Reader
  • Angelo Blackson
  • Brandon Dunn
  • Charles Omenihu (Rookie)
  • Carlos Watkins

Analysis

Texans return familiar faces up front, and J.J. Watt continues to lead the defensive tackles in the trenches. D.J. Reader and Brandon Dunn remain the primary run stuffers while the Texans are set to depend on Carlos Watkins and Angelo Blackson to make significant jumps in 2019. The defense is also looking for pass rush, at least, from Charles Omenihu for a position group that desperately needs it.

Outside Linebacker (4)

  • Jadeveon Clowney (Franchise Tag)
  • Whitney Mercilus
  • Brennan Scarlett
  • Chris Landrum

Analysis

Jadeveon Clowney has not shown up, but the Texans are still planning for him to be with the team when the season opens up. Whitney Mercilus is looking for a bounce back in production on the field, and Brennan Scarlett is the do-it-all linebacker that will find his place once again. Right now Chris Landrum is the best of the rest, but the Texans should be looking for help to a thin edge group.

Inside Linebacker (5)

  • Benardrick McKinney
  • Zach Cunningham
  • Dylan Cole
  • Peter Kalambayi
  • Drew Lewis (Rookie)

Analysis

Another solid position group for the Texans with starters Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham. The duo enters their third season together as starters in the middle of the defense. Dylan Cole has to show he can stay healthy because his talent is not the issue; his lack of availability the past two seasons have been. Peter Kalamabyi has made a significant jump in year two with how well he understands his role, and it showed. Rookie free agent Drew Lewis has made a strong impression, and the Texans want to see him closer. The Texans are interested in developing their players and Lewis is in line to be the next player the team takes a chance on.

Cornerback (6)

  • Johnathan Joseph
  • Bradley Roby
  • Lonnie Johnson Jr. (Rookie)
  • Aaron Colvin
  • Johnson Bademosi
  • Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Analysis

This group had a considerable makeover this season with only Johnathan Joseph and Aaron Colvin returning. Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson Jr. will also see plenty of time on defense. Johnson Bademosi returns as a special teams ace that made a difference last season. The wildcard is Briean Boddy-Calhoun and where he exactly fits. He can help and both cornerback and safety, but he is going to have to hold off younger options at the position to see the start of the season on the roster. Right now, Boddy-Calhoun’s versatility of playing multiple spots in the secondary help him.

Safety (4)

  • Justin Reid
  • Tashaun Gipson
  • Jahleel Addae
  • A.J. Moore

Analysis

This group appears to be locked in as long as everyone stays healthy, moving to the season. Justin Reid and Tashuan Gipson are the primary safeties while Jahleel Addae will get plenty of time as the third safety. A.J. Moore was a terror on special teams last season as a rookie, and he is back for more in 2019.

Specialist (3)

  • Jon Weeks
  • Trevor Daniel
  • Ka’imi Fairbairn

Analysis

The same group as 2018, nothing is expected to change.

Notables On the Bubble

  • Veteran free agent signings offensive tackle Matt Kalil and tight end David Fells are early ones on the bubble. There are reasons to keep the two, but with younger options ahead of them, both could have short stints in line with the Texans.
  • This is a tough one, but he will be in contention for a roster spot the entire training camp with rookie Tyron Johnson. Vyncint Smith has made a significant jump in year two, but as of now, he and Johnson are even. Smith is going to have to stand out during camp and show he is just more than a vertical deep ball threat. He has to prove he can beat defenders with reliable route running and steady hands.
  • Joel Heath has been on the roster since he arrived as a rookie free agent out of Michigan State. Heath has accumulated injuries over the seasons but is a solid defensive end in the run game. If Heath can get healthy, he could quickly push for a roster spot this season.
  • Briean Boddy-Calhoun is the early favorite to land a spot on the 53-man roster, but with the likes or rookie draft pick, Xavier Crawford and second-year players in Jermaine Kelly Jr. and Deante Burton competition for one of the final spots will be one to watch when camp arrives. Crawford and Burton have increased chances to beat out Boddy-Calhoun while Kelly Jr. is going to have to put together an entire camp to get his opportunities to impress.

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