Nineteen players are on lockdown to make 2021 Texans’ roster
There is a term NFL players use to describe when the reality of being a professional football player hit them. This usually happens in the training camp of their rookie years, and the term is your “Welcome to NFL time”. It is usually a moment that involves something negative, painful and often bordering on traumatic.
Houston Texan fans in 2021 can probably relate to the next level – at some point you, the Houston Texan fan (what’s left of you, guys), will likely experience a “Welcome to the moment of the moment.” post-Deshaun Watson era “. If you happened to be one of the few who took pride in practicing on a Saturday morning, then that moment has probably arrived for you, as rookie QB Davis Mills threw five interceptions on drills. team and seemed generally overwhelmed all morning.
It was a powerful reminder that we are in a new world, a world where “extreme training camp competition” is really just a euphemism for “we don’t have a lot of good football players” . Normally at this point, as we move towards the team putting on pads this week, I had put together my last roster of 53 players, but without the benefit of padded practices or preseason games, this is really just a big roll of the dice.
Instead, let’s lock up the Houston Texans who I think have a 100 percent “cold-lock” chance of making the list of the 53 players coming out of camp. Here they are:
QUARTERBACKS (2): TYROD TAYLOR, DAVIS MILLS
Taylor was not in training on Saturday, an excused absence for personal reasons, but he will be the Week 1 starter barring an injury. For what it’s worth, he didn’t look much better than Mills at camp. As the first draft pick of the Caserio era, Mills is also part of the squad. Jeff Driskel, the third string quarterback, does not belong to the NFL. If Deshaun Watson is not (a) traded, (b) suspended, or (c) on the commissioner’s bye list by week 1, then he will occupy a spot on the list while the team works for change him.
RUNNING BACK (0): NONE
The depth chart here is intriguing, and I think three of the four veteran veterans here with one-year contracts – David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, and Rex Burkhead – will make the squad, but one of the four could. being the odd man out, and therefore, neither is a lock to make the team.
TIGHT ENDS (2): JORDAN AKINS, BREVIN JORDAN
Akins is in the final year of his rookie contract and has been the starter all last season. Jordan was a fifth-round pick this spring, and he looked very solid at the start of his first training camp. The jokers here are Pharaoh Brown, who may have been their best tight end last season but has yet to practice, and Kahale Warring, who is the group’s most impressive physical specimen but has yet to have impact since his draft in 2019.
LARGE RECEIVERS (3): BRANDIN COOKS, NICO COLLINS, ANTHONY MILLER
Cooks is the team’s primary offensive weapon, which is depressing when you consider that this team had a Watson-to-Hopkins connection for three seasons from 2017 to 2019. Caserio traded in 2021 to select Collins at the third round, then he will do the club. Miller has looked good at camp since being acquired from the Bears about a week ago. Names to watch out for outside of these three include Chris Conley, Keke Coutee, Chris Moore, and Alex Erickson.
OFFENSIVE LINE (3): LAREMY TUNSIL, TYTUS HOWARD, JUSTIN BRITT
Tunsil and Howard would likely be number one and the two biggest locks overall to make the squad. Britt has always been with the first offensive line of the ropes for the entire camp and, barring an injury, is a lock on the 53-man roster. The good news beyond that is that third-year goaltender Max Scharping has been as important as Britt. Scharping recovering form from his rookie year would be a welcome development.
DEFENSIVE LINE (2): ROSS BLACKLOCK, CHARLES OMENIHU
This group, as well as the linebacker corps, has a ton of veterans on short-term contracts, trying to extend their careers. Blacklock and Omenihu are not in this mold. Blacklock is in his second season, a former second-round pick, and seems to suit Lovie Smith’s defense better than Anthony Weaver’s. Omenihu was one of the best players in the camp. Shaq Lawson and Maliek Collins are moving names within this group.
LINEBACKERS (2): ZACH CUNNINGHAM, CHRISTAN KIRKSEY
Cunningham is one of football’s highest paid linebackers, and Kirksey is a reliable veteran who seems to fill the leadership void in a team with so much turnover.
BACK DEFENSES (2): BRADLEY ROBY, JUSTIN REID
Roby is the most talented cornerback on the team and he looks that way in camp so far. In a contract year, Reid went all the way in team drills, getting at least two of the picks Mills threw on Saturday, from what I’ve seen. Names I’m most rooted for to fit into the ‘lockdown’ category – third-year security Lonnie Johnson and former All Pro CB Desmond King.
SPECIALISTS (3): JON WEEKS, KA’IMI FAIRBAIRN, CAMERON JOHNSTON
These are still fairly easy selections. The weeks will be long after the death of all who read this message.
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