The Way Too Early Crack at the Texans' 53-Man Roster
Each year on his nationally syndicated radio show, Jim Rome holds a little thing known as the Smack Off. I know many of you already know what that is (I've written roughly 10,000 words on the topic in the past few years), but briefly, for those who don't -- it's the annual show where he invites the best callers to call in and run their mouths like idiots for around four minutes apiece, and the biggest, most entertaining idiot is the winner.
Photo by Marco Torres
I've won five times.
I bring this up because one of the annual Smack Off traditions happens after the first caller, when tweeters and e-mailers to the show immediately tell Rome to "SHUT IT DOWN!" and say "IT'S OVER!" because "NOBODY IS BEATING THAT CALL!" It's always ultra-premature, and always hilarious.
Well, this post is the "SHUT IT DOWN!" and "IT'S OVER!" Smack Off post of the Texans' preseason. Yes, after one practice, I'm going to give you the 53-man roster that will fly to San Diego in Week 1 to take on the Chargers in early September.
You all know the format that this post typically takes. Let's start out with the first category...
THE VETERAN LOCKS (34 total):
QB - Matt Schaub
QB - T.J. Yates
RB - Arian Foster
RB - Ben Tate
FB - Greg Jones
TE - Owen Daniels
TE - Garrett Graham
WR - Andre Johnson
WR - Keshawn Martin
T - Duane Brown
T - Derek Newton
T - Ryan Harris
G - Wade Smith
G - Brandon Brooks
C- Chris Myers
C/G - Ben Jones
DT - Earl Mitchell
DE - Jared Crick
DE - J.J. Watt
DE - Antonio Smith
DE - Tim Jamison
OLB - Brooks Reed
OLB - Whitney Mercilus
OLB - Bryan Braman
ILB - Brian Cushing
ILB - Tim Dobbins
ILB - Darryl Sharpton
S - Ed Reed
S - Danieal Manning
CB - Johnathan Joseph
CB - Kareem Jackson
CB - Brice McCain
P - Shane Lechler
LS - Jon Weeks
Comments: I do think there will be a quasi-battle for the backup quarterback position, but I think that a) a tie will go to T.J. Yates and b) even if Keenum manages to win the backup position, there's no way the Texans cut loose a quarterback who has starting experience and a postseason win. The Texans still precarious wide receiver depth is highlighted by a) there only being two "lock" veteran wide receivers and b) one of those two being Keshawn Martin. Tim Jamison missed most of last season, but the coaching staff really likes him, and he's cheap labor.
THE DRAFTEES (9 total)
WR - DeAndre Hopkins (1st round)
S - D.J. Swearinger (2nd round)
T - Brennan Williams (3rd round)
OLB - Sam Montgomery (3rd round)
OLB - Trevardo Williams (4th round)
G/T - David Quessenberry (6th round)
WR/KR - Alan Bonner (6th round)
DT - Chris Jones (6th round)
TE - Ryan Griffin (6th round)
Comments: Despite some of the bumps in the road with this draft class so far through mini camp and OTA's (Williams' knee injury, Montgomery's alleged conditioning issues), I think all nine of these guys make the 53 man roster. If I had to bet on biggest contributors outside of the top two picks, I'd take Trevardo Williams as a situational pass rushing specialist and Bonner as a kick returner. Brennan Williams is a wild card. If his knee is healthy, it'll be interesting to see if he is able to work his way into the competition for the right tackle spot.
Thanks to a deep rookie class and plenty of vacancies left behind by free agent defection and cap cutting moves, spots are filling up quickly on this roster. Only 10 spots left and by my count we still absolutely need at least one more wide receiver, another tailback, a couple more cornerbacks, and a kicker. So.....
WR - DeVier Posey
RB - Deji Karim
CB - Brandon Harris
CB - Roc Carmichael
K - Randy Bullock
Comments: If the reports on Posey are true, it sounds like he is going to angle hard to stay off the PUP list heading into the season. I just can't, in good conscience, concede the fifth wide receiver spot to LeStar Jean, of whom the 2012 version might be the worst third wide receiver in the entire league. At the third tailback spot, I'll take the veteran Karim since the Texans can stash at least one or two of the undrafted free agent rookies on the practice squad. At corner, looking at who else is in camp, Harris and Carmichael should probably be in the lock list, but both have been so udnerwhelming in two seasons so far. I'll give the kicking job to Bullock only because there's really no one else right now. It'll be interesting to see if Kubiak brings a veteran in to compete.
So five spots to go, and here's our positional breakdown:
Let's fill out the rest of this bad boy:
49. Case Keenum, QB. The Texans could put him on the practice squad again, and probably with minimal risk of losing him, but I just have a feeling that that Kubiak's talk during the spring about how far Keenum has come is for real.
50. Shiloh Keo, S. Really tempted to go with Eddie Pleasant for the fourth safety spot, but Keo has mad special teams love, and I doubt that Kubiak wants to do anything that could weaken his special teams.
51. Terrell McClain, DT. Probably need one more big body along that defensive line. The 300 pound McClain fits that bill.
52. LeStar Jean, WR. Fine.
53. Eddie Pleasant, S. I can't find a corner or another offensive lineman who I'd rather put in here more than a safety who the team likes, and who, let's face it, plays a position that the Texans could run into some injury issues because of age.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.