Houston Texans: My Annual Way Too Early Guess at the 53-Man Roster

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Photos by Aaron Sprecher
Camp is open, finally.
On Sunday morning at the Texans' second day of practice of the young preseason, I was hanging out with my co-host John Granato watching the wide receivers go one-on-one against the cornerbacks in pass catching drills when Evan Koch of the Texans media relations team walked by and asked us who we thought the one surprise would be to make the team and who we thought the surprise cut would be.

Granato and I paused and struggled briefly to come up with a name for either answer. Seriously, for a second, we both gave Evan the same look my grandmother would give if you asked her to name anybody on the Texans, let alone the 53rd man on the roster. That's because right now, most of the roster spots were actually sewn up before the first practice even started.

It was at this point that it kind of hit me that "Wow, the Texans really are a real contender-type football team!" Low turnover on the roster is a good sign. For the first time since maybe ever, the only real roster drama (other than right tackle and placekicker) centers around backup positions.

Which makes this "predicting the roster" business I'm about to perform that much easier!

I did this same post last year (a few days later, mind you, on August 3), and it was considerably more difficult for a couple reasons:

1. You had a defense with a new coordinator installing a new scheme with a bunch of new players, and all of the old players still here were coming off a season where they finished 30th or worse in almost every relevant category. Who knew how the shake-up on that side of the ball would play out?

2. WIth the lockout, there were no mini camps or workouts to wildly overreact to begin to formulate opinions and glean coaches' opinions on some of the newer players, especially the rookies.

To my "sharing a blank stare with Granato" point earlier, predicting the roster this preseason should be much easier. You know how on the SAT you start with an automatic 400 (at least back in my day you did, back when a perfect score was 1,600)? Well, with as many spots already won before camp started this year, it's like starting the SAT with a 1,200 for just putting your name on the paper.

So without further ado, let's do this in the usual format in which I unveil it. We start with...

THE VETERAN LOCKS (34 total):
Let's get the easy ones out of the way. These are the veteran players who are clear-cut contributors and/or had contracts extended or redone this off-season, and as a result have zero chance of being cut.

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Matt Schaub ain't going anywhere
QB - Matt Schaub
QB - T.J. Yates
RB - Arian Foster
RB - Ben Tate
RB - Justin Forsett
TE - Owen Daniels
TE - Garrett Graham
TE/FB - James Casey
WR - Andre Johnson
WR - Kevin Walter
WR - LeStar Jean
T - Duane Brown
T - Rashad Butler
T - Derek Newton
G - Wade Smith
G - Antoine Caldwell
C - Chris Myers
DT - Shaun Cody
DT - Earl Mitchell
DE - J.J. Watt
DE - Antonio Smith
OLB - Connor Barwin
OLB - Brooks Reed
ILB - Brian Cushing
ILB - Bradie James
ILB - Darryl Sharpton
S - Danieal Manning
S - Glover Quin
S - Troy Nolan
CB - Johnathan Joseph
CB - Kareem Jackson
CB - Brice McCain
P - Donnie Jones
LS - Jon Weeks

Comments: The only ones I had to think briefly on as "LOCKS" were Forsett, Jean and Sharpton -- Forsett because he's just so new to the Texans, but he's looked really good early and is more of a classic third-down back than Derrick Ward was in this spot last year.


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Seanie -- they love Braman, especially as a ST guy, so I think he's closer to a lock than you have him.  Also, I think Kubiak will begrudgingly carry 3 QBs again after what he went through last year, so I have John Beck making the team over Ben Jones.  (Although, I could see Jones making the team over Austin.)  And we should never underestimate Kubiak's inherent need/love/infatuation for TEs, which could make Jones, Demps, Keo or McManis at risk for Brock or Supernaw (or [insert camp cut veteran here]).

 

It is SO nice to be quality enough to worry about only your last 4-5 positions on the 53, instead of 20-25 (including some starters)!!!

 

-- Eric

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