Predicting the Texans roster ahead of Preseason Week 1

2019 Houston Texans 53-man prediction

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The Houston Texans will kick off their preseason slate Thursday in Green Bay against the Packers. I didn't head north to face the balmy Wisconsin heat for the Texans' two joint practices against the Cheeseheads, before their Thursday night showdown.

Despite not seeing the last couple of practices, I feel like I have a good feel for where the roster is as of this moment. I've decided to lay out my first prediction for what the Texans' final 53-man roster might look like, once the rosters cuts are finished, before the kickoff to the regular season.

It's worth noting that injuries will happen and the team is most likely to make roster additions via trade, claiming guys as they are waived and/or signing guys off the street. This article should serve as a simple exercise in letting you know, based off of my sole observations, where I believe the roster stands as the Houston Texans enter Preseason Week 1.

53 -man roster

K - Ka'imi Fairbairn

Not enough is made out of how great of an addition Fairbairn has been. The kid is golden.

P - Bryan Anger

Trevor Daniel may be the safer pick here, but I like the boom or bust of Anger. I believe Anger has the bigger leg, but Daniel is more consistent and safe. Brad Seely turned the Texans' special teams into a Top 10 unit in his first season. In a game of inches, I could see Houston going with the guy that can swing the field.

LS - Jon Weeks

He plays a position that isn't the most glamorous and that's the only reason that he's not a household name.

QB - Deshaun Watson / AJ McCarron / Joe Webb

Watson is king, AJ has been a pleasant surprise (assuming the injury that saw him leave joint practices isn't severe) and Webb is a value third string quarterback that sticks due to his ability to play specials.

RB - Lamar Miller / Damarea Crockett / Karan Higdon / Cullen Gillaspia / Taiwan Jones

Lamar is the stalwart that actually looks quicker than in his past, if you can believe it. Crockett looks to impress with his size, blended with patience, vision and instincts. Higdon, another undrafted running back like Crockett, brings a stoutness and ability to get north and south quickly with great balance. Gillaspia brings the fullback position back into the fold and gives the offense even more versatility. Taiwan Jones gives the position return ability and all around special teams coverage. Jones is also another veteran, despite limited carries in his career. Overall, this is a young running back group outside of Miller and Jones.

NOTE: I'd be surprised if this is the roster come week 1 as I expect the Texans to sign, trade or claim another running back that's not on the current roster.

WR - DeAndre Hopkins / Will Fuller / Keke Coutee / Vyncint Smith / Tyron Johnson

DeAndre Carter has struggled to get healthy. In his absence, the young guys, Smith, Johnson and Steven Mitchell Jr. have stepped up. Keeping five running backs and mainly, Taiwan Jones, makes Carter's spot disappear. I couldn't get Mitchell onto the roster, but he's right there in the running with Smith and Johnson. Starting the year on the practice squad will be most likely for Mitchell and it gives the Texans insurance for injury or even struggles from the other young wideouts.

TE - Darren Fells / Jordan Thomas / Jordan Akins / Kahale Warring

It's hard to keep four tight ends, but that's what the Texans need due to their talent at the position and the versatility of the unit. Fells gives an offensive line with issues, extra protection. Thomas is that hybrid weapon that can inline block, along with move the chains and become a red zone threat. Akins is a move tight end that gives Watson another weapon in the passing game. Warring is developmental with a nice upside. While he may not factor in a lot in his rookie season, his status as a third round pick and future potential prevents the Texans from trying to slide him to the practice squad as he would be quickly picked up in the waiver process.

OL - Matt Kalil / Tytus Howard / Nick Martin / Zach Fulton / Seantrel Henderson / Max Scharping / Greg Mancz / Julien Davenport / Martinas Rankin / Roderick Johnson

Yes, 10 offensive lineman. Quantity over quality, I guess. The guy that will draw the most wide eyes is Johnson. It was a struggle to pick between Senio Kelemete and Roderick Johnson. Houston has a bigger issue at offensive tackle than on the interior in my opinion. Johnson has shown flashes and with Henderson and Davenport as the right tackle and swing tackle ahead of him, I believe it's worth keeping him around for a long season in the case that Henderson and Davenport either struggle or get bit by the injury bug.

DL - JJ Watt / Jadeveon Clowney / DJ Reader / Angelo Blackson / Charles Omenihu / Brandon Dunn / Carlos Watkins

It's difficult to leave Joel Heath off of the 53-man roster. He's an NFL player and could easily beat out Watkins for the seventh spot among the defensive line. Watkins is in year three and was always a three-year project. I wouldn't cut bait with him too early.

LB - Whitney Mercilus / Benardrick McKinney / Zach Cunningham / Dylan Cole / Brennan Scarlett / Peter Kalambayi

Scarlett could find competition in the form of a player cut from another team as they fight to get their own roster to 53. Kalambayi was a freak on special teams last season and has shown up a few times in training camp at the linebacker position.

CB - Johnathan Joseph / Bradley Roby / Aaron Colvin / Johnson Bademosi / Lonnie Johnson Jr / Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Bademosi is that special teams stud for the cornerback group and it'd be a surprise if he's not around, especially due to the lack of talent at the position that would force him off. Boddy-Calhoun needs to be on alert, even after making the 53-man roster, as the Texans will have to upgrade the position at some point. Houston needs to look for superior cornerback talent via the trade market but could settle for a roster cutdown addition.

S - Justin Reid / Tashaun Gipson / Jahleel Addae / AJ Moore

As weak as the cornerback position is, Houston really has replaced the talent at safety. Reid is a veteran, despite the fact that he's only going into year two of his career and was a third round pick. The Gipson and Addae additions were solid. Moore has been a ballhawk in training camp and can leave a mark on special teams. The Texans would be wise to play a lot of "big dime" this season as opposed to the regular dime formation that puts four cornerbacks on the field with two safeties. They're better equipped to play three safeties along with three cornerbacks in a "big dime" look.

First 5 Off:

1) Joel Heath

2) Senio Kelemete

3) Jerell Adams

4) Steven Mitchell Jr

5) DeAndre Carter

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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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