Predicting the Houston Texans 53-man roster

2019 Texans 53-man roster version 2.0

The Houston Texans have wrapped up their second preseason game. There is still some jockeying over roster spots and I'll take my best educated guesses at who holds those spots as of today.

53 -man roster

Kicker (1)

Ka'imi Fairbairn

Punter (1)

Trevor Daniel

I have my first change on the roster, from my previous 53-man prediction. Early-on, Bryan Anger had the better hang time and bigger leg. On Monday, Bill O'Brien was lending a watchful eye to the punting competition and Anger had a bad case of the yips. It was a bad time for this to happen as Daniel made the most of the situation. Daniel was booming kicks and not just with distance but with an improved hang time to boot.

Long snapper (1)


Jon Weeks

Quarterback (3)

Deshaun Watson

AJ McCarron

Joe Webb

Watson has looked the best he ever has as a pro. He's set for a huge season.

McCarron has missed time of late, but his spot at backup is safe.

Running back (5)

Lamar Miller

Duke Johnson

Damarea Crockett

Cullen Gillaspia

Taiwan Jones

On the first 53-man roster, I mentioned that I'd expect the Texans to bring in someone from the outside to take over the roster spot voided by the waiver of D'Onta Foreman. Enter Duke Johnson.

Damarea Crockett has great vision, patience and instincts, all packed into a 5'11 - 225 pound frame. If anything happened to Lamar Miller this season, Crockett would get a lot of run with Duke Johnson.

Karan Higdon falls off the roster with the addition of Duke Johnson. Higdon gets downhill quick and has great balance, but his vision leaves something to be desired.

While Buddy Howell is a fan favorite after a productive game in the fourth quarter against the Lions in the second preseason game, I still believe that Taiwan Jones is ahead of him. Jones is a veteran that helps on all of the special teams units. Howell is in a tough spot as Higdon is a better running back and Jones is the better option on special teams.

Cullen Gillaspia will also secure a spot on the 53 with his value on special teams and the hope that the Texans can develop him into a lead blocker that will allow Bill O'Brien to give more versatile looks.

Wide receiver (5)

DeAndre Hopkins

Will Fuller

Keke Coutee

DeAndre Carter

Vyncint Smith

DeAndre Carter has come back better than I could have imagined. Carter hit the ground running and not only looks like a veteran in the slot, but an improved veteran at that.

Vyncint Smith gives the Texans insurance for Fuller as he works back to 100%.

Steven Mitchell Jr has looked great in camp and has played well in the preseason games but Houston already has Keke Coutee & DeAndre Carter taking roster spots at the slot position.

Tyron Johnson's speed may not be safe on the practice squad, but he's too raw to carry on the 53-man roster. Johnson has shown alligator arms in both of the team's preseason games to this point. Houston will have to risk, sliding him unto the practice squad.

Tight end (4) 

Darren Fells

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Akins

Jerell Adams

O'Brien doesn't keep four tight ends, but you adjust to your roster and the talent you have. Fells is a great inline blocker that can also move the chains as a big target for Watson.

Akins is ready to take a second year leap and has built great chemistry with his quarterback.

While Jordan Thomas has missed a lot of time in camp, he's working swiftly to catch up. His upside is exponential. He'll be a beast when he reaches his ceiling.

Jerell Adams has shown up every day of camp and deserves a roster spot. The size, speed and athleticism of this tight end group allows O'Brien to keep four as they can contribute on special teams.

Kahale Warring should be an injured reserve stash as he'll need much more time to get caught up with his understanding of this offense.

Offensive line (9)

Matt Kalil

Roderick Johnson

Tytus Howard

Nick Martin

Zach Fulton

Seantrel Henderson

Max Scharping

Senio Kelemete

Martinas Rankin

Kalil will be the starting left tackle for the Texans week one, unless Houston trades for a tackle or Kalil has a setback on the injury front.

Behind, Kalil, Roderick Johnson has been the most consistent tackle in Houston. Roderick can be the swing tackle or step in for Kalil or Henderson if there's an injury.

Zach Fulton showed well at center while Nick Martin was out. Fulton can start at either guard spot as well.

Nick Martin returned on Monday to his position as the starting center.

Seantrel Henderson relies on size and length, even though the technique falls apart at times, he's done a decent job to hold off the pass rush in camp.

Senio Kelemete has garnered credit from his head coach. At this moment, I'd list him among the top eight offensive linemen on the roster.

Martinas Rankin has seemed to be in OB's doghouse this training camp, buried down the depth chart. When I watch Rankin, I don't see a guy that should be cut from the Texans roster. I have him making the roster as the ninth and final offensive lineman.

Greg Mancz doesn't make this projection of the 53-man roster. Due to the injury and how well Fulton has played at center during this camp, Mancz can become expendable. Julien Davenport has never played at an NFL level and I don't believe he has the upside or talent of Rankin.

Defensive line (7)

JJ Watt

Jadeveon Clowney

DJ Reader

Angelo Blackson

Brandon Dunn

Charles Omenihu

Carlos Watkins

I never thought that JJ Watt could get back to a form that was even close to his old self, after only playing in eight games in 2016 and 2017 combined. Not only did he do it in 2018, but he looks even better so far in 2019.

Angelo Blackson is the best kept secret on Houston's defensive line. He won't be a secret any longer, after 2019.

Brandon Dunn keeps Reader fresh without allowing too big of a falloff at the nose.

Charles Omenihu is young but has all of the attributes that you could dream of. He uses great leverage and sheds offensive linemen with ease while driving them back with a reach of seven feet and one and a half inches. He'll only get better as the season goes along.

Carlos Watkins has missed time during camp. It's a big season for him as he enters year three. I believe he's competing with Joel Heath for the last roster spot on the defensive line. Heath deserves to be on an NFL roster, but with Watkins cutting down the baby fat, he looks primed to breakout.

Linebacker (7)

Whitney Mercilus

Benardrick McKinney

Zach Cunningham

Dylan Cole

Brennan Scarlett

Davin Bellamy

Peter Kalambayi

In a contract year and looking fierce, be on the lookout for a big year for Whitney Mercilus.

Dylan Cole looks like a man possessed and ready for his best season to date.

Brennan Scarlett won't "WOW" anyone at first glance, but when you watch the film, you'll be impressed by his effort and motor to run non-stop from the snap to the whistle.

Peter Kalambayi has made a name as a special teamer, but he's shown some playmaking ability on the defense in the preseason in 2019.

Bellamy makes the roster as his explosiveness sticks out, but will need to be more discipline. Houston could upgrade this spot as other teams cut down to 53.

Cornerback (6)

Johnathan Joseph

Bradley Roby

Aaron Colvin

Johnson Bademosi

Lonnie Johnson Jr

Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Bademosi leaves his mark on special teams.

Lonnie is a work in progress, but if called upon, he can jam receivers off the line and agitate passing lanes with his length. Houston will keep safeties around his side of the field when he's playing to provide a safety net.

Boddy-Calhoun has had an up and down camp, but brings some veteran depth to the bottom of the group.

Safety (4) 

Justin Reid

Tashaun Gipson

Jahleel Addae

AJ Moore

Reid, Gipson and Addae are a solid trio that could see themselves on the field together often in "big dime". Due to the lack of cornerback talent and depth on the roster, Houston would be wise to rely on this trio.

AJ Moore made a name on special teams with the Texans, but all camp long, he's been ball-hawking every time he has gotten on the field.

Practice squad

1) Albert Huggins

2) Steven Mitchell Jr

3) Tyron Johnson

4) Karan Higdon

5) Jamal Davis II

6) Chris Johnson

7) Austin Exford

8) Javy Edwards

9) Derrick Baity Jr

10) Xavier Crawford

Noteworthy cuts or IR:

1) Kahale Warring - Injured Reserve

2) Greg Mancz

3) Joel Heath

4) Julien Davenport

5) Buddy Howell

6) Tyrell Adams


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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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