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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Dustin Johnson already committed to play in the Houston Open. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Golfers around the world have been able to enjoy playing 18 holes despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as golf has been deemed a "social-distancing" sport. Houston golfers have been rewarded this year with a newly renovated Memorial Park course that is already being spruced up in preparation for the upcoming Houston Open.

The PGA's adjusted schedule has the tour coming to Houston November 2-8, a week before the Masters.

Current hope is for the Houston Open being played in front of cheering fans, according to tournament director, Colby Callaway. Callaway recently talked with SportsMap about what fans and players can expect when the Houston Open returns to Memorial Park for the first time since 1963.

SportsMap: What is the Houston Open's current position in regard to fans in attendance?

Colby Callaway: Currently we are working on a number of contingency plans and exploring all sorts of options. I wish we could say 'this is our plan' right now, and put that thing in concrete, but I just can't. 2020 is causing all of us grief in all sorts of imaginative ways, and it's certainly creating some chaos when it comes to putting a plan together for us. We're all committed to being as flexible in our planning as possible and will adjust as need be. We do think we'll have an idea very soon, and hope to announce some sort of plan over the next couple of weeks.

SM: What can Houstonians look forward to with the new course at Memorial Park?

CC: Well it's a really fun course. Players can absolutely bomb drives. The key will be their approach shots and how they navigate the sticky rough and very tricky green complexes. Several holes were re-routed and in doing so it provided some great spectator viewing areas. There is a fantastic spot where the Par 3 2nd hole, the Par 5 3rdHole, and the Par 3 7th all come together. It'll be a great area to sit and watch golf all day long. The Par 3 9th will be a great viewing spot for spectators as well. On the backside, lots of risk and reward comes into play on 15, 16 and 17. Water becomes a big factor on all 3 holes so a sense of caution is created, but the temptation to do something spectacular is there as well. It's going to be a very exciting stretch.

SM: What changes to the golf course will Memorial Park golfers find following the tournament?

CC: Two things in particular will benefit Memorial Park golfers. First the range will be fully functional by then. It's been open awhile now, but limited in spots to what you could hit club wise. By the time the event rolls around we'll have expanded the range so you can bring and hit any club in your bag. Yes, the big dog (driver) will now be able to hunt!

The other nice addition is an oversized putting green and chipping area that was created adjacent to the 1st tee and 18th green. It's a much-needed improvement. The finished product will be a great spot for the casual golfer to roll some putts and work on his or her short game.

SM: When will Memorial Park Golf Course be closed to the public before the tournament?

CC: The plan is to close it down sometime during the week before the tournament. We'll be working around golfers for approximately 20 days leading up to the event building our operational needs. As a casual golfer it's a fun time to play. There is definitely a little more activity in and around the course, but it's a lot of fun to watch the progress of the build.

SM: What special COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place during the tournament?

CC: We'll have a plan above and beyond what is required per the rules and guidelines we are given. We are currently working with our operational partners to make sure we're all on the same page when it some to these regulations. I can promise we'll error on the side of caution, and make sure our patrons feel safe when they enter the grounds. The positive is we have over 250 acres of green grass and fresh air to socially distance on. A golf course truly does have its advantages.

SM: Are you under any pressure to bring fans to the tournament because of its placement a week before the Masters?

CC: I don't think so. Speaking for our team, I know they don't feel any pressure. Maybe if this was a different year, and we didn't have all of the uncertainty swirling around, there would be some. It's just not something we are going to put any energy into worrying about this fall. We have enough on our plate.

SM: In prior years, Golf Club of Houston made efforts to replicate conditions at Augusta National. Will you be doing the same?

CC: No. Honestly even if we wanted to we couldn't. With the time of year we are in it's really impossible to over-seed, and that's the only way to create those iconic Masters-like conditions. Now we'll do everything asked of us by the TOUR to make it the best 2020 Houston Open course condition wise. They ultimately put the competition plan together. That plan includes among other things: required rough height, green speeds, and tee to green yardages. I know Jason Harsh, Director of Golf for the Houston Parks and Rec Department, will have his team prepare the course to the best of their abilities. One plus when you are a course that hosts a PGA TOUR event is you receive year-long plans and assistance from the PGA TOUR Agronomy Department. That's big for the event, but also a nice plus for all of us who enjoy playing Memorial year around. Following these plans course conditions will continue to get better and better each year.

SM: You have a lot of experience managing golf tournaments, most recently serving as the tournament director of AT&T's PGA Tour Champions event in San Antonio. How will your experiences help you to execute a successful Houston Open?

CC: It's crazy to think this is my 20th year being a part of a team that manages professional golf events. Even crazier to think that less than a year ago I felt like I had seen it all when it comes to things that could affect golf tournaments. I've worked events since 2000 that have experienced tornadoes, floods, hail, high winds, sleet, drought, dead greens, etc… but no one ever said we'd deal with a pandemic. Good Lord, maybe I've stayed in the business a little too long!

Kidding aside, fortunately I've spent most of those 20 years working for and with some of the best in the business. I've kept my eyes and ears open, and maybe most importantly learned to adapt to the situation at hand. Concrete plans do not exist in the professional golf world as Mother Nature will always have the last say. You put a plan together, but always must remain fluid and have contingency plans in your back pocket. Of course, this is unlike anything I've ever had to deal with. We will, however, figure this out and do our best to put on a really successful, and safe, Houston Open.

SM: The Astros Foundation is well known to support youth baseball and softball programs, how will the new partnership between the Foundation and the Houston Open bring more opportunities to junior golf in Houston?

CC: Junior golfers will benefit greatly from the Houston Open moving to Memorial Park. The Astros Golf Foundation is finishing up a par 3 course, which sits adjacent to the 1st fairway and 18th fairway, that will allow participants in the First Tee program an opportunity to hone their skills year around.

The Astros Golf Foundation will continue to support the First Tee financially as well with a yearly donation of $500K. The First Tee is an incredible program and I know our team loves being a part of their growth.

Also via a generous partnership with Chevron, the Astros Golf Foundation is building the Chevron Center for Education & Kids. This classroom style space will be housed in the new Astros Golf Foundation building currently under construction behind the 9th green at Memorial Park. This center will be open year around and will host students from all over the Houston area teaching them skills within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) academic disciplines.

The best way to receive information about the event is to follow socially. Our social handles are located below.

www.houstonopengolf.com

@houopengolf on Twitter / Instagram

Houston Open on Facebook

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