Breaking down the Texans' 53-man roster after final cuts

DeAndre Hopkins heads up the receiving corps. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Texans got their roster down to 53 players. Here is a look at the position groups with analysis of each (updates with waiver claims and additional cuts):

Quarterbacks (3)

Deshaun Watson

Brandon Weeden

Joe Webb

Analysis: Joe Webb did not make the initial cut but was reportedly brought back, presumably to help on special teams.  Weeden will most likely be the primary backup. Obviously, Watson's health is the key here. If he misses any extended time, the Texans are in trouble, but that was going to be the case no matter who was going to be the backup QB.

Running backs (4)

Lamar Miller

Alfred Blue

Tyler Ervin

Greg Howell

Analysis: D'Onta Foreman starts the season on the PUP list, which means the Texans are pretty thin behind Miller.  They finally punted on the fullback position, dumping Jay Prosch. They picked up Howell on waivers from Miami.

Wide receivers (6)

DeAndre Hopkins

Will Fuller

Bruce Ellington

Sammie Coates

Keke Coutee

Vyncint Smith

Analysis: Smith over Braxton Miller might be the only surprise here, but Smith certainly has higher upside. Coutee has not played in the preseason but the staff seems high on him. Should be a pretty solid group.

Tight ends (3)

Ryan Griffin

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Akins

Analysis: The Texans pretty much kept the three players everyone projected, with Griffin and two rookies. There is upside, but not much in the way of experience. Not a strong group on paper.

Offensive linemen (8)

Julién Davenport (T)

Seantrell Henderson (T)

Martinas Rankin (T)

Kendall Lamm (T)

Senio Kelemete (G)

Zach Fulton (G)

Greg Mancz (C)

Nick Martin (C)

Analysis: The weakest position group on the roster could have used some help on the waiver wire. Not much depth or talent here. Rankin has upside, and perhaps Davenport takes a big step in Year 2. But otherwise, if these guys can just be average, it would be a positive.

Defensive line (7)

J.J. Watt

D.J. Reader

Christian Covington

Brandon Dunn

Angelo Blackson

Carlos Watkins

Joel Heath

Analysis: The strongest group on the team and can also include Jadeveon Clowney, who will switch back and forth between line and linebacker. There is depth, talent, and several players who could produce if forced into service. 

Linebackers (9)

Benardrick McKinney (ILB)

Zach Cunningham (ILB)

Dylan Cole (ILB)

Brian Peters (ILB)

Jadeveon Clowney (OLB)

Whitney Mercilus (OLB)

Brennan Scarlett (OLB)

Duke Ejiofor (OLB)

Peter Kalambayi (OLB)

Analysis: Another deep, talented group, especially inside. There should be help for special teams as well. The outside players lack experience after Clowney/Mercilus/Scarlett, so that could become a concern if there are injuries, but Ejiofor and Kalambayi have upside.

Cornerbacks (6)

Johnathan Joseph

Aaron Colvin

Kayvon Webster

Kevin Johnson

Johnson Bademosi

A.J. Moore 

Analysis: The Texans added A.J. Moore off waivers on Sunday to add some depth. They lack a true No. 1 corner - Joseph is well past his prime - and depth here. This is an area of serious concern.

Safety (4)

Kareem Jackson

Tyrann Mathieu

Justin Reid

Natrell Jamerson

Analysis: Jackson's move from corner and the additions of Mathieu and Reid makes this potentially the best and most versatile safety group the Texans have ever had. Jamerson was picked up on waivers and should help on special teams. 

Specialists (3) 

Ka’imi Fairbairn (K)

Trevor Daniel (P)

Jon Weeks (LS)

Analysis: Daniel beating out Shane Lechler at punter got a lot of attention, but hey, a punter is a punter. Fairbairn missed the preseason but should be ready to go.

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Texans to hire David Culley. Composite image by Jack Brame

Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Texans will hire former Ravens assistant head coach David Culley as their new head coach. John McClain reported earlier on Wednesday that the coaching hire was narrowed down to Culley and Bills DC Leslie Frazier.

Now the question becomes, what does Deshaun Watson think of the hire? Culley has no experience as a head coach but did work closely with Andy Reid from 1999-2012 in Philly and 2013-2016 in KC. Many believed that Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy would be the next Texans coach because of his years learning from Reid. But the Texans opted for the lesser-known Culley instead.

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