Texans Make Surprising Cuts, Lose Key Veterans, Ahead Of Week One

September 1, 2022

How have the Texans trimmed their roster down to the “53” following an undefeated preseason?

One of the saddest moments that always comes on the cusp of a new season is the end of the NFL dream for players all around the league. Teams start the preseason with 85 players on their roster, but they enter the season with only 53. This year’s process involved a few surprising cuts, as well as the expected end of tenure for a few standing Texan players. We’ll dissect all of the notable releases and try to predict a few of the moves that the Texans might make to bolster areas of weakness.

Cutting Old Ties

There were two clear ideas that permeated Lovie and Nick’s decision-making process through roster cuts: every spot must be earned and the team has to get younger. Some notable draft disappointments were traded and cut, while some surprising veterans were released to make way for younger talent.

Ross Blacklock is one of the more notable moves that was made, where he was traded to the Vikings along with a 7th-round pick to receive a 6th-round pick. Blacklock was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, using a pick that was acquired in the Deandre Hopkins trade. While he wasn’t a bad player, he simply was too inconsistent to keep at a position that has great depth and a notable rookie presence.

Marlon Mack was also cut today, assumedly to make the RB1 role extremely clear for the rookie, Dameon Pierce. This move comes as more of a surprise with the retention of Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman, than the fact that the RB group is getting trimmed down. Chris Moore, Johnny Johnson III, and Jalen Camp were also notable exclusions from the roster that collectively come as a surprise, considering the current state of the Texans WR room after John Metchie is out for the season.

Offensive Cuts From The Texans Roster:

Jeff Driskel (QB)
Jimmy Morrissey (OL)
Max Scharping (OL)
Jordan Steckler (OL)
Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms (OL)
Cedric Ogbuehi (OL)
Jalen Camp (WR)
Drew Estrada (WR)
Johnny Johnson III (WR)
Connor Wedington (WR)
Chris Conley (WR)
Marlon Mack (RB)
Paul Quessenberry (FB)
Seth Green (TE)
Antony Auclair (TE)
Mason Schreck (TE)

Defensive Cuts From The Texans Roster:

Adedayo Odeleye (DL)
Demone Harris (DL)
Ross Blacklock (DL)
Grayland Arnold (DB)
Jacobi Francis (DB)
Tristin McCollum (DB)
Terrence Brooks (DB)
Isaac Yiadom (DB)
Kendall Sheffield (DB)
Kevin-Pierre Louis (LB)

Wrapping Up The Texans Roster Or Just Getting Started?

While it seems like the Texans may very well be finished prepping their roster for the 2022 campaign, don’t be surprised to see a few more players make it in from waivers. The Texans currently hold the third spot in waiver priority, and there are a few notable players that fit roster needs. Expect to see the Texans actively pursuing new members at wide receiver, tight end, and possibly offensive line.

Candidate #1: O.J. Howard

Howard was a first-round pick back in the 2017 draft and spent all of his playing time since on the Buccaneers. His development was notably hampered when the Bucs traded for the legendary tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and he had trouble carving out a significant role from that point on. Howard is still a relatively young tight end that has decent career stats of 119 receptions, 1,737 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns.

Candidate #2: Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson had a very strong preseason showing with the Buccaneers and makes the case to be rostered somewhere in the NFL. Why shouldn’t a rebuilding team like the Texans take a chance on the 24-year-old Minnesota product? While he saw the field some in 2021, he recently did decent work this preseason, recording 11 catches for 133 yards.

Candidate #3: Alex Leatherwood

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Leatherwood has as good of a chance to see the field for the Texans in 2022 as the two players mentioned above. What he does possess is possibility. Leatherwood was selected by the Raiders in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft and saw a fair amount of playing time last season as a rookie. He ended the season with a disappointing 45.0 PFF grade, but the Texans possess the advantage of not having to rush the young product into a starting role. Sitting on the roster behind pro-bowl LT Laremy Tunsil may help the young player evolve his game in a way that benefits the team long-term.

Always Moving Forward

At the end of the day, the Texans are trying to create a team that gives the best possible winning chance now, while preparing themselves for the future. No one is expecting the Texans to win the Superbowl this year, so it would be naive to expect large trades mid-season that brings players in. Expect Caserio to continue his tradition of looking for young, diamond-in-the-rough type players to develop for the future. Until then, look forward to watching a plethora of young rookies develop this season and a team of coaches that are hungry for a winning season.


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