After 5 weeks of training in their offseason program, the Houston Texans began organized team activities (OTA) today without wide receiver Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub. Johnson had arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago, which will force him to miss an estimated three to four weeks of practice. He is expected to be ready for training camp in August. Schaub is still healing from the Lisfranc injury that occurred against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in November and sidelined him for the rest of the season. All 29 rookies – eight drafted and 21 undrafted free agents reported to Reliant Stadium on May 13th and began working with their new teammates in the weight room and on the practice field the following day.
Among the drafted players five have signed, while the top three picks selected – Whitney Mercilus, DeVier Posey, and Brandon Brooks have yet to ink their name to a contract.
As of Monday, May 21st the rookies listed on the Texans’ roster are:
Whitney Mercilus, OLB Illinois – Rd. 1 pick 26
DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State – Rd. 3 pick 68
Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (OH) – Rd. 3 pick 76
Ben Jones, C, Georgia – Rd. 4 pick 99
Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan State – Rd. 4 pick 121
Jared Crick, DT/E, Nebraska – Rd. 4 pick 126
Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M – Rd. 5 pick 161
Nick Mondek, OT, Purdue – Rd. 6 pick 195
Offensive undrafted rookies:
Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Jerrell Jackson, WR, Missouri
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
Mario Louis, WR, Grambling
Logan Brock, TE, TCU
Phillip Supernaw, TE, Ouachita Baptist
Jonathan Grimes, RB, William & Mary
Davin Meggett, RB, Maryland
Jason Ford, FB, Illinois
Cody White, G, Illinois State
Nathan Menkin, OT, Mary Hardin – Baylor
Defensive undrafted rookies:
Loni Fangupo, NT, BYU
David Hunter, NT, Houston
Rennie Moore Jr., DE, Clemson
Tracy Robertson, DE, Baylor
DJ Bryant, OLB, James Madison
Delano Johnson, OLB, Bowie State
Shawn Louiseau, ILB, Merrimack
Greg Williams, ILB, Pittsburgh
Desmond Marrow, S, Toledo
Eddie Pleasant, S, Oregon
The Texans current roster has 86 players listed, four short of the new NFL maximum offseason roster size of 90, which went into effect on April 24th.
The new roster limits include active, inactive, exempt players, reserve lists, unsigned draft rookies and franchise free agent players. The most notable change, aside from the increase from 80 to 90 players, is the inclusion of unsigned players, including draft picks that have yet to sign their contracts.
The rosters can remain at 90 through the third week of the preseason, after that teams must cut down the roster to 75 players. The final cut to the 53-man roster happens the week before the start of the regular season.
Financial restraints caused the Texans to let go of a lot of talent following last season; DE Mario Williams, CB Jason Allen, RT Eric Winston, and RG Mike Brisiel all left via free agency, while LB DeMeco Ryans was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth round and swapped third round picks in April’s draft. Extending Arian Foster’s contract to five-year $43.5 million made it difficult for general manager Rick Smith to add very much through free agency, so the Texans will have to rely on the rookies to fill some holes.
Monday was the first of 10 OTA practices and will be followed by a mandatory three-day mini-camp June 12th through the 14th.