Pretty much since the inception of the franchise, I have griped about the wide receiver talent the Houston Texans have employed. Outside of Andre Johnson, there has never been another guy that has constituted a threat in any facet of the game. This is why someone like Lestar Jean, who went undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in the 2011 NFL Draft, has been able to stick onto the roster for a couple of seasons.
When the Texans first signed Jean, I assumed he was just another warm body for training camp. As I said, the field was wide open after Johnson and Jean made some strong impressions.
Being no stranger to camp hype, I shrugged it off and got on with my life, knowing that no matter how impressive an undrafted rookie was, he wasn’t going to be able to overcome the crush head coach Gary Kubiak had on Kevin Walter. But he was stashed on the injured reserve for a year, and I didn’t really think about him again until camp the following season.
He played well enough in the preseason to make it as the fourth wide receiver, but he still saw limited time due to nagging injuries. There were some impressive catches; the guy knows how to go up and get it, but he just can’t stay on the field.
With first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins joining the team and Walter finally on another roster, the future of Jean’s role is up in the air.
Some are viewing 2013 as a last chance for Jean. Johnson and Hopkins are locks to be the top two receivers and Keshawn Martin has any possible slot role taken up. With Devier Posey likely to be placed on the physically unable to perform list, Jean will be in a camp battle with Jeff Maehl, rookie Alan Bonner and a group of undrafted free agents. So, unless Jean is just abysmal in camp, you have to like his chances to make the final 53.
Jean has shown promise and has taken strides in his route running and willingness to learn a complicated playbook. His effort is through the roof and he has good hands. It is his durability that has kept him off the field and with a stud rookie in Hopkins coming in, he’s unlikely to see much field time if everyone is healthy in front of him.
Being undrafted and sticking on an NFL roster for three years is nothing to scoff at. You have all of those teams telling you that you aren’t good enough to play at this level, and you fight and claw to prove that you are. Well, that’s the kind of guy you like to root for.
Unless Jean completely mails it in on special teams, I don’t see any way he isn’t on this roster opening day — unless Walter is cut from the Tennessee Titans.