Houston Texans: Cornerbacks to Watch For in Preseason Week 1 at Minnesota Vikings

By Mike Kerns
Thomas Campbell – USA TODAY Sports

Breathe a sigh of relief, Houston Texans fans; we have finally made it. An actual game where we get to see our guys hit someone else. Sure, the preseason is just the preseason, but it’s much better than watching training camp drills, right?

Training camp is fun as it eases the desire in just wanting some football to talk about, but you can only take so much of hearing about how every undrafted free agent is the next Arian Foster and how every veteran is “in the best shape of his career.” At least in the preseason, we get to see how those fighting to make the roster look against actual competition.

There are a handful of positions that are set while others are very much up for grabs. For all that we have heard and talked about the Safety position, there are a few battles in the cornerback depth department that aren’t quite engraved in stone.

Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are set as your two starters, and Brice McCain will have the nickel spot locked up, barring any injury. After that, anything is subject to change with a good or poor performance in the preseason.

Joseph has set the expectations for Jackson and himself to be the best duo at the position in the NFL in 2013. But what about behind them? There are some interesting rookies that’ll be trying to make their names known as well as some entering their third year and trying to hang on.

Brandon Harris, a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, is still looking for a role on the team as he begins year no. 3. He filled in last year after some injuries, but never really made his mark. There were rumors of him sliding to safety over the summer, but we have seen none of that in camp, so I’m not buying it. He’ll make the roster this season, but it could be his last shot at being more than just a backup plan if he doesn’t force his way onto the field.

Roc Carmichael, who was taken in the fourth round of the same draft as Harris, spent a year on the injured reserve as a rookie and saw very minimal action in his sophomore effort. The reviews in camp have been mixed on him and, much like Harris, this could be his last shot to be a part of this team long-term.

Elbert Mack was undrafted in 2008, yet he has found a way to stick in the NFL for five seasons. He’s a quintessential depth guy that can play teams and provide some veteran leadership for the young guys and play in a pinch. Most think he is nothing more than a “camp body,” but I like his chances of sticking to the final roster in an Alan Ball-type role.

Lastly, we have a duo of undrafted rookies in A.J. Bouye and Travis Howard, who will see plenty of time this Friday. Howard was inconsistent in college and it was the main reason he went undrafted. He has decent speed and instincts, but his quickness has been the big question mark against him at this level.

Bouye, on the other hand, has gotten a lot of attention in training camp. He has great height for the position and has been said to consistently fix any mistakes with a big play on his next attempt. Of all of the cornerbacks on the roster, Bouye is the one I’ll be watching the closest in Minny this Friday.

Houston has shown in the past that they are willing to give undrafted guys a shot if they earn it in the preseason. There’s room on this roster to possibly carry up to six corners, so I expect to see a lot of competition out of this group, and it should be fun to watch.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” his page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also subscribe to his Texans podcast on iTunes.

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