NFL Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Final Prediction For The 2013 Opening Day 53-Man Roster

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Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the third preseason game in the books, attention now turns to who will fill out the final 53-man roster for the Houston Texans. The fourth, and thankfully final, preseason game will decide very little.

The battle for the right to be named the official backup quarterback will be the biggest story in the final preseason game, but as of now, I'd be surprised if both don't make the final roster. When a team decides to carry three quarterbacks, there is going to be someone deserving of a roster spot on the outside looking in after the final cuts are handed down.

Things are slim at some other positions, and we will see some NFL talent get released this week. Unlike in years past when Houston would cut a player and they'd fall into the abyss, never to be heard from again, some of these guys are going to play elsewhere in 2013.

Cornerback, outside linebacker and defensive line all have some guys that are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. If they hope to make the final roster, they better impress the hell out of Gary Kubiak this Thursday. But even by then may be too late.

Third running back is still generating a ton of interest, but don't be surprised to see the team sign someone off of the waiver wire if a veteran scheme fit is available. The same goes with the safety position, with the poor play of Shiloh Keo and the questions about Ed Reed's availability.

Here goes my guess for what the opening day roster will look like.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on TwitterFacebook and on Google. You can also listen to his Texans Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast on iTunes.

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates and Case Keenum

I've said it since the first week of camp, the Texans are going to keep three quarterbacks. Ever since they had to play a third string quarterback two years ago, the team wants to be prepared. The fact that both Keenum and Yates seem to be legitimate backups at this level only helps matters. This is a good problem to have.

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Running Backs & Fullback

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back: Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Deji Karim

Fullback: Greg Jones

While I do think the third running back depends on who is available after all the cuts on other teams are done, if not, Karim seems to have won the position. I think Cierre Wood has the higher ceiling, but the team is looking to win now, and Karim's ability to return kicks puts him over the top.

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Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver: Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean and DeVier Posey

Tight End: Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin

The miraculous recovery from a ruptured Achilles for Posey makes this one a tough squeeze for some of the fifth wide receiver hopefuls. Other than a couple of drops in the first preseason game, Jean has been pretty reliable. If he could actually translate that to the regular season, then this group could be something pretty special. This will be Daniels' farewell tour with Houston, so it'll be interesting to see how Graham develops.

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Offensive Line

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Tackle: Duane Brown, Derek Newton, Brennan Williams, David Quessenberry and Ryan Harris

Guard: Brandon Brooks and Wade Smith

Center: Chris Myers and Ben Jones

After watching Newton almost get Schaub killed yesterday, this is a unit that has me concerned. Williams is the long-term solution at right tackle, but he needs a year to get acclimated. Jones, playing out of position, has been pretty atrocious, subbing for the injured Smith. There are a lot of question marks on the line, except for who will ultimately make the final roster.

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Defensive Backs

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback: Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain, Brandon Harris and A.J. Bouye

Safety: Danieal Manning, Ed Reed, D.J. Swearinger and Shiloh Keo

After a pretty lackluster camp and preseason, the team decides to pull the plug on the Carmichael experiment. The ability of Harris to play safety in a pinch is the only thing that saves him. Rookie Bouye has been impressive, and I think coaches like him a lot and see a future nickel guy there. Keo is kept for his ability to play teams, but he should never see the field as a safety.

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Linebacker: Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus, Trevardo Williams, Sam Montgomery, Bryan Braman and Willie Jefferson

Inside Linebacker: Brian Cushing, Joe Mays, Darryl Sharpton and Tim Dobbins

The popular choice for a surprise cut among fans today is that of Dobbins. In a regular year, sure, but with the group pretty thin on the inside as is, I think he sticks around. Outside, there are plenty of whispers about Williams being a surprise cut, but I think they'd find some fake injury to stash him on IR for a year before giving up on him. Jefferson has just plain forced his way onto the roster.

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Defensive Line

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End: J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith, Jared Crick and Tim Jamison

Defensive Tackle: Earl Mitchell, Daniel Muir and Terrell McClain

No big surprises here. In my original prediction, I didn't have McClain making the final cut, but he has earned his place during preseason. Chris Jones hasn't shown much, and I think they try to stash him on the practice squad in favor of the vetera, Muir.

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Special Teams & Final Thoughts

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kicker: Randy Bullock

Punter: Shane Lechler

Long Snapper: Jon Weeks

I'm not going to spend any time talking about kickers, since these guys don't even have any competition in camp, but I do like what I saw from both Lechler and Bullock yesterday.

If healthy, this is the most well-rounded and gifted Houston Texans team ever assembled. It's debatable whether or not the window is closing, but anything short of an AFC championship appearance this year should be viewed as a disappointment with this roster.