While it has yet to be confirmed by the Houston Texans, in the age of social media, many of the pending roster cuts to get down to the required 53 have already leaked out. One of the most surprising was that running back Deji Karim had been cut and undrafted free agent Cierre Wood had nabbed the coveted third running back spot.
Looks like Cierre Wood will be the 3rd Texans running back..I’ve learned that Deji Karim has been waived
— Bob Allen (@BobAllenKHOU) August 30, 2013
Another terrific story from the Texans. Running back Cierre Wood, signed as an undrafted free agent, makes the team.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 31, 2013
Not only is this a great story and an impressive feat for obvious reasons, but it is also great for the future of this club. Almost everyone covering the team predicted that Karim would make the roster because Gary Kubiak liked to “play it safe” and go with the veteran runner who plays special teams, too. But in Wood, Kubiak finally chose to go with upside.
For the first time since his explosion onto the scene, talk of Arian Foster and his inevitable decline after a season of blatant overuse have been on display. Battling camp injuries and the staff already talking about a diminished role means the team needs to think about the immediate future with Ben Tate a free agent that is likely to walk at the end of this season.
Regardless of the future, can Cierre Wood be a contributor on the 2013 team? Absolutely.
Just going off of Ben Tate’s health record, one would assume that he’ll be banged up more than once over the course of this season. Instantly filling the Justin Forsett role, betting on Wood to get carries at one point or another in 2013 would be the safe bet.
What set Wood apart from the other contenders in camp was how well he fit into the scheme. He showed great patience, made his reads perfectly and performed the “one cut and go” mantra this offense demands. Dennis Johnson couldn’t hold onto the football and attempted to dance too much. Add that to his stubborn inability to realize that you cannot run backwards at this level … ever.
For Karim, he was a victim of potential and upside. He would have been a solid three and a good kick returner this season. But outside of that, we know what his ceiling is to this point. Wood shows the understanding of the scheme to possibly become the backup to Foster or, in a best-case scenario, maybe even the heir apparent some day. While I might be getting ahead of myself there, the point I am getting at is these are possibilities that Karim did not possess.
Once thought to be a first or second-day pick after almost 1,300 yards rushing his junior season at Notre Dame, he saw those numbers dip in his senior season due to a suspension, injuries and fumbling issues. Another blunder in the mold of not entering the draft at your peak value, Wood saw his draft stock diminish to eventually not even hearing his name called.
Ever since the success that the undrafted Foster had in this system, Texans fans are guilty of thinking anyone can be plugged in and succeed in this scheme. That’s not entirely accurate, but it won’t be a huge shock to me if the team moves on from Foster earlier than most think they will. With Cierre Wood, it’s time to learn all that you can from the veterans and the playbook and set your goals high. This franchise isn’t afraid to roll with a guy with little or no draft status. He made the final roster; the rest is up to him.