When the Texans' defense lines up in the first game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and rookie starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence, they'll be missing their top cornerback.
Bradley Roby is suspended for the first game as part of his six-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Roby, entering the second year of a three-year, $36 million contract, is expected to be replaced in the starting lineup by Vernon Hargreaves playing opposite Terrance Mitchell.
As a reaction to their lack of depth and hoping to upgrade their size and speed at the position, the Texans traded a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for cornerback Ka'Dar Hollman (6-foot, 196 pounds, 4.37 speed) and signed former Las Vegas Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas. Douglas (6-foot-2, 209 pounds) has 180 career tackles and five interceptions. They also traded 2020 fourth-round cornerback John Reid to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a conditional 2023 seventh-round draft pick.
The Texans are making plans for Roby's absence.
“There’s some veteran guys back there, and when you have cuts and you cut guys at a certain position, when that happens, obviously that’s a position," Texans coach David Culley said. "With Roby not being able to play in the first game, we’re going to be without him for that one game, and so we’ve got to be able to have people back there to be able to take that role and be able to roll in there and go.”
Hollman is a big corner who was drafted in the sixth round by Green Bay out of Toledo where he was a Burlsworth Trophy nominee for the nation's top player who was previously a walk-on.
Hollman, who earned a scholarship at Toledo, played in 14 games with one start last season and had 10 tackles and three passes defensed.
“He has really good corner ability," Culley said. "He has the ability to be able to do what we want to do back there. He’s a smart player. He’s a player that understand what we’re trying to do back there on defense, and we feel like he fits very well there.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 years and has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128