The Houston Texans open up their 2018 preseason on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs tonight and plenty of questions exist regarding the bottom end of the roster. Fortunately, that is exactly what the preseason is for. We look at five players to whom we will be paying attention for tonight’s preseason game.
The Texans will be looking for depth in their cornerback group and Dee Virgin is the one holdover at the position from last season’s practice squad. Virgin originally made the 53-man roster when the 2017 preseason was complete and has had a full year in the Texans system. Virgin has the physical makeup for the position but he will have to put together a strong preseason to latch on in the depth chart.
The door is open at the running back position with D’Onta Foreman on the active/PUP list. Lamar Miller will continue to be the primary back and Troymaine Pope will get a shot to put his best work on tape for the preseason. Pope has to have to show that he can pass protect and when called upon on special teams, contribute to that unit as well. There is no doubt that Pope can make plays with the ball in his hand, but in the preseason, it is about showing he can contribute in more ways that one.
The tight end position has changed some with C.J. Fiedorowicz retiring and rookie Jordan Thomas has a chance to help the group. Checking in at 6’5” and 280 lbs., Thomas could help as an inline blocker, but his receiving skills are what set him apart. Thomas was used primarily as a pass catcher at Mississippi State and has been doing the same for the Texans during the first two weeks of training camp. He will have to work as an inline blocker but he could see plenty of work over the preseason to get him ready for the regular season.
The starting safeties are set with Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson but in the way Romeo Crennel plays his defense, a third safety is needed often. Justin Reid will get the primary shot to be that player and help the defense. Reid has a chance to be a solid player for the Texans but as a rookie, there will be some bumps in the road. This is the time for Reid to get as much work as he can, seeing as many reps on the field as possible.
Only playing in eight games over the past two seasons, it has been nearly four years since Seantreal Henderson has played a full season of football. The Texans are starting Henderson at right tackle and giving him the first shot to win the position. Henderson was with Texans general manager Brian Gaine in Buffalo, so there is a comfort level between the two and likely led to Henderson getting a shot here in Houston. Henderson is a low risk player and is the place holder until Martinas Rankin returns from his foot injury.