Braddock: Thoughts on Texans During OTAs

Here are some of my thoughts on the Texans this offseason, but please try to keep them in context. This week was the 1st day of OTAs opened to the media.

- The Texans could have a defined role for Tyler Ervin & I like it. More importantly, he seems to like it. Was playing fast yesterday.

- DeAndre Hopkins was more of a vocal leader than at any point that I can recall in his Texans career. Not just w/ WRs, but the entire group. Hopkins was a true professional over the last few seasons, always saying the right things, but was obviously frustrated by QB play. Hopkins has the ear of the QBs & seems to be sharing wisdom routinely with Savage & Watson. Immediately looks for them after disconnect.

- I asked O'Brien if it was more about the installation or execution this early in process. He's so hands-on now that I believe every mannerism is a focus.

- Kurtis Drummond kept drawing my eyes yesterday, even before he hauled in an INT. He'll be intriguing to watch in this safety group.

- Is it the jersey? Robert Nelson was rocking AJ Bouye's old #21 at practice & apparently it comes with coverage ability, as he was everywhere.

- Savage had moments where he looked like the QB who was getting the start last year, & not the relaxed QB that we saw last camp. OB is so demanding of ball security & perfection and Savage is the perfect soldier. Always wanting to carry out the orders exactly. This is good & bad as he seemed to be thinking more than playing. Savage has to play loose this year. Can he?

- Deshaun Watson had rough patches but got better as practice went on. He's at his best on timing throws. Remember, it is very early in the process. 

- Brandon Weeden actually looked the most comfortable. No pressure on him as he's not considered the present or the future. Went out & let it rip.

- I saw a unicorn yesterday as Mr Irrelevant, Lonnie Ballentine was finally on the field & healthy for a May practice. Ballentine may have been too fired up as he made more contact than desired with Hopkins. Had to be reminded, "Don't touch the merchandise".

- Big year for WR Jaelen Strong. His camp started off similar to last year. Learned my lesson, though. We have to see him do it on Sundays. 

- Zach Cunningham was light on tape, but yesterday was my first chance seeing him in person... Rail thin, but was flying thru gaps.

- There were 2 UDFAs that I loved in last year's rookie class: Joel Heath & Shakeel Rashad. Rashad didn't temper my expectations. Still high hopes for him.

- Count me in the group that has been paying attention to WR Riley McCarron. Plays the part. Can he continue to do it when pads come on? 

- Completely left out TE Stephen Anderson among UDFAs in 2016 class, mostly because I can't believe he didn't get drafted. I've always had high expectations for Stephen Anderson. He should come on this year. He is a matchup problem.

- Maybe the guy who I'm most intrigued w/ is Ufomba Kamalu. He did some things well last year. Looks more confident in year 2. He's a guy to watch.

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