Texans Practice Squad Still Has Room
The Houston Texans named seven players to their practice squad heading into the 2011 season and have some very interesting prospects on the squad. Faced with some tough decisions on personnel the Texans kept some players who look like with a year of work could contribute down the road in a Texans uniform.
As of today the Texans have room for one more player on their practice squad, and early rumors are stating Jesse Nading might be a candidate for the last spot on the practice squad.
Here is the list.
Wide Receiver, 6’0″ 190 lbs., 22 years old, Rookie, Oregon
Notes: One of my original picks for the practice squad, Maehl won a spot with the Texans for his ability to play special teams. In camp he was making diving catches and doing the thing that head coach Gray Kubiak likes most of his wide receivers, block. With the injuries that depleted a once thought of deep receiver position, the cards fell right for Maehl and his opportunity to make the Texans. We can think of Maehl being David Anderson version 2.0 when he finally makes it to a NFL game.
Safety, 5’11″, 219 lbs. 23 years old, Rookie, Idaho
Notes: This is a good spot for Keo to learn the game and get acclimated to the rigors of the NFL. High expectations were for the 5th round pick out of Idaho, unfortunately he holds the distinction as the highest draft pick of the entire 2010 NFL draft class to not make a NFL roster. With the Texans added depth in the secondary, it says something of the play of the four safeties in front of him, that kept Keo from making the active roster. This will be a good time for Keo to get one full year under Wade Phillips defensive scheme and work with defensive back coach Vance Joseph to improve his game.
Running Back, 6’0″, 225 lbs, 25 years old, 2 year exp., Texans
Notes: If there was someone who deserved to make this team in any capacity, it was Ogbonnaya. Considered just another guy, Ogbonnaya made this team for his hard work and dedication he put towards the Texans in the preseason. He played practically a full game against the N.Y. Jets while Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Derrick Ward and Steve Slaton were all hurt. In the final preseason game he would have easily had over 100 yards rushing if it was not for holding penalties. Even an asset on special teams, Ogbonnaya is one injury away from being on the active squad. He provides needed depth in the runningback position, but most importantly his one cut style fits perfect in the Texans offensive system.
Wide Receiver, 5’5″, 169 lbs. 25 years old, 2 year exp., LSU
Notes: Probably one of the biggest surprises to make the practice squad, the return specialist and wide receiver found a way to stick around in Houston. After spending the entire 2010 season on the injured reserve the Texans refuse to pull the plug on Holliday. When healthy he showed he can provide some serious speed to the return game and against Minnesota he caught a pass and made some nice moves with the football. It is hard to assess a player who is never healthy, and the Texans feel there “has” to be something with him, because if their wasn’t he would already been cut loose.
Just in case you forgot how fast he was… (*Be advised there are curse words on the Holliday highlights)
Offensive Guard, 6’6″, 305 lbs. 25 years old, 1 year exp., Gerogia Tech. University
Notes: A late addition to the squad, Gardner played the last preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. With being brought in at the end of the preseason it was probably a safe bet to realize he was a target to bring in to develop and provide depth on the interior of the offensive line. No NFL team can do without depth on the offensive line and some more time on the practice squad might prove useful.
Linebacker, 6’3″, 227 lbs. 23 years old, Rookie, Florida State
Notes: Besides having one of the coolest names ever, it is hard to even evaluate a player who did not play all preseason much less practice. Once again, he has done something to prove that he needs a longer look by the Texans. Here you can find his Florida State player profile and this was the only clip of him we could find.
Center, 6’5″ 300 lbs. 23 years old, Rookie, Rutgers University
Notes: Another of one of my picks for the practice squad, Barbieri made an impact in camp and ran the entire preseason as Chris Myers backup at center. In camp Barbieri was running center for the third string offense, and he was able to move up the depth chart as a center. The original backup center Cody Wallace was moved to guard in favor of Barbieri, which proved to be big for Barbieri’s future with the Texans. This is a great sign for the Texans being able to get undrafted free agents onto the team, Barbieri joins, Brian Braman, Lestar Jean, Mister Alexander and Jeff Maehl as camp invites who made this team.
Here is a look at Barbieri at Rutgers.