Texans Rookie Class Offering Little Help
This year’s Houston Texans rookie class has fallen short of expectations on the impact they would deliver to this roster. The draft class was built well at the initial glance and looked like they delivered with who they drafted.
Injuries, cuts and little real contribution from the rookies have contributed to some of the slow starts for the Texans. It was hard not to be excited about this year’s draft class and with some UDFA rookies making an impact, the youth infusion was happening before our eyes. This came to a screeching halt after the final preseason game and the cuts were made. Let’s take a look.
The piece that the Texans were waiting for to line up opposite Andre Johnson at wide receiver finally arrived and has been as good as advertised. He needs the ball thrown to him more, but when it is thrown to him he makes things happen. He did have a critical fumble against the St. Louis Rams, but he is putting together a solid rookie campaign. With 28 catches for 416 yards and 2 touchdowns, he is pushing for rookie of the year honors on the offensive side.
Wide receiver is usually one of the toughest positions to adapt to coming from college to the NFL, but he has made a solid transition.
Buried early in the depth chart and working as the third safety in nickel situations, Swearinger has all the ability needed to be the Texans’ safety of the future. With Danieal Manning on the I.R. for the remainder of the season, it will be Swearinger’s time at safety.
He showed he can be all over the field and not hesitant to stick ball carriers, but he has to play smarter at times. Swearinger is still learning the position but it is encouraging to see what he will do for the defense.
His season was derailed on the second day of rookie mini camp this summer when he was rolled up on in a drill by one of his teammates from behind. Offseason knee surgery and sitting out the majority of training camp only delayed the inevitable for Williams’ 2013 season.
He came back the last week of camp and played in the final preseason game, but it was apparent he was not healthy and not in shape for the upcoming season. Williams was supposed to push Derek Newton for the right tackle position, but injury prevented that and left the Texans searching for answers.
Health has always been an issue for Williams at North Carolina and it came true again in Houston.
He arrived in Houston with baggage and could never get on track as a player for the Texans. He reported out of shape two times, once in rookie mini camp and the other during training camp. Then an ankle injury during the second day of training camp knocked him out of camp for nearly a month. He was not 100% healthy but still made the team coming out of camp.
He was inactive for all seven games this year and was even changed from outside linebacker to defensive end because he could not keep the weight off during the season. A 4-3 defensive end, Montgomery couldn’t make the transition to an NFL 3-4 outside linebacker or much less get on the field as a 3rd round pick.
He was let go by the Texans after an incident on a road trip in Kansas City for violating team rules, and is now unemployed at the moment. The Texans had their hands full with Montgomery and cut their losses quick with the disappointing five months of Montgomery in Houston.
Another disappointment for the Texans, the defensive end from Connecticut never made any mark to stick on this team. His play was so bad during camp and preseason he was in jeopardy of not making the roster. Being over matched and the Texas heat were his biggest enemies.
He could never get on track and looked like he did not belong at the NFL level at any point that he was out there practicing. Williams will have to make some big adjustments as a player during this time on the injured reserve and the offseason to have any chance on making this team next season.
The best value for the Texans in the draft, Quessenberry was NFL ready out of San Jose State and showed he can play any of the positions on the offensive line, with the exception of center. He would have pushed for playing time at left guard because he was showing he could handle what the Texans offense asked of him.
Unfotunately, his season was cut short in the first week of the regular season when he broke his foot during practice in a non-contact situation. He would have helped the offensive line at some point this season, but this was the start of some big injures that the Texans had to deal with that have impacted the roster.
A calf injury was the reason Jones got cut on the final cutdown day at the end of camp. Two teams later, Jones has been putting together a good rookie season for the New England Patriots and producing at a high level. Jones has 3.5 sacks this season where, minus J.J. Watt, the Texans’ defensive line has 3.5 sacks all season.
He was known as the “Monster of the MAC” for his relentless play and his interior pass rush ability for a 300 lb. frame. This is probably the one that got away from the Texans, thinking they could get him to the practice squad with no issues. Jones has been nothing but a good player for the Patriots and the Texans chose to keep questionable players over Jones, which has proved to be a big mistake.
Bonner was hurt on the last day before the first game of the preseason, and that was the last we saw of Bonner for the season. He was going to be the Texans help as a returner and spot wide receiver, when needed. He had a good camp but the injury caused the Texans to stash him on the injured reserve for next season.
This was another piece that the Texans were depending on, especially for the special teams, but it was all for not and just more issues for the Texans.
Griffin has been used sparingly this season and, even with Owen Daniels going down with a fibula injury, the Texans are being careful on how they use him on offense. He will be an important piece of the Texans offense in the future, but him being on special teams and the second tight end at the moment is a good sign for the 201st pick overall in the draft.
A.J. Bouye, Willie Jefferson, Cierre Wood, Justin Tuggle
All of these players made the team as undrafted rookies and three are already done for the season. Bouye was placed on the injured reserve with a hamstring issue, but his play on special teams was nothing worthwhile. He has a chance to get better but he needs time to develop as a player.
Jefferson and Wood were waived from the team for their actions in Kansas City, and added to more disappointment to this rookie class.
Tuggle is the last one standing and has made the position change back to outside linebacker after being moved to help on the inside. Tuggle has been on majority of special teams and is the lone undrafted free agent left on the team.
#Texans rookie snaps. Hopkins 472, Swearinger 206, Griffin 64, Tuggle 24, Jefferson 20, Wood 3 and Bouye 1.
— PDS (@PatDStat) October 22, 2013
(Stat of the Night) Jamison, Ninja, Crick, McClain and Mitchell = 821 snaps / 3.5 sacks. Chris Jones 209 snaps / 3.5 sacks. #Texans
— PDS (@PatDStat) October 22, 2013
The Texans’ rookie class has been a disappointment for the 2013 season, but the verdict is still out on the remainder of the draft class. Injuries have mauled this draft class which is not a controllable factor, but questionable picks and decisions are the main issue here. Hopkins and Swearinger can make the class look good, but overall the class needs to come back in a big way next season.