It is closing in on Houston Texans 2014 training camp and here at State of the Texans we will cover all of the position groups and players leading up to day one of training camp.

Texans Cornerbacks

Three Year Duo

For the third consecutive season, the Texans will be looking towards Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson being the starting cornerbacks to open the season.

Joseph sat out of the mini-camps and OTAs after undergoing a foot procedure during the offseason. His injuries have slowed him the past two seasons and his play has dipped in the process. The Texans are content on bringing him back slowly this season to keep him healthy heading into the season. Joseph still has the ability to be a solid cornerback for the Texans and the Texans will mix in more zone coverage that will help Joseph who has lost a step in speed. He has proved, since being signed as a free agent, that he can be a difference maker and this year the defense will be depending on his play.

As for Jackson, he has made a steady progression upwards since his rookie season for the Texans. He is one of the few that will cover and play the run with a purpose from the secondary. This season is a big one for Jackson who is in a contract year and is expected to be a leader for the new look Texans defense.

Jackson will be asked to play a new role under Romeo Crennel by adding slot corner when needed to his game. This will be an interesting development to watch and if he can help at the slot corner he will open the door for a new face when the Texans put three cornerbacks on the field.

Best Man Gets Playing Time

The Texans defense is looking for A.J. Bouye and Brandon Harris to take over the third cornerback position for the season.

Harris, the former second round pick, has been nonexistent for the Texans since arriving. There has been reason to think that his lack of playing time was being buried in the depth chart. This is the first season, since being with the Texans, he has a real chance to compete for consistent playing time. Harris lacks straight line speed and can be exposed on longer developing routes, but he has the toughness to play as a slot cornerback. If Harris can find his niche at the slot cornerback, it will allow the Texans to move Jackson back to a boundary cornerback.

The second year player in Bouye is the one that has kept progressing as an NFL player since turning his free agent rookie deal into an NFL contract. The rangy corner has good instincts but was primarily a special teams player in 2013. However, this season he has the makings for a solid backup as a boundary cornerback. If Bouye can prove he can provide a difference in the secondary, it could move Jackson inside when the Texans go three cornerbacks. Bouye will be one to watch with one full season of the NFL under his belt and ready to contribute in 2014.

Glue Players

In 2013, the Texans were struggling with special teams and signed then free agents Elbert Mack and Josh Victorian. The two veterans came in and made a difference on special teams and their success kept them into the new era under Bill O’Brien.

Mack is the veteran with the second most experience of the cornerbacks and has made a positive impression on the new staff during OTAs. He can help at any of the spots and has the experience to be a contributor when the season opens.

Victorian ended OTAs with a strong week and pushed his name back into discussion to get his opportunity to make the 53 man roster once again. His value lies in being a depth player and most importantly a key special teams cog.

The Rookies

The only two rookie cornerbacks heading to camp are Andre Hal and Marcus Williams. Hal was drafted out of Vanderbilt and will be dealing with the tough transition it takes to make an impact at cornerback. His learning curve has been slow but late in mini-camps he looked to be taking to the coaching and it showed on the field. Hal being drafted is a leg up on the competition and he will have to prove he can be a special teams player.

One of the most decorated players in North Dakota State history, Marcus Williams proved he could produce at the college level. It has been a learning experience for Williams and it has been a slow start for the rookie during the mini camps. If Williams can find the instincts that made him successful for the Bison, he has a chance to be part of the Texans when training camp breaks.

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