Kirby Lee/USA Today

The Rundown: The Offseason Look at the Houston Texans Safeties

A closer look at the Houston Texans safeties heading into the 2016 season.

Safeties

Under Contract

Name Key Notes
Rahim Moore Appeared in 7 games (6 starts) Inactive for 10 games including Wildcard vs. KC. 16 total tackles, 1 INT. Signed 3-year $12 million free agent deal in 2015 offseason. $4 million was guaranteed.
Corey Moore Active final regular season game and WC game. Played on special teams after Charles James went to the injured reserve. 
Kurtis Drummond Appeared in 6 games. Got a few snaps a safety on defense and was second on the team with 10 special teams tackles. As the season went on started to play faster and showed the ability to play at this level. 
Andre Hal The former 2015 7th-round pick made the conversion to safety after the 2016 NFL draft. Ended up being a big help for the safety position. Led the team with 4 interceptions, also had 10 total passes defensed. Became a full-time starter in week 6 and totaled 34 tackles on the season. 
Lonnie Ballentine It was a long wait and only appearing in three games before suffering a knee injury that landed him on the injured reserve. Ballentine showed why the Texans were not ready to part ways with him despite limited practice looks over the past two training camps. 

This is a group that is youthful and inexperienced. 

Andre Hal is the most intriguing of player here, especially if he can continue to make a climb to become an even better safety that he was last season. Hal had better than average ball skills and was able to get himself into position to make game changing plays. Time will tell, but Hal is a penciled in starter for the 2016 season. 

Lonnie Ballentine has been plagued with injuries the past two seasons, both of which have resulted in trips to the injured reserve. Despite practicing only one week during training camp in 2015, Ballentine still made the team and finally got on the field when he was fully healthy. The imposing safety showed real ability to help the defense with his ability to cover ground and tackle in space. His season ended on a terrible collision which resulted in a dislocated knee cap and tears to his MCL and PCL. The talent is there for Ballentine but he has to stay healthy. 

The youth and development of both Kurtis Drummond and Corey Moore will be something to monitor moving forward. Drummond is further along in the defense and is better suited to play in cover-2 or deep middle if needed. Additionally, Drummond is able to make a difference on special teams and he could turn out to be a potential steal for the Texans as a rookie free agent. As for Moore, he will have to win a spot on the roster when that time comes but there is enough skill to warrant the team taking a long look at the former safety out of Georgia. 

The clock is ticking on Rahim Moore and it is just a matter of time before he is released by the Texans. The Moore signing was a $4 million gamble that did not pay off. 

Free Agents

Name Key Notes
Quintin Demps Signed off the streets in the middle of training camp after the Texans realized Stevie Brown was not going to work. Demps became a stabalizing veteran presence after Rahim Moore was benched. Demps started 13 games for the defense and 61 total tackles and 1 intercpetion on the season. 
Eddie Pleasant (RFA) The growth of Pleasant over the past couple seasons is a positive for the Texans. Pleasant fit the role of the third safety that plays in the box for the dime well. Pleasant had 28 total tackles, 2 interceptions and also chipped in 8 special teams tackles. 

Demps and Pleasant were key safeties for the Texans run late in the season. Demps was not flashy but he was a constant in coverage and tackling. He still has something left in the tank and is best suited for the 3-4 defense. There is a chance that Demps would be available to the Texans at another reasonable contract. With so much unproven youth, Demps could be the veteran place holder for Moore when there is finally a decision on him. 

As for Pleasant, he is a solid scheme fit for the Texans on special teams and as the third safety in dime defense. Pleasant had a positive season playing as a pseudo-linebacker who was used inside the box to cover backs and tight ends. When adding in the fact that Pleasant tackled at a decent clip and made the defense faster and tougher in the middle of the field, his restricted status makes him almost a shoe-in to return to the Texans. 

Overview for the Offseason

The safety position was a solid surprise for the 2015 season but entering the off-season, there will have to be some retooling. With Rahim Moore set up not to not return to the roster, finding a veteran for the group is key, and that veteran could be Quintin Demps. Eddie Pleasant is a must re-sign and Lonnie Ballentine is a wild-card given his health. Kurtis Drummond’s development over the off-season is key; he could be seeing an increased amount of time defensively if he can prove to the coaching staff he is ready for more as a player. 

The Texans need to play it smart and look for potentially one or two safeties to come into camp to compete for roster spots. The Texans have the opportunity to bring back their starting safety group from 2015 in Hal, Demps and Pleasant. That could give the Texans a chance for Ballentine, Drummond and possibly another to develop and take over when Demps time is up with the Texans. The team needs to be careful to ensure they keep the position well stocked and they have the opportunity to do just that. 


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