Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Rundown: The Offseason Look at the Houston Texans Tight Ends

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

Tight Ends

Under Contract 

Name Notes
Eric Tomlinson Added to the team after the injury to Griffin during the season to fill out the practice squad. Tomlinson is a long and rangy tight end, just like the Texans want from the position. Was given a futures/reserves contract at the end of the season. 
Anthony Denham Injury during training camp with a shoulder issue. Denham was placed on injured resereve. Played in 4 games his rookie season and now entering year three he will have to take over a roster spot to stay in Houston. The most athletic tight end of the group. 
Garrett Graham It was Graham's least productive season as a pro since his rookie season. Falling out of grace with the staff, Graham was inactive for 9 games straight which more or less means the ned of his time in Houston. 
C.J. Fiedorowicz Some may not see it like this but there was a solid jump from year one to two for Fiedorowicz. He became a more consistent blocker and became better in the passing game when given chances. 17 recpetions and if anything he became more comfortbale with his role. 
Ryan Griffin Missed first part of the season with a knee injury and still hauled in 20 passes. The issue was the lack of consistency on the field and was plauged with key drops during the season. Made a big jump during training camp but the knee injury slowed him up. 

Eric Tomlinson arrived to the Texans at the start of the season, added to the practice squad from the Philadelphia Eagles. At 6’6" and 263 lbs., while Tomlinson is an imposing presence on the field, the team won’t get a good look at him until mini-camps begin during the summer. Tomlinson was extended on a reserve/futures contract after the season, so it is clear the Texans want to see more. 

Anthony Denham entered his second season with the Texans and was active during his rookie season, late in the year for four games. The promise of Denham’s ability in 2015 to make a jump was on the team’s mind and he made some strong strides in training camp. An athletic pass catching target, Denham had to straighten out his pass and run blocking skills. Denham was hurt inside the bubble diving for a catch prior to the final preseason game, injuring his shoulder. Denham could not shake the injury and was placed on the injured reserve before the season started, effectively ending his year. Denham remains an intriguing prospect and he brings a wide receiver feel to the position. He will be a wildcard to watch when the season arrives. 

Ryan Griffin impressed the Texans staff during training camp and leap frogged to the top of the depth chart. He has a good combination of athleticism and skill, which makes him the best fit for the offense. The only issue this season is that he had a knee injury in the first game of the season which landed him on the injured reserve with designation to return. When he returned, there was plenty of rust and, although he made some solid catches, he had an inconsistent season overall. Griffin initially took over the starting position but late in the season he was dropping key passes in high pressure situations when the team needed him the most. 

Garrett Graham was the second tight end when the season started and struggled to catch the ball all season. He was thrown to sporadically and it seemed like Graham got into his own head during the season. When Griffin was activated off the injured reserve, Graham did not see a single game on the field for the rest of the season. A healthy scratch for the remainder of 2015, nine games including the playoffs, Graham was an afterthought offensively. It was a disappointing season for Graham and it looks like it could be his final one in Houston. 

C.J. Fiedorowicz remains the primary inline blocking tight end and, just like majority of the 2014 draft class, it has taken some time for him to develop. Fiedorowicz cut down on the mental mistakes he made his rookie season and, more importantly, somewhat improved his pass catching in the process. The game slowed down for Fiedorowicz and it showed as the season progressed. He jumps from 4 receptions in his rookie season to 17 in year two and, what most do not know is that he played with a knee injury for majority for the second half of the season. There is still enough of a progression to have hope for Fiedorowicz in 2016 to take an even bigger step. 

Offseason Review

The two that appear to be safe heading into 2016 are Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz, both of whom will get another crack at their respecitve roles in the offense. As for Garrett Graham, expect the Texans to see if there is any market for him on the trade front and if not, the team will likely release Graham before the NFL Combine is complete. 

Eric Tomlinson is an unknown and, while Anthony Denham is an athletic option for the position, he will have to blow the doors off of mini-camps and training camp to take a spot over on the 53-man roster. 

The Texans have to find a consistent presence at the position and looking for a veteran option could be more beneficial than finding another youthful prospect via the draft. Either way, the Texans should and, more than likely, will have a new face on the tight end depth chart for 2016 and heading into week one.

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