Every season when training camp arrives, younger players are added to the roster to help change their fortunes of their team. The Houston Texans continue to build through the draft and add younger players to help push their veteran group.
With camp set to start, we focus our effort on who are some of the current Texans living life on the bubble heading into camp.
Jay Prosch, Fullback
The Texans fullback for the past two seasons is going to have to show he is has significantly improved his lead blocking. The one job he is asked to do, Prosch needs to be more physical at the point of attack, something with which he has struggled. With rookie Soma Vaniuku in house, Prosch finally has to show he is the player for the job. With fullbacks slowly becoming extinct in the NFL, the Texans continue to keep one on the roster to match up accordingly. Prosch is no lock to start his third season in the same position unless there is a big jump in his play.
Jonathan Grimes, Running Back
Grimes has been a solid player for the Texans, especially last season when the offense was searching for any answer at the position. The problem now lies in that the Texans have added two new running backs in Lamar Miller and rookie Tyler Ervin. The team has made a habit of taking four running backs to the season, but it will take some roster shuffling for Grimes to make the roster. Having a solid camp will help the decision making too.
Quintin Demps, Safety
There is no doubt that Demps saved the Texans secondary last season with his late signing in training camp. Given the failure of the Rahim Moore experiment, the rise of Demps helped solidify a defense looking for an identity. Racking up 61 tackles with one interception, he played disciplined football in thirteen starts. At age 31, Demps has had stretches of good play only to have a down season the following year. The Texans have to keep an eye on that regarding Demps but ultimately, it is his position to lose.
Cecil Shorts III, Wide Receiver
Shorts took a pay cut at the end of mini-camp which raised some eyebrows, especially regarding what the team is thinking regarding his future. Shorts is scheduled to make $1.2 million but he is going to have to fight to earn that paycheck. With a younger crop of wide receivers like Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, Jaelen Strong, and Keith Mumphery, Shorts could be an afterthought. If any of the younger receivers show they can understand the offense in a hurry, it could mean the end of the Shorts experiment. One thing Shorts does have is the experience that the staff likes in the positional room.
Akeem Dent, Inside Linebacker
The Texans traded for the former Atlanta Falcons linebacker to help out a position group in need during Bill O’Brien’s first season with the Texans. Dent has been the third linebacker on the depth chart and he fills in if either of the starters went down. Dent has started 9 games in his two seasons and has helped on special teams. Players like Max Bullough plus rookies Shakeel Rashad and Ryan Langford are players who could threaten his future with the Texans.
Jeoffrey Pagan, Defensive Line
Falling out of favor with the Texans last season, Pagan was active for the first six games of the season then did not appear again until week 16. Built to play in a 3-4, especially at the defensive end spot with his size (6’3", 310 lbs.), Pagan showed flashes during his rookie season with potential for becoming a piece of the defense. Now, with an open competition for depth on the defensive line, the fact that he was looked over last season is a red flag. Pagan has to show up to camp ready to go or it could mean another lost season with the Texans or even the end.