The first depth chart of your 2011 Houston Texans sits on the Mothership. Granted, the depth chart doesn't hold a lot of weight before the first preseason game, but it provides a starting point nonetheless. Let's leap and take an absurdly early look at some curious listings of note.
- Wide receiver will be a big battle all August long for spots four, five, and the practice squad. Dorin Dickerson sits fourth while Terrance Toliver and Derrick Townsel jockey for position five. Lestar Jean sits seventh but he is in better position than Paul Williams, Jeff Maehl, and Trindon Holliday who find themselves on a logjam on the other side. Given the number of receivers, I do expect to see a release or two soon (before Monday's game? After Monday's game?) to free up more snaps for the legitimate contenders in the weeks to come.
- Garrett Graham is ahead of Anthony "Lives on Injured Reserve" Hill. I said the other day that I believed Graham stuck on the 53-man roster, and this falls in line with that.
- In what has to be a mistake, undrafted rookie Darius Morris is starting at right guard ahead of Mike Brisiel and Antoine Caldwell. If it's not a mistake, then maybe it is a motivational tool for the two veterans who split time at RG last season.
- Newly signed fullback Lawrence Vickers sits behind everyone's favorite Owl, James Casey.
- Your defensive line starters? J.J. Watt, Shaun Cody, and Antonio Smith while Damione Lewis, Earl Mitchell, and Tim Bulman are your second-team line. Despite this, I expect Mitchell to run with the ones on Monday.
- Connor Barwin is starting ahead of Brooks Reed while Jesse Nading is the back-up to Mario Williams.
- Glover Quin is so good that he is starting at left cornerback and strong safety. Kareem Jackson is unlisted. Jason Allen is your nickel, Brice McCain is in the dime, Sherrick McManis is in the quarter, Brandon Harris is sixth, and Antwaun Molden is counting his remaining days as a Texan. Based on camp reports, I think we will see Harris rocket up the depth chart. New York's not known for its gunslinger attitude, so this may not be a good game for any of these guys to separate themselves from the pack (aside from special team contributions).
- Quintin Demps is ahead of Dominique Barber as back-up SS. Shiloh Keo is your fourth-team free safety, which seems like he's a bit out of position there.
- Brett Hartman is winning the must-see battle at punter over Brad Maynard.
- The number one returner? Trindon Holliday. If he doesn't set the return world on fire, he is gone.
There is a lot to sort out, and that is what makes Monday's game against the New York Jets so intriguing. Your starters will likely see two or three drives of work, but with so much quality depth vying for back-up roles and roster spots, especially among the receivers and defensive backs, it should keep you glued to the TV.
What say you, faithful reader? Anything seem odd about the tentative depth chart so far?