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2017 Houston Texans Training Camp Preview: Characterizing The Cornerbacks

We take a look at some of the issues regarding the Texans’ cornerback position heading into training camp.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off an excellent season, the Texans’ cornerback position has overgone quite a bit of change with the loss of star cornerback A.J Bouye to division rival Jacksonville. Without Bouye around to anchor down one of the outside corner slots the question is who will step in to fill his role and help the Texans maintain the same level of quality that they’ve come to expect out of the cornerback position over the past few years? Let’s take a look at a few of the key stories heading into this years training camp:

Kevin Johnson’s Health:

The loss of Kevin Johnson at the start of the season was huge considering Johnson had become one of the more prominent members of the Texans’ secondary with his fantastic ability to cover both outside and slot receivers—allowing the Texans a lot of schematic versatility. The issue here is that for the past two off-seasons Johnson has been recovering from injury. After his rookie season he underwent surgery on a fractured foot and a broken left wrist. This season he was sidelined with a broken foot, which kept him out for the majority of the season. When healthy, Johnson has been great. He could be one of the NFL’s break out players this season.

Kareem Jackson’s position:

We talked about it in the safety preview the other day, but Kareem Jackson might be making the move to safety this season. The Texans played mostly nickel defense last season with three separate corners having 60+% of the total snaps played on defense. If Jackson makes the switch to safety then it’ll open up one of those spots. Kevin Johnson’s versatility means he could play either in the slot or on the outside to best suit the needs of the other corner. The Texans might end up looking towards Robert Nelson, who saw consistent playing time all during the tail end of last season, and the playoffs, as the Texans fourth cornerback. Nelson in particular saw a decent amount of playing time during the Texans’ playoff game against the Raiders. He played 42% of the total defensive snaps in that game.

Johnathan Joseph:

J-Jo is a marvel of modern football. He has maintained a terrific level of play all through last season despite being 33 years old. He’s approaching Terence Newman levels of consistency. The real question is what the Texans will do with Joseph after the end of this coming season due to Joseph’s expiring contract. The Texans will have a tough decision to make, especially if Joseph continues to defy his age and produce consistently outstanding performances. Regardless, Joseph’s form and age is going to be one of the more interesting story lines to watch out for this season.

So there are some of the biggest questions for the Texans cornerback position heading into training camp for this coming season. Do you think Kareem Jackson will stick as the Texans slot corner? If Jackson does move, who do you think will get promoted to the 3rd corner slot? Let us know in the comments below.