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Houston Texans Training Camp Battles: Safeties

A look into the safety group in Houston.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Baylor at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Houston Texans will enter training camp with the starting safety jobs up for grabs. The Texans currently have Jalen Pitre, Jonathan Owens, Eric Murray, Terrence Brooks, M.J Stewart and Tristin McCollum on the roster.

Pitre was selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2022 Draft and it is very likely that he will be a week one starter. Where he will play most of his snaps is the question many are wondering. Pitre played 1,273 snaps in the slot, 425 in the box and only 16 deep throughout college. Pitre clearly excels playing around the line of scrimmage and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him used the same way in Houston like he was at Baylor. Whether Pitre plays in the slot, in the box or deep in coverage is up in the air. One thing for certain is that he will make an impact immediately wherever he lines up in Lovie Smith’s defense.

Owens is a player to look out for. Owens has been with the Texans for a few years now and received an opportunity to start at safety for the Texans late last season. Owens was all over the field and making plays left and right. Owens showcased his playmaking ability and that he could be an impactful starter when given the opportunity. Owens has a very high chance to be a week one starter. Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith had this to say about Owens:

Murray has been with the Texans since 2020 and was just re-signed to a two-year contract extension earlier this offseason. Murray has had his moments in Houston but is far too inconsistent to be a starter. When Murray isn’t being moved across the defense and is kept in one spot, his play seems to be better. Either way, the Texans clearly like Murray and will be around for the next couple seasons.

Brooks was re-signed by the Texans earlier this offseason. Brooks provides quality depth along with help on special teams. Stewart is one of the more underrated signings of this offseason. Stewart is a versatile player that has experience playing both safety positions and in the slot. Stewart did not start many games for the Cleveland Browns last year but made a significant impact when on the field. Stewart had an impressive 86 coverage grade and an 83.8 defensive grade, according to Pro Football Focus. Stewart is only 26 years old and will compete for significant snaps throughout training camp.

McCollum was signed by the Texans this offseason as an undrafted free agent. McCollum is coming from Sam Houston State and will have an uphill battle to make the roster, like every other undrafted free agent. McCollum is listed at 6’3 on the Texans website and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash.

The competition throughout training camp at the safety position will be one to keep your eye on. It will be interesting to see what the group as a whole looks like without their most consistent safety over the last several years in Justin Reid.