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Texans Surprise Roster Cut Candidates

Nick Caserio, it’s trimming season.

NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The last preseason game has been played. The cards have been dealt and it’s in the hands of the general manager and his staff to decide who makes the Houston Texans 53 man roster. We’ve been keeping track in our Rosterology predictions, but now we are one day away from the official roster being announced.

With the influx of new faces this offseason and preseason, there’s bound to be several familiar faces packing up their lockers in NRG. Look out for any former draftee not a part of Nick Caserio’s most recent draft classes. If a player wasn’t a part of Nick Caserio’s rebuild, they aren’t long for the roster.

Here’s the thing, Houston has few stars and roster “locks”. Sure, Derek Stingley isn’t going anywhere. Neither are most of the top-flight free agents or top-end draftees. However, as you’ll read in this article, there’s plenty of faces who’s situation has deteriorated over the past four weeks. Take a look at who is believe to be on the short end of the stick.

Brevin Jordan

The 2021 fifth-round pick has been nothing but an enigma for the Houston Texans. He falls into the category of tight end prospects who never developed in Houston along with Kahale Warring, Jordan Thomas, and C.J. Fiedorowicz in the recent Texans era.

Our Nick Schwager had this to say on Twitter:

Jordan is a robust athlete from Miami who for one reason or another hasn’t been able to consistently compete or produce. He is currently sitting with a hamstring injury. This injury undermines his ability to get reps in practice, let alone actual preseason games. Beyond his youth and potential, Jordan has not been able to put together a single preseason of consistent health and productivity.

It’s simply not a scheme fit for the new Houston Texans offense and that may be the biggest death toll for his career in Houston.

Charlie Heck

What the heck is going on in the offensive line room? First, the Texans sign OT Greg Little, who suffers and injury and subsequently is let go. Houston also signed George Fant once Tytus Howard reportedly broke his hand. Then, on August 24 they trade for Josh Jones and give away a fifth round pick.

All of these moves and additions while little ol’ Charlie Heck sits on the bench. Heck was drafted by a different regime and it shows. He’s simply not in line for a role on this offense. If the team doesn’t see him as a fit nor reputable backup while Howard recovers, why keep him on the roster? Houston could save several million by cutting the fourth year tackle.

To make matters worse, Heck is also dealing with a foot injury and could start the season on the PUP list or even IR.

Jacob Martin

There’s simply too many mouths to feed in this defensive line pool. The two rookies are going to play. Jerry Hughes is a veteran leader and was a sack artist last year. Jonathan Greenard is the best value player on the team. I think Jake Martin will get the axe along with possibly Derek Rivers. Martin missed key assignments all game long against the Miami Dolphins that allowed them to run rampant over us in the second half.

While Sports Illustrated reported that Martin was a starter in the second preseason game against Miami. That’s a good sign for the veteran, but identifying where he fits on the roster and where to play him in the new scheme is quite difficult. DeMeco Ryans will rely on a player who can rush the passer AND contribute to the run game in his 4-3 base defense. Martin is more of a pass rusher... except for the stats part.

Martin’s second stint with the Texans is more predicated on upside and situational use than him being the focal point of the pass rush. He’s never cracked over four sacks in a season his entire career. If he’s on the roster, that means the next player is less likely to be there due to roster construction.

Thomas Booker IV - DL

He’s only 23 and in his second year in the league, but the former fifth round pick has underwhelmed throughout his time in the league. So much so that last year undrafted rookie Kurt Hinish leapfrogged him on the depth chart and contributed more on the defense. Houston has also added veterans Sheldon Rankins and Hassan Ridgeway to bolster the position. Both have played ahead of Booker in the preseason. Team rarely retain more than four interior defensive lineman, which means the math doesn’t add up for Booker when you start counting....

Sheldon Rankins, Maliek Collins, Roy Lopez, Hassan Ridgeway, Kurt Hinish..... shall we keep going?

Booker clearly lacks pass rush skills and tenacity at the line of scrimmage when defending the run. Don’t be surprised if Booker ends up on the team’s practice squad as a backup option for the season.

Desmond King II - CB

King has been a rare find on defense that has been successful during Nick Caserio’s tenure as General Manager. King is currently listed as the starting nickel CB on the Texans’ site, but is the fourth string CB on ESPN’s depth chart. King’s performance against Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins was putrid. He did bounce back with the highest defensive PFF performance against the Saints, but they don’t have nearly the offensive weapons as the Dolphins. King has looked slow and ineffective out of the slot in preseason.

Houston relied heavily on Tavierre Thomas last season. The team has also added CB Cameron Dantzler and Shaquille Griffin to a weak secondary group. Dantzler had a fantastic interception in his first game with the Texans and will compete for a roster spot. If Houston were to cut King before his second season, they would save over $3.4M on their salary cap.