Four Surprise Training Camp Cuts
Could these four players see their time in Houston come to a close?
The Houston Texans get underway with Traning Camp on Wednesday. Here are four veterans who need to perform well to make the final roster.
Christian Kirksey, LB
The leading tackler from last year’s front seven faces stiff competition in keeping his spot on the team. Christian Harris is closer to the modern linebacker and entering his second season with a lot of promise. Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton are veterans with plenty of experience and cheaper contracts.
Kirksey might have had a high tackle number, but he didn’t play particularly well last year. The team stands to save about $5 million in cap space if they move on from Kirksey as well. It’s an uphill climb for the veteran with a ton of obstacles in his way to stay on the squad.
Steven Nelson, CB
Steven Nelson might very well get cut based on attitude and not performance. The veteran cornerback has been vocal this offseason about his distaste for general manager Nick Caserio. Shaquill Griffin was signed as a free agent and if healthy possess more than enough talent to push Nelson down the depth chart, or even out.
If Nelson ends up changing his tune on Caserio and decides Houston is home, I would keep him on the roster. If the discontent is real and persistent, Griffin would be the move to start at cornerback and Nelson could perhaps play for a general manager who doesn’t wear vests.
Roy Lopez, DT
Roy Lopez was fantastic for a player drafted in the sixth round in 2021. The 2022 season saw more of the same, but more was expected. The stats were only slightly better and the performance was inconsistent.
Lopez won’t start, so he’s fighting for a backup job. Maliek Collins and Sheldon Rankins are the starters at defensive tackle. Veteran Hassan Ridgeway played in San Francisco under new head coach DeMeco Ryans last year so you have to imagine he has a leg up on the battle for a roster spot.
There are already three players ahead of Lopez in a position that might only have four roster spots dedicated to it. Thomas Booker and Kurt Hinish both in their second season should push Lopez. A jump will be necessary for Lopez to make the team and earn some playing time.
Noah Brown, WR
This would be a surprise in a good way. Not to say I am rooting for Brown to lose his job, but if the Texans were content to let Nico Collins and Robert Woods be the lone wide receivers with experience on the roster it would mean something amazing for the team.
Brown’s departure would mean John Metchie, Tank Dell, and Xavier Hutchinson all did enough in training camp to instill the confidence they are ready to play in the NFL despite having never played a regular-season snap. This seems unlikely, but the 49ers kept just five wideouts on their initial 53-man roster last year. Brown could easily be safe at the expense of another position player, but if the Texans decided to move on from Brown it would mean high expectations for the young wide receivers.
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