- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
They traded T.J. Yates to the Atlanta Falcons and brought in the veteran Fitzpatrick as the starter and drafted Savage in the fourth round in May. Savage isn't ready to start yet, but they didn't draft him expecting that. Keenum is the only quarterback on this roster who was not brought in by new coach Bill O'Brien, but I think he keeps him. Having three quarterbacks prevents you from being forced to start an unprepared rookie in case of injuries. Savage's development is paramount.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4)
Blue, a sixth-round pick, and Brown, a free-agent pickup, will battle during camp to be Foster's backup. That's an important role, given the questions about Foster's health. Prosch, another draft pick, blocked well during the offseason. He'll stick around as the only fullback on the roster.
In my first version of the 53-man roster, I opted not to choose between Posey and Keshawn Martin. Martin was the Texans' returner last season and their primary slot receiver, though they didn't use a true slot receiver often. I think the Texans keep five here and there's absolutely a chance Martin fights his way back onto the roster, displacing Posey or Bonner. And, yes, like the Texans, I am expecting Johnson back for the season.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
The Texans kept only three tight ends for most of last season, but they'll need more for this offense.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
The only remaining battle on the offensive line is between Jones and Su'a-Filo at left guard. Drafted with the first pick of the second round, Su'a-Filo has starting level talent, but he missed most of the offseason. Now he'll have to play catch-up; Jones has a head start. Elsewhere: left tackle Brown, center Myers, right guard Brooks and right tackle Newton.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
This is assuming Pagan, a sixth-round pick, recovers from his injury and does enough to remain on the roster. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Pagan had shoulder surgery after college. Powe's speed and size were really impressive during OTAs, as was Crick's athleticism. And, of course, there's Watt.
This will be a much-talked about position because of the addition of Clowney, the first overall draft pick. The Texans get versatility from Reed and Tuggle, who can play both inside and outside, and return Cushing, the heart of this defense who hasn't finished the past two seasons. He's confident he'll stay healthy this season. Bullough could make the team as an undrafted rookie.
Jackson suddenly found himself the elder statesman this offseason, with Joseph working to the side as he recovers from offseason surgery. Joseph expects to be back by training camp. Hal is tentatively on this list, but the seventh-round pick could be usurped during training camp. Bouye was a promising undrafted rookie last season and has drawn compliments from O'Brien. Slot corner is another question mark for the Texans.
Lewis started next to Swearinger during the offseason and should be competing against Clemons during training camp to be the team's starting free safety.
Bullock's kicking and confidence improved at the end of last season. He's competing with undrafted rookie Chris Boswell to be the Texans' kicker, but that competition won't really ramp up until training camp and the preseason games.