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Houston Texans cut-down analysis

8/30/2014

Most significant move: Cornerback Brandon Harris ran out of chances. They say you know who a guy is a football player by his third NFL season. Last season was Harris' third since being a second-round draft pick in 2011, and it wasn't an especially inspiring one. He didn't turn into a viable slot corner, and on the outside A.J. Bouye, a player who made last year's roster as an undrafted rookie, passed him during this year's training camp. Teams don't typically game plan much during the preseason, but in the Houston Texans' preseason opener in Arizona, the Cardinals picked on Harris. The Texans kept six cornerbacks: Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, Bouye, Elbert Mack, Josh Victorian and Andre Hal, a draft pick who improved significantly since his arrival in Houston.

Ronnie Brown extends his career: With a promising rookie backup in Alfred Blue, who is still learning to catch and pick up blitzes, the Texans need a talented veteran to help mentor Blue and Jonathan Grimes, another young player who played his way onto the roster his summer. They'll get that in Brown, a good locker room presence who is entering his 10th NFL season. That is, of course, not the only reason the Texans are keeping Brown. That would be silly. He can still play and fill in where necessary.

One undrafted rookie sticks around: Outside linebacker Jason Ankrah, an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska, steadily rose through the depth chart. I had some guesses about which undrafted rookies had a chance to make the roster, and one I thought could was Max Bullough, the inside linebacker out of Michigan State. Bullough had some moments of confusion during the Texans' final preseason game, which might mean he needs a little while on the practice squad to develop. Travis Labhart was another undrafted rookie who gave himself a chance, but I didn't expect him to make the 53-man roster. He's another guy who needs time, and the Texans have five receivers who don't.

What's next: Houston has the top priority on the waiver wire, which is set in reverse order of 2013 record. That means these cuts might not be the last. On Friday, the Texans already had started to take a look at which players might become available.

Texans' moves: WR Lacoltan Bester, WR Travis Labhart, WR EZ Nwachukwu, FB Toben Opurum, TE Anthony Denham, TE Zach Potter, OT Matt Feiler, C James Ferentz, G Bronson Irwin, G Alex Kupper, DE Keith Browner, DE Julius Warmsley, NT Ricardo Mathews, OLB Quentin Groves, OLB Chris McAllister, ILB Max Bullough, ILB Chris Young, CB Brandon Harris, CB Junior Mertile, CB Marcus Williams, S Jawanza Starling, K Chris Boswell