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Vandermeer's View: Rookies looking for work

Posted May 12, 2018

Watching the action at the rookie camp requires perspective.

Watching the action at the rookie camp requires perspective. You have 45 players on the field and somewhere between 10 and 15 could make the 53-man roster. There are a few who could end up on the practice squad. Some might catch on with another team at some point.

You get the idea. It’s super competitive.

Regarding undrafted players, Bill O’Brien referenced Texans safety Corey Moore, who was a tryout player in 2015. Moore earned a contract and eventually started games for the Texans.

This is essentially the early stages of ‘NFL Idol.’ Someone could get a big break. Others will be looking for ‘real jobs’ after the weekend.

But a little over half of the players at the Houston Methodist Training Center this weekend will get to stick around through OTAs and much of training camp with an opportunity to steal a veteran’s job. This is life in the NFL. There’s a new crop of players each year that pushes out those who can’t play well enough anymore or can’t stay healthy enough to compete.

As far as this group goes, there’s potential help in some key areas. I get asked about tackle all the time. You know about third rounder Martinas Rankin. There’s also gigantic undrafted free agent Jaryd Jones-Smith from Pitt (6-7, 335 lbs) and tryout guys Kendall Calhoun (Cincinnati) and Ryan Cummings (Wyoming). Much has been written about LSU’s K.J. Malone, who happens to be the son of Rockets’ villain Karl Malone, but they are looking at him at guard for now.

Running back always seems to be one of those ‘you-can-never-have-enough’ positions. Terry Swanson, who ran for over 1,300 yards on 5.6 yards per carry and scored 14 TDs last season replacing Kareem Hunt at Toledo, is trying to make an impression. So is Lavon Coleman from Washington, who, at 5-11, 235, could be tackle-breaking asset.

If you’re wondering about the quarterbacking this weekend, that’s handled by Rice and Spring product Tyler Stehling, who is here on a tryout. If you are going to be a tryout-type of QB, this is probably a good destination considering the position group’s injury history and that we’re still not exactly sure how the team plans to use Joe Webb.

We’ve written plenty on the draft picks. It’s great to finally see them in the building. Justin Reid handled himself so professionally at the podium. Peter Kalambayi said he’s learning on the fly but feels like there are some similarities he can spot with the system he was in at Stanford. Jordan Thomas is an imposing presence at tight end. Keke Coutee said he had a great introductory conversation with Deshaun Watson.



It’s very early in the process. Remember what the first few days in your first job out of college were like. And, oh yeah, were you not sure of even keeping the job past the first week? That’s what it’s like for many of these players. Competition makes us all better. And they are right in the thick of it.

Content on HoustonTexans.com does not necessarily represent the views of the Houston Texans front office staff, coaches or executives.

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