The Texans rookies are finally in the building and their NFL careers begin this weekend with the annual rookie minicamp. We've often discussed many of the seven drafted players, but we've not addressed the undrafted signees and tryout players. Each year, without fail, an undrafted player or two, makes his way onto the 53-man roster. Now, not every undrafted player becomes Arian Foster, but the impact of undrafted players was certainly felt last year, in particular.
Undrafted players played key roles throughout the 2016 season. The secondary had four key former undrafted players in Corey Moore, Robert Nelson, Eddie Pleasant and A.J. Bouye. Defensive end Joel Heath was the player of the game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 17 and made significant contributions throughout his rookie season. Max Bullough and Brian Peters were major contributors on special teams and as backups to Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney.
On offense, Stephen Anderson was active for 13 games and both playoff games as a rookie tight end. Greg Mancz, the team's starting center for all 18 games in 2016, was also undrafted in 2015. After stints with New York and Baltimore, Akeem Hunt signed with the Texans midway through his rookie campaign and has made a number of key plays since he arrived in November 2015. Kendall Lamm has been the team's sixth offensive lineman and seen plenty of action in that role the past two years.
Over the past three seasons, a number of undrafted players signed with the Texans immediately after the draft, made their way onto the 53-man roster and are still on the roster.
2014 - Bullough
2015 - Mancz, Moore, Lamm, Kurtis Drummond
2016 - Anderson, Heath, Ufomba Kamalu, Brennan Scarlett, Wendall Williams
The point to this history lesson is that there will be a player, or two, that walks into this building as an unknown, undrafted player and contributes to this 2017 squad. Who that will be starts to take shape this weekend at the Texans rookie minicamp.