The Texans trimmed their roster from 90 players to 85 on Tuesday. But really, they have 86. And when they had 90, they really had 91.
Defensive Lineman Adedayo Odeleye is, and has been with the club since early May as part of the 2022 NFL International Player Pathway program. His presence doesn't count against the roster, and he can be on the team's practice squad this regular season as an international player practice squad exemption.
Earrlier this month, Head Coach Lovie Smith described Odeleye's football career as being in its infancy. But late in Saturday night's win over the Saints, Smith said the young man from Nigeria, by way of the United Kingdom, came up with a big play.
"He was on the kickoff team that ran down, that forced that action inside of the 20-yard line," Smith said. "And then of course we got a sack after that. These are the things that you love that I'm looking for from training camp, players. Most of us don't know their names, and they're making plays, and we're seeing improvement from them."
Nicknamed "Dayo", he began playing American football at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross was encouraged by Odeleye's big play against New Orleans.
"That was an exciting play," Ross said. "They bring it out of the end zone. He's a three to the kick direction side on that play. Going down there causing havoc, they bring it out. Ended up getting a holding penalty. Now they start their, quote/unquote, game winning drive attempt inside their own 15-yard line. Man, that sideline was excited for Dayo."
Odeleye is 6-5 and weighs 271 pounds. His physical tools are impressive, and Smith has been even more encouraged about the way he's soaking up the mental side of the game.
"The guy is so eager to learn and he has ability," Smith said. "So, we're going to love just kind of working with him this year. You know, the question was asked, who have you seen that's made a lot of progress throughout. He has a long ways to go but we have seen a lot of improvement from him."
The Texans will practice again on Wednesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. They leave for Los Angeles on Thursday, and will face the Rams on Friday evening at 9 p.m. CT.