Now that minicamp is over, the next time we'll see the Texans players is the start of training camp. This offseason flew by, but also crawled at a snail's pace, at the same time.
Late July can't get here quickly enough. As training camp arrives, there are always players I'm intrigued to see for a multitude of reasons. I picked my Ultimate 11 "Most intriguing players for training camp", and described why.
11. DT Thomas Booker IV - Coming out of Stanford, I loved his versatility and his interior quickness. With additions to the defensive line (Hassan Ridgeway, Sheldon Rankins), though, the number of spots in that DL room is fewer, making this DL competition a staunch one in training camp. That said, Booker has a skill set that could really fit in this defense. I'd love to see that year one to year two mega-jump for Booker, starting in training camp.
10. LB Henry To'oTo'o - Two years ago at one of our training camp practices, I remember talking to one of our scouts who raved about To'oTo'o leading Alabama's defense after just one week of being on campus. To'oTo'o was an intriguing watch at offseason practices because he was ON IT, mentally, every single rep. I felt like there were some vets asking him what to do and where to go. If that becomes even more evident when the pads go on, look out.
9. CB Steven Nelson - In my estimation, Nelson had a strong season in 2022 and was not as appreciated as he should have been. It seems as if he's made improvements every single year of his career, culminating in last season. Here's hoping that he makes another ascent in 2023.
8. OL Michael Deiter - I've never met anyone with bigger meathooks for hands than Deiter, a sweet soul of a man off the field. On the field, those meat hooks help him tremendously in the trenches, where the former Wisconsin Badger All-American could play a major role for this 2023 team. Whether that role is as a starter at an interior OL position or as a key backup at any interior position (or even tackle, if absolutely necessary), he'll be an important piece on this OL in 2023.
7. TE Dalton Schultz - Because…he's one of the top five at his position in the league and he could make his quarterback's life that much easier in 2023. Watching him operate at practices, it was evident why he was such a weapon in Dallas' offense the past five years.
6. OL Kenyon Green - I've seen enough football in my lifetime to know who can succeed at a high level in the NFL and who can't. Kenyon can, but he has got to be fully healthy to show off those skills that made him a first round pick. His two weeks of training practices are HUGELY valuable.
5. WR Amari Rodgers - Amongst all the changes at receiver, Rodgers is often overlooked but this offense could really fit his skillset, and vice versa. That fit could, and should, allow him to flourish with opportunity in training camp.
4. Edge Chase Winovich - We didn't get a chance to see Chase in OTA/minicamp, but when he's healthy, he can provide some serious juice off the edge. The additions of Will Anderson Jr, Dylan Horton and Texan boomerang Jacob Martin will provide a ton of competition at that spot for Winovich and others.
3. S Jimmie Ward - His play is rock solid, but it's his leadership and confidence that will rub off on the secondary in 2023. He obviously knows this defense like the back of his hand, so he can hold disguises well, play a number of spots and overall help young players with their roles/responsibilities too.
2. QB C.J. Stroud - Duh. I mean, who doesn't love to watch him spin the rock?
1. WR Nico Collins - Since his last season at Michigan in 2019, Nico has only played 24 football games as a result of COVID and injuries. He's tired of talking about that as he noted in his press conference last week and wants to truly show what he can do when he's healthy. I'm on that train, too. I'm a firm believer that if Nico can stack days, and weeks, of consistent healthy performances, he will reach levels that many haven't expected.