The 2023 Texans running back room has been transformed…finally. Since 2020, the Texans have struggled to find the right combination at running back. In 2022, there were glimpses of what COULD be with the emergence of bona fide #1 RB Dameon Pierce. But, the transformation of the RB room wasn't complete until the finishing touches were added through free agency in 2023. Let's take a look at this unit as we head into 2023 Training Camp.
2023 Texans Training Camp roster (in numerical order)
#22 Mike Boone (6th NFL season) - 2023 FA signing
2022 stats (DEN) - nine games - 24 att, 102 yards; nine rec. for 96 yards
Boone is built like a pocket rocket but he, unfortunately, missed a decent part of the offseason. In his only true opportunity to start back in 2019 for the Vikings, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry, including in his two starts. But, he's only had 39 attempts and 52 touches in the three seasons since. Suffice to say, there's plenty of tread still on Boone's tires.
View photos of the Houston Texans running backs heading into 2023 Training Camp.
#26 Devin Singletary aka Motor (5th NFL season) - 2023 FA signing
2022 stats (BUF) - 16 games - 177 att, 819 yards, five TD; 38 rec. 280 yards, one TD
Back in March, I noted that Singletary would be a GREAT fit as a free agent signing for the Texans when the new league year opened. It's nice when Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans take my advice. I'M KIDDING, I'M KIDDING. But, what's not a joke is Singletary's juice and explosiveness out in space. He reminds me of a smaller Lamar Miller, former Texans 1,000 yard rusher. As such, if he's used like Miller was supposed to be used, he'll be a HUGE weapon in this offense.
#27 Xazavian Valladay (Rookie) - Signed as a 2023 UDFA
2022 stats (at Arizona St.) - 12 games - 215 att, 1192 yards, 16 TD; 37 rec. 289 yards, two TD
The Chicago native was a superstar at Wyoming before transferring to Arizona State for his final season. He's a glider with some juice in space and receiving ability. He's going to have a lot of opportunities to flourish with seven chances against the Patriots, the Dolphins and the Saints. I have a feeling the Texans fans are going to like what they see in Valladay.
#28 Gerrid Doaks (6th NFL season) - 2022 FA signing
2022 stats - spent season with Texans on practice squad
Doaks is the rarity in this running back group - he's a hammer. At 230 lb, he's a downhill runner who provides power behind his pads. I was a huge fan of his at Cincinnati and, like Valladay, he's going to have a GREAT opportunity to impress the Texans organization with those seven chances against different colored jerseys this summer.
#31 Dameon Pierce (2nd NFL season) - 2022 4th rounder
2022 stats - 13 games - 220 att, 939 yard, four TD; 30 rec, 165 yards, one TD
Last summer, I was asked repeatedly "when do you think Pierce will take over as the number one RB?" I knew it wasn't going to take long, but I also knew that I had to be careful to not put too much pressure on him. But, it was CLEAR early in camp that he was destined to be THAT DUDE early in his career. With a new run-based offensive scheme, key additions to the offensive line, improved QB play and a running mate in Singletary to take some pressure off of Pierce, things are lining up for the second year Texan to thrive as RB1.
#33 Dare Ogunbowale (7th NFL season) - originally a 2017 UDFA, 2022 FA signing
2022 stats - 17 games - 42 att, 123 yards, one TD; 20 rec, 104 yards
When Dare was a rookie with the Texans in 2017, I thought he had a solid shot to make the roster behind Lamar Miller, but he wasn't truly appreciated for what he could bring to the roster then. When he returned to the Texans in 2022 as a six year veteran, he was already an established special teams contributor. However, in 2022, he became a reliable run game option behind Dameon Pierce. He's now in his seventh season and provides a ton of value for this offense and special teams.