RB in Draft a possibility for Texans

Behind Arian Foster, the Texans have shuffled the deck at running back every year since 2010.

According to head coach Bill O'Brien, that trend will likely continue in 2015.

"When you look at our needs in the draft, I would say running back is a position that we could look at," O'Brien said on Thursday. "I'm not going to tell you exactly what type of running back we're looking for, but that's something that we could probably add to our team in some shape or form that would help our team if the right guy's out there."

General manager Rick Smith, when asked about position groups that impressed him in this draft, pointed out that 2015 is "a good group of running backs."

Last year, the team chose LSU's Alfred Blue in the sixth round. He started three games, playing in all 16, and averaged 3.1 yards per carry as Foster's primary backup. The third back, Jonathan Grimes, carried the ball 39 times last season for the Texans.

"We know that we have a very good running back in Arian," O'Brien said. "And then we have a good

rookie running back going into his second year in Alfred Blue and then a solid third down back and special teams back in Jonathan Grimes that did some things for us this year, too."

In late April, a slew of accomplished collegiate ball-carriers will be available in the Draft. Names like Georgia's Todd Gurley, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah top the list, but this is a deep draft at that position.

"The depth of the running back class is as rich as it's been in years," Texans analyst and Draft expert John Harris said. "I could see as many as eight or nine backs go off the board on the first two days."

Since 2010, the third running back has been a new face each season.

YEAR STARTER BACKUP THIRD
2010 Arian Foster Derrick Ward Steve Slaton
2011 Arian Foster Ben Tate Derrick Ward
2012 Arian Foster Ben Tate Justin Forsett
2013 Arian Foster Ben Tate Dennis Johnson
2014 Arian Foster Alfred Blue Jonathan Grimes

Based on what O'Brien said, there might be a new face in the rotation this autumn.

"If we can add somebody to that position and it helps our team, then we'll do it," O'Brien said.

The Texans pick 16th overall in the first round, and their second rounder is the 51st pick of the Draft. In the third, they'll select 82nd overall. The NFL will announce the compensatory picks in March. The Texans might be awarded extra picks, and they have a choice in rounds four through seven as well.

GM Rick Smith, head coach Bill O'Brien and numerous NFL hopefuls met with the media Thursday at the Combine.

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