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Texans make roster moves


Running back Steve Slaton will take a lot of reps as a third-down back during training camp.

The Texans announced Tuesday that they have signed their two third-round draft picks, cornerback Antwaun Molden and running back Steve Slaton, and fifth-round defensive tackle Frank Okam.

Molden (6-1, 198) was the 79th selection in the 2008 NFL Draft from Eastern Kentucky. He was the fifth non-Division 1A player drafted by the Texans and the second in as many years. Houston picked wide receiver Jacoby Jones out of Division II Lane College in the third round in 2007.

During OTAs, Molden impressed coached with his speed and instincts off the ball. He could see immediate playing time at the beginning of the season as starter Dunta Robinson works to come back from knee and hamstring surgeries.

Molden started his college career at Toledo before transferring to Eastern Kentucky in 2005. The cornerback totaled 155 tackles (94 solos) and 4.5 stops for losses of eight yards. He also intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles. As a senior in 2007, Molden finished fifth on the team with a career-high 72 tackles (43 solos), 2.5 tackles for loss, nine passes defensed, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.

{QUOTE}Slaton (5-9, 197) was the 89th selection in the draft and was the second-highest drafted running back in the team's draft history. The only back Houston drafted higher than Slaton was Vernand Morency, who was the 73rd overall pick in 2005.

Slaton left West Virginia after his junior season but still ranks third in the school's history with 3,923 rushing yards. He holds the Mountaineer record for career rushing touchdowns with 50 and he set the school single-season rushing record with 1,774 yards in 2006.

Slaton was the second of two players selected by the Texans in the third round of the draft and will take a lot of repetitions as a third-down back during training camp.

"I want to come in and be a jack of all trades," Slaton said. "Whatever I can do to help the team out, I'm there to do it.

"The offense here is on the rise and I'm happy to be a part of it. Hopefully, I can contribute a lot. The zone scheme they have here is similar to what I ran in college, so this should be a good transition for me."

Okam (6-5, 320) was selected 151st in the draft from the University of Texas and is the third Longhorn the Texans have taken in the draft. He joins guard Kasey Studdard, who was taken in the sixth-round of the 2007 draft, and wide receiver Sloan Thomas in 2004.

Okam started 39 games while in Austin. He made 160 tackles (81 solos), 10 sacks and 28 stops for losses of 109 yards. The defensive tackle also posted 46 quarterback pressures and gained 13 yards with a touchdown on five fumble recoveries.

As a senior, Okam was selected as first-team All-Big 12 by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and garnered second-team honors from the Associated Press, Austin American-Statesman and Big 12 coaches. He started all 13 games at defensive tackle, helping the team rank sixth in the nation in rush defense (93.38 ypg). He recorded a career-high 52 tackles (25 solos) with five sacks for minus-50 yards.

"It's a life dream that has become a reality, but I'm ready to focus on the task at hand, which is training camp," Okam said.

"My biggest asset is my size, being 6-5 and over 300 pounds. One of the things I take pride in is being able to stop the run. But this league is about getting to the quarterback, so I want to help Mario (Williams) and Amobi (Okoye) take on blockers so they can have their one-on-one's. I just want to help the defensive line and make this team a better team."

To make room on the roster, the Texans have released fullback Jon Abbate, defensive tackle Eric Powell and guard/tackle Charles Spencer, who has battled a serious leg injury since 2006.

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