Texans sign Mitchell, release Moats

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Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell is the third Texans draft pick to sign.

The Texans announced today that they have signed their third-round draft pick, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. He is the third of the team's nine draft picks to sign, joining wide receiver Trindon Holliday and cornerback Sherrick McManis.

To make room for Mitchell on the 80-man roster, the Texans released running back Ryan Moats, who had been with the team since 2008. Moats (5-8, 210) ran for 390 yards and four touchdowns in 2009, including a three-touchdown game at Buffalo.

Mitchell (6-3, 300), a Houston native who attended North Shore High School, was the 81st overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Arizona.

"I couldn't be more happy," he said on Thursday. "It feels good just to get some weight off my shoulders and now I can just go out there and concentrate on playing football. I'm excited and my family's super excited, so now I've just got to get ready to work."

Mitchell began his Arizona career as a tight end/H-back before moving to the defensive side of the ball as a junior. He started all 25 games at defensive tackle in his last two seasons. As a senior, Mitchell was named All-Pac 10 second-team after recording 6.5 sacks.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak has been impressed with Mitchell and thinks that he could be a "big surprise" this year for the Texans.

"I think he's going to steal some guys' lunch money up front," Kubiak said on Wednesday at a Touchdown Club of Houston event. "They better play hard and they better do a good job, or he's going to run some of them off. This kid plays extremely hard. He's not real big, but he's all about effort, and I've been really impressed with what he's done and I think you're going to see this kind contribute a lot."

Following are the 2010 draft picks that the Texans have signed:

NAME POS HT WT AGE RD OVERALL COLLEGE
Holliday, Trindon WR 5-5 165 24 6 197 LSU
McManis, Sherrick CB 6-1 195 22 5 144 Northwestern
Mitchell, Earl DT 6-3 300 22 3 81 Arizona

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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