Introducing the young Texans. Now that the 53 has been set (for the moment, anyway. A roster is written in pencil, not ink) we see that the youth movement is alive and well at the skill positions.
This is the youngest wide receiver crew, the youngest tight end group and, if weren't for 'old man' Jonathan Grimes (26, ha!) this would be the youngest running back squad they've ever had.
With the departure of Cecil Shorts III, DeAndre Hopkins, entering year four, becomes the longest tenured veteran of the group. And why not? He came into the organization making plays from the get-go. Heck, in his second ever game he caught a winning TD in overtime. He also apprenticed under Andre Johnson for two years which was like a young Jedi hanging out with Yoda. He's ready for this.
Plus, it's not like Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are coming in clueless. They both hail from big time programs that garner NFL-like attention and showed signs of being ready to contribute based on preseason performance. Lamar Miller is entering his fifth season and he's only 25. Alfred Blue is beginning his third season. And rookie Tyler Ervin, based on his play in the third preseason game, looks like he's 'getting it.' Only the 2004 Texans had a younger running back crew, led by Domanick Williams (Davis) who had his career cut short by injury. But this current group does have experience as Ervin is the only rookie in the bunch.
I know what you're thinking – 'No way can this be their youngest tight end group.' Way! There was always a Mark Bruener or Jeb Putzier mentoring in the earlier days. Even Rod Rutledge (wait, who?) in 2002. Now, Ryan Griffin, at 26, is your salty veteran. C.J. Fiedorowicz had a catch per game in the preseason. Or better yet, per half, based on playing time. If that keeps up he's got a great shot to hit his goal of 40 receptions for the season. Griffin is eager to become more involved in the attack and everyone is curious to see what Stephen Anderson will bring to the party.
Bill O'Brien always talks about getting the 'right' players on the roster. That means that special teams factored heavily in the decisions to chop the roster down to 53. The roster is an amoeba. It will reshape over time as injuries and other issues come up. But for now, the Texans are young, yet ready and capable, in some key areas.
The Houston Texans roster in photos.