The second week of training camp is underway and with the majority of the team at full strength, the Houston Texans have a competitive roster out on the field right now. It has been a sight to see the work these players have put in on the field. With the majority of the team already set, there are a handful of positions that are open for the taking.
There have been plenty of bright spots for the Texans in camp and we are going to give you who we have seen as the "Early Risers" of training camp heading into their first preseason game.
SOTT's Early Risers
Eddie Pleasant (Safety)- "Eddie P" as he is known with his teammates, has shown a nice skill set on the football field. His ability to play close to the line of scrimmage and be a big help in run support is a big part of the safety position for the Texans. Pleasant will be tested at the NFL level when he has to match up one on one with bigger tight ends and faster wide receivers. He is currently in a camp battle with second year safety Shiloh Keo for what looks like the last safety position on the roster.
Mister Alexander (Inside Linebacker)- Alexander was forced into action last season with the injury to Darryl Sharpton and this season Alexander is taking advantage of Sharpton's absence in camp. He looks to have a good grip on running with the second team defense in camp and has been active during group and team sessions. He plays fast and can provide a little toughness from the inside. He doesn't look like your prototypical linebacker but he makes up for it with his speed and toughness, something that this defense is built on.
Jonathan Grimes (Running Back)- The rookie from William and Mary has been nothing short of a surprise for the Texans at camp. His frame could take on some more weight but his instincts as a runner shows when he puts the pads on. He has told us that he has the playbook down and now it is time for him to get better as a running back. A smart and elusive runner, Grimes is a good fit for the Texans offense, and he has good shot at taking a spot on the practice squad with the running backs on the 53 already set.
Texans LB Cunningham: NFL's Most Underrated Defender?
Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham has been described as 'underrated' by a new teammate.
WATCH: 'Bad Dude' RB Ingram With a Texans Move at Camp
Mark Ingram at camp: “I feel healthy. I feel strong, fast, explosive.''
Texans QBs: 'Worst Practice Ever' From Deshaun Watson Replacements?
Davis Mills getting mixed reactions early in training camp, including a 'worst-ever' review
Sonny Harris (Defensive Tackle)- Also a holdover from last season, Harris was on the practice squad last season and he has come into camp in great shape. Trimming down to 301 lbs., Harris has been working at the nose tackle position and has caused much havoc on the offensive line. A little taller than what people expect from a nose tackle, Harris has also worked some at defensive end with J.J. Watt on the shelf. Harris doesn't take a play off and seems to fit in well with what the Texans look for in their defensive players, relentless pursuit.
David Hunter (Defensive Tackle)- Another under the radar player, Hunter won't wow you with his pass rush but he provides some serious beef at the 5 technique in run support. At 6-2 and 303 lbs., Hunter holds his own at the point of attack and is tough to move, and being a Houston native there is a story line brewing here. He is not built like the other Texans defensive ends but he is prospect to watch as this preseason continues.
T.J. Yates (Quarterback)- I might sound like a broken record, but Yates looks like a completely new football player with the Texans. Yates has taken his off-season serious and is just another starting quarterback on the field, helping all the new players on the field with plays, formations and someone they can lean on with questions. Yates is an important piece for the Texans, and with his success from last season, the experience he gained has already paid dividends early in camp.
Derrell Smith (Fullback)- His competition was brought in with veteran Moran Norris and both have done good things in camp. Despite Smith being at a "new" position, he has been running with the first team offense more than Norris. Smith may have a learning curve but he does hold an advantage over Norris with his youth, athleticism and ability to catch the football. Smith has also shown he can lay the hammer on people when needed. In the first day of pads, Smith and Brian Cushing met in the hole and Smith moved Cushing from the hole which made an early impression on me.
The Young Wide Receivers- Take any of them, Lestar Jean, Keshawn Martin or DeVier Posey all have made positive impressions on the field. All three are totally different types of wide receivers, Jean the big bodied player, Martin your slot type wide receiver and Posey the run after catch player, and all can help with their skills. This group is more talented than last year's week one group and despite not having an NFL catch under their belt, the sky is the limit for this group. All three have taken the steps to learn the offense and get better as football players, catching before and after practice and doing the little things to become successful.