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Texans Training Camp Day 4 Observations: Nico Collins Makes Case For WR No. 1

Nico Collins' play against defensive back Steven Nelson highlights Day 4 of training camp practice for the Houston Texans.

HOUSTON — Second-year prospect Nico Collins was matched with veteran cornerback Steven Nelson during red-zone drills. Collins used his speed and 6-foot-4 stature to beat Nelson, which resulted in a touchdown pass from quarterback Davis Mills.

Following the play, a thrilled Collins jumped up and yelled "ooh-wee" as he ran back to the line of scrimmage.

“That's a tough duty for a defensive back," coach Lovie Smith said. "The one play that you're talking about, defensively, CB Steven Nelson is in pretty good position, but when you're 6-4, most corners around six feet, that's a pretty good match up for us. Nico Collins is an excellent football player. We expect him to make plays like that.” 

Collins' play against Nelson is one of several reasons why there is a consensus belief that the second-year prospect is on the verge of a breakout season in 2022

His performance was one of several noticeable moments during Day 4 of training camp practice for the Houston Texans at the Houston Methodist Training Center.   

Big sack day for the Texans' defense 

If Tuesday's practice was a regular season game, the Texans' defensive line would have recorded at least three sacks.

The defensive line did a great job with their pass rush, as Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison recorded non-contact sacks on quarterback Kyle Allen. Hughes executed his play on Allen by winning his one-on-one battle against Pro-Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil. 

Rookie defensive back Jalen Pitre contributed to the Texans' pass rush by picking up a blitz sack on Allen.

Rookie defensive back Jalen Pitre had himself a day

In addition to recording a sack on Allen, Pitre had an impressive day on the practice field. He recorded a pair of pass deflections during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. 

By remaining active in the backfield, Pitre almost recorded an interception off Allen's pass attempt to wide receiver Chris Moore. 

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Darius Anderson and Dare Ogunbowale in close competition

The Texans had significant production coming out of the backfield during practice. While Marlon Mack and rookie Dameon Pierce highlight Houston's revamp running back corps, Darius Anderson and Dare Ogunbowale have been just as impressive.

Anderson and Ogunbowale have proven their value as running backs who can help move the chains in the rushing attack and as reliable pass catchers.

Anderson and Ogunbowale have made it impossible for the Texans to decide which player will move to the practice squad while forcing the other to turn in their playbook.

Rex Burkhead, Mack, and Pierce will not leave enough room for both players to make Houston's official 53-man roster. 

Ross Blacklock had a minor illness early during camp

Defensive lineman Ross Blacklock appeared to have fallen ill at the beginning of training camp practice on Tuesday. Following warm-ups, Blacklock was attended to by a trainer and seemed to be a bit overheated. After taking some time to himself while re-hydrating, Blacklock returned to the field to finish practice. 

A fright broke out between a pair of teammates

Defensive backs Terrence Books and Desmond King II engaged in a minor fight before closing out practice. The altercation may have resonated from a defensive miscommunication that resulted in quarterback Kyle Allen finding tight end Brevin Jordan for a touchdown.

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