Texans Players to Watch: Carolina Edition
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans are only two days away from finally putting on the pads against an opponent with the team traveling to face the Carolina Panthers. The starters will be limited, the second and third team players will get some much-needed time, and some will be in an NFL game for the first time. With OTAs, mini-camp and the first two weeks of training camp in the books, a different uniform to play football against is a welcomed sight for the Texans.
With so many storylines heading into the game, we could just talk about the wide receiver group or the right side of the offensive line, but if you have been paying attention to the Texans there is no need to discuss the obvious. We are going to try to pinpoint some different players to watch for this upcoming audition for the 2012 Texans team.
SOTT Players to Watch
Justin Forsett (#28, Runningback)
When it comes to an offensive play-maker, Forsett fits that bill. Adding him to an already potent offensive backfield, Forsett has been showing what he can do since he came to camp on day one. Whether it is running or returning the football, we just want fans to get a glimpse of Forsett to get Texans fans excited. He will get limited carries before he gives way to the younger runningbacks.
Jonathan Grimes (#43, Runningback)
We have talked about him for some time. He looks like he will get some carries in the second half and look for him to impress with his smooth running style. He has the strangle hold on the 4th running back position which could lead to a practice squad invite. His journey to that spot starts against the Panthers.
Whitney Mercilus (#59, Outside Linebacker)
He has been quiet but he is going to play an important part in the Texans 2012 season. What he needs to provide is a pass rush and any signs of that will be a welcomed sight. Adding him to Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed could provide a solid three-man rotation during the season. Mercilus get his first crack at another team and being a pass rusher, right now, is his main priority.
Garrett Graham (#88, Tight End)
Graham will get every opportunity to be the #2 tight end coming out of camp, and he has turned up his focus the past few practices. Looking more comfortable in the offense, he will have to prove he can handle the blocking duties. Kubiak has been touting Graham the past few days and now it is time for him to take his position on this team.
Roc Carmichael (#20, Cornerback)
Almost a mystery to Texans fans, Carmichael has his chance to finally get on the field since not playing a single down his entire rookie season. Learning the system for over a year, he has the complete skill set to make a difference in the secondary. He is deep in the depth chart and has an uphill climb, but it will be a good sight to see him finally in action.
Brandon Harris (#26, Cornerback)
Playing sparingly in 2011, Harris has a full off-season and OTAs under his belt which has shown in training camp. A confident player, and being a 2nd round draft pick in 2011, Harris will be expected to take a decent step in progression as a player. Expect him to have plenty of snaps on Saturday night to see where he can possibly fit on the 2012 roster.
Derrell Smith (#32, Fullback)
We are interested to see if he gets to work with the first team, but that is highly doubtful this early. The converted linebacker has been putting some good work in to learn the fullback position. Smith has only practiced as a fullback and if he can prove he can do what a fullback is supposed to do in a game situation, he might have a legitimate shot to make the 53 man roster. He has a good set of pass catching hands and is a very athletic football player that could help this team.
Other Names to Watch
Randy Bullock (#4, Kicker)
David Hunter (#72, Defensive Lineman)
Hebron Fangupo (#73, Nose Tackle)
Nate Menkin (#77, Offensive Tackle)