Andre Johnson – Andre is one of the best things about being a Texans fan. I can never say enough about the guy. I can’t wait to see him treat Cortland Finnegan like the petulant little freckle-faced child that he is.
Kevin Walter – I’m not surprised that the Texans kept him. I know Walter has a lot of value to this team – I am surprised they paid him as much as they did, though. He wasn’t grossly overpaid, but I thought the Texans would opt for Jacoby Jones as the #2 rather than spend more than they should on Walter. K-Dub’s route running, sure hands, and excellent blocking skills are one of the quietest, yet most important cogs in the offense.
Jacoby Jones – Walter’s new contract has to at least make you think about the idea that the Texans simply aren’t comfortable enough with Jacoby yet to hand over the full-time #2 WR position to him. JJ is an explosive playmaker, a dynamic personality, and a guy who can literally be a gamechanger – it’s just that he’s inconsistent, and has shown several instances of poor on and off-the-field judgment. Still, his numbers last year show that he is steadily improving as a receiver, and I expect they will have him concentrating almost exclusively on that role in 2010.
David Anderson – I was definitely surprised at this time last year when the Texans matched Denver’s offer sheet for Anderson. He’s another great hands guy, and smart receiver who can get lost in the shuffle with all the offensive weapons the Texans have. He’s also a great locker room guy, and is clearly well-liked by his teammates. Good guy to have on the team, but his value would be more obvious if someone in front of him got hurt. Similar to…
André Davis – Davis is flat-out overpaid. The Texans gave up a nice chunk to keep him after the 2007 season, when he established himself as an invaluable backup to Andre Johnson, and one of the most dangerous kickoff return men in the game. Problem is, when you have Mr. Universe playing in front of you, you can’t get that guy off the field unless he’s hurt badly. With AJ staying healthy for two straight years, it’s hard to tell exactly what Davis’s worth is.
Can you really afford to pay him as much as he’s being paid just in case AJ goes down again? Even if the worst happened, can we count on Davis, who turns 31 in June, to perform in AJ’s stead as well as he did in 2007? In addition to all of that, whether it be because of the blocking or Davis’s ability – he’s nowhere near the dynamic kick returner that he appeared to be in 2007. I honestly think he’s played his last game in a Texans’ uniform.
Glenn Martinez – A solid veteran presence. Last year, Martinez forced the Texans to keep one more WR than they usually do. That’s due either to his great performance leading up to the regular season, or due to their discomfort with Jacoby Jones before JJ made his move. Probably a little bit of both.
Trindon Holliday – I’m excited about Holliday. I hate that specialists take up an entire roster spot, but if a team is going to do that, I’d rather it be for a return man than a guy who only long-snaps or a kicker who does kickoffs only. Holliday is a burner, and if the special teams guys can get their teeth in him and make him a bona fide NFL returner, he’ll be worth every bit of that roster spot – because I estimate his chances of making headway as an NFL receiver are right around 1%.
Dorin Dickerson – We all know that Dickerson was originally a TE who will now be an understudy to Andre Johnson. Dickerson is another reason why I think André Davis might get sent packing before the season starts. Dickerson is very similar in stature to AJ, and by all accounts he was a 3-4th round talent who slipped to the 7th round. He might be a guy who the Texans will have a hard time sneaking on to their practice squad, so he needs to do everything possible to somehow make the final 53-man in a VERY competitive position group.
I’m not up on either Crawford or Stross. The best they can hope for is a shot at the practice squad, but even that will be very, very difficult for them.
What I expect
André Davis will be cut or traded for a late-round pick. Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter will remain cemented in as the top-two guys, and Jacoby Jones will be in a dogfight with David Anderson for the #3 spot. Jacoby proved he is more than adequate as a #3 receiver, but if you ask me who I think is going to come into camp more prepared and focused – I’m betting it will be Anderson. After those four, I expect the final spot to be down to Martinez and Dickerson. Youth and potential could win out if Dickerson shows flashes – and he should have every opportunity to do so because the team clearly thinks he has a lot to offer.
*Denotes a reported Undrafted Free Agent signing. These players are only reported to have signed with the Texans but as of this entry none of the signings have been confirmed by the team.