As the 2016 season approaches we examine Houston Texans players who may not be a lock to make the final roster like guard Xavier Su’a-Filo
Next up in our series of players on the bubble, we look at the 33rd overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, Xavier Su’a-Filo. The former UCLA offensive lineman was selected by the Texans with their first pick in Round 2 despite several quality quarterbacks still being on the table.
Now as the guard enters his third season in the NFL could he be in danger of losing his job?
Sure it seems crazy to think that a player who started nine of 11 games played in 2015 would make this list, but it really may not be all that out of the question. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has shown he has a quick trigger when it comes to moving on from players.
Safety D.J. Swearinger was a second round pick in 2013, and O’Brien let him go after just two seasons in the league. Of course, Swearinger wasn’t a selection by coach BOB, so he should have more patience with his own guys, right?
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Not exactly. In 2014, the Texans spent a third rounder on Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III who missed all of his rookie season due to injuries. As he tried to make his mark in 2015, the team cut him before the season began, showing that draft status guarantees nothing.
Fast forward to 2016 and Su’a-Filo faces some of the same issues as Nix. Su’a-Filo managed to start just one game in 2014 and injuries kept him off the field for most of training camp and caused him miss five games in 2015. In all, the guard has missed eight games in two seasons and is no lock to be a starter going forward.
The team may have lost guard Brandon Brooks and center Ben Jones in free agency, but they brought in interior linemen Jeff Allen and Tony Bergstrom via free agency and center Nick Martin in the draft. Houston also brought back Jeff Adams, who started at left guard while Su’a-Filo was out injured until he himself fell to a knee injury.
Bergstrom has experience at both guard and center and Adams has experience at guard and tackle. Martin played all along the line for the Irish and Allen is a high-priced acquisition. Su’a-Filo has experience only at guard and wouldn’t be hard to move on from being on a rookie deal still.
Making matters worse, Su’a-Filo was less-than-impressive during the year, as he found himself rated as one of the worst guards in the NFL in Week 16 according to Pro Football Focus.
This offseason will be huge for the former Bruin to prove that he can finally make good on his promising draft status. Should he continue to struggle, the Texans have shown no hesitation to move on.