The Houston Texans and the rest of the NFL are cutting down their rosters to 53 players on Saturday by 4 p.m. ET, and that means some very tough decisions will be made.
For the Houston Texans, a majority of their lineup decisions have most likely already been made. For example, we all know the Texans are set with their starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, and they are set at starting wide receiver with the big three of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee.
We also know Duke Johnson is going to make the cut as well, because he is the best running back on the roster of the Texans. There are also the defensive standouts like J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Justin Reid and others who have their lineup spot signed, sealed and delivered.
That said, there are players on the roster bubble who aren’t 100-percent on the roster, and some who could be a last-minute decision to keep on the roster for the ’19 season for fear of losing the player to the waiver wire and not someone who could stay in the organization on the practice squad.
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One of the players on offense that should stay on the Texans is wide receiver Tyron Johnson. This preseason played in all four games and finished with at least one reception in each game played, too. Johnson finished the preseason with five receptions for 75 yards.
Though he didn’t score any touchdowns, the 6-1, 193-pound Oklahoma State University undrafted free agent signing showed there is talent on his side.
In the first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Johnson caught two passes for 48 yards, including one pass for 44 yards in the opener. He came back the following three weeks with one reception each, averaging 15 yards per reception for the entire preseason.
If he passes waivers, Johnson would be a nice fit on the practice squad, but the rookie could showcase his skills as the last wide receiver on the roster as well, depending on how many the Texans keep. Looking at how last year the Texans struggled mightily to keep wide receivers healthy, the idea of having an extra receiver on the roster isn’t a terrible idea.
Earlier this preseason, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle wrote about the speed of Johnson, reporting the following for an article:
"“With 4.36 speed in the 40-yard dash, Johnson is difficult to stop. He had a 44-yard reception in a preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers. As a senior last year, the LSU transfer was an academic All-Big 12 selection who caught 53 passes for 845 yards and seven touchdowns.”"
Even in his pre-draft profile on NFL.com by Lance Zierlein, it basically stated Johnson would need time to improve some of his skills, but it also said the following of him:
"“Deep ball specialist with ability to take the top off defenses. Johnson’s game is geared to get down the field and make explosive catches, but the rest of his skill-set is still very raw.”"
The Texans are currently in a perfect situation to keep Johnson on their roster and not be forced to start him right away, or possibly at all this season. Johnson is a big-play wide receiver, and that is what he could be used for his rookie season.
Having Coutee ahead of Johnson on the depth chart with big-play ability of his own works well for Johnson to continue to learn with the Texans, while being a viable backup in case Coutee continues to get injured like he did last season during his rookie season.
Johnson might not be the best wide receiver in Houston, but if the Texans decide to cut the rookie wide receiver, or at least add him to their practice squad, they’ll be making an unfortunate mistake in their roster choice.