Houston Texans News: Scottie Phillips in the mix at running back

Scottie Phillips #22 of the Mississippi Rebels (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Scottie Phillips #22 of the Mississippi Rebels (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Some Houston Texans news included undrafted rookie free agent Scottie Phillips from Ole Miss has signed with the franchise.

The Houston Texans news for Sunday was the addition of Ole Miss running back Scottie Phillips, and if there is one thing the Texans franchise knows, it is undrafted rookie free agent running backs.

When the Texans sign a running back as an undrafted rookie free agent, one must always think about the player at the top of that list in franchise history, and that is Arian Foster. He went undrafted out of Tennessee back in 2009, eventually playing seven seasons in Houston, rushing for 6,472 yards and 54 touchdowns.

Though Foster is the top standard for an undrafted rookie free agent signing in team history, let’s talk about Phillips and what he can bring to the Texans as he works to stay on the roster.

The numbers by Phillips while at Ole Miss include playing 20 games for the Rebels, as in 2018 he played in 11 games, where he totaled 928 yards and 12 touchdowns on 153 carries. That season, Phillips averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Phillips also had 10 receptions for 105 yards with two rushing touchdowns in ’18.

Then came the 2019 season, where in nine games Phillips rushed for 542 yards and five touchdowns (4.3 yards per carry) on 125 carries. Also this past season, Phillips caught eight passes for 77 yards and one touchdown.

Houston Texans News: How can Scottie Phillips stay on the roster?

It is 99.9-percent certain that the two main running backs penciled in as the top running backs for the Texans are Duke Johnson and David Johnson with David Johnson being the No. 1 option in the running game.

After those two playmakers, the rest of the running back roster includes Buddy Howell, Karan Higdon and at fullback is Cullen Gillaspia.

As it is with all undrafted rookie free agent signings, it is tough for players to earn their way onto a roster, but it can happen, and as mentioned earlier, it has happened for the Texans and many others in the NFL.

This year, though, making a roster will be tough as there is no set time frame as to when teams can have a training camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That aside, what can the Houston Texans news be when it comes to Phillips earning a spot on the roster?

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Considering the current depth chart includes Howell and Higdon as the main competition for Phillips, the training camp battle among those three will most likely be who can be a versatile player in not only rushing the football, but receiving, blocking, and maybe most important of all, how can they help on special teams.

Being 5’8” and 209 pounds entering the NFL, the timed 40-yard dash of Phillips came in at 4.56 seconds, and he showed strength with 29 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds at the NFL Combine this past February. Even Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about how Phillips can earn a  spot on an NFL roster, as he had a seventh-round grade on the running back:

"“He could challenge for a spot as a RB3 but might need to prove he can handle special teams and/or third-down duties to improve his chances.”"

Zierlein also mentioned strengths that Phillips possesses:

"“Shows talent in enticing second-level missed tackles … rarely comes to a halt as a runner, keeping it moving …”"

Those are just two of the strengths Zierlein pointed out in Phillips’ draft profile, but those are two favorable traits that could help him stay with the Texans for the ’20 season. Once things around all of us get back on track, we’ll all be able to see how Phillips can fit in with the Texans roster.

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It will be an uphill battle because of all of the current circumstances, but once camp arrives and the rookies can get on the field, then we can see where Phillips and the rest of the running backs battling for roster spots all stand.