Houston Texans News: The most exciting UDFA additions

The Houston Texans news this week is they’ve added some rookie free agents who could make things exciting this offseason.

There was a lot of Houston Texans news this past month with big-time trades, free agent signing, draft picks made at the 2020 NFL Draft, and just as exciting rookie free agent signings happened following the conclusion of the draft.

The Texans news was they also drafted five players this past weekend, including players such as Ross Blacklock (DT), Jonathan Greenard (Edge), Charlie Heck (OT), John Reid (CB) and Isaiah Coulter (WR), so there are a little more expectations for those players early on compared to the UDFAs.

Though some felt the Texans draft wasn’t up to par, the aforementioned group of five players do have the ability to make contributions for the franchise, including the likes of Blacklock and Greenard early in their careers, but the rookie free agent signings can contribute too.

The complete list of signed undrafted rookie free agents by the Texans include the following players as they are set to begin their journey into the NFL by working to keep a roster spot with the two-time defending AFC South champions:

Defense: Auzoyah Alufohai (NT, West Georgia), Jan Johnson (ILB, Penn State), and Jamir Jones, (OLB, Notre Dame).

Offense:  Cordel Iwuagwu (G, TCU), Scottie Phillips (RB, Ole Miss), Tyler Simmons (WR, Georgia), Dylan Stapleton (TE, James Madison), Nick Tiano (QB, Chattanooga) and  Elex Woodworth (C, North Texas).

Officially the Houston Texans news was the franchise signed nine rookie free agents to the roster.  More so than that, the Texans have given nine players a chance to prove the doubters wrong, and a chance to earn a roster spot either on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

Next are some of the most exciting signings made by the Texans following the completion of the draft, as Phillips has already been profiled as a player to be excited about earlier this week in an article. Also check out the profiles on guard Cordel Iwuagwu and defensive tackle Auzoyah Alufohai as the Toro Times had interviews with the two rookies.

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Cordel Iwuagwu
Guard TCU

Stats: At the NFL Combine the offensive guard Cordel Iwuagwu was timed with a 40-yard dash of 5.22, with 25 reps in the 225 pound bench press. At 6’3” and 309 pounds the measurements at the combine for Iwuagwu also included 33 3/4” arms and 10 1/8” hands.

Player Profile: Iwuagwu played in 39 games during his four seasons with the Horned Frogs, starting with eight games as a freshman, followed with 14 games his sophomore season, five games as a junior and 12 games his senior season.

Texans News Outlook: Being able to sign Iwuagwu as a rookie free agent was a very smart and exciting move by the Texans. This franchise needs to see how Iwuagwu can potentially work his way to a roster spot for the Texans. There are some issues at right guard that could possibly be changed this offseason once everyone is able to get on the field.

Iwuagwu might have fell out of the draft because of past injuries, but signing with his hometown team is an excellent way to prove the rookie is more than ready to take the next step in his playing career.

 

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Tyler Simmons
Wide Receiver Georgia

Stats: In four seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs Tyler Simmons played in 26 games where he made a grand total of 35 receptions for 438 yards and 12.5 yards per reception. Simmons finished his career with three touchdowns, and also on offense collected 17 career carries for 220 yards and two rushing scores.

In 2019 as a senior Simmons finished with 21 receptions for 255 yards receiving and one touchdown. He also had 12 rushing attempts for 89 yards.

Player Profile: As a receiver in 2018 Simmons had some big plays rushing the football as the five carries that junior season totaled 131 yards on the ground, averaging 26.2 yards per carry. One part of his game that could help him make the Texans’ roster is Simmons had nine punt returns this past season for 143 yards, averaging 15.9 yards per reception.

Texans News Outlook: If Simmons makes the team and stays on the roster with the Texans special teams might be the best bet. The Texans always can use help on that unit in punt returns, and that could be a very important role this season if the defense of the Texans is able to force the opponent to punt.

 

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Dylan Stapleton
Tight End James Madison

Stats: Dylan Stapleton played two seasons for James Madison where he collected 54 receptions in 29 career games. In ’18 he caught 19 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, and in ’19 his final numbers included 35 receptions for 426 yards and one touchdown in 16 games played. For his two seasons at James Madison, Stapleton averaged 11.3 yards per reception as a tight end.

Player Profile: Stapleton is 6’5″ and 242 pounds so as a tight end he’s built for the position, and this past season he made 16 starts as he as select to the All-CAA second-team. In the national championship game of the FCS, Stapleton had his career-best game of six receptions for 66 yards played against North Dakota State.

Texans News Outlook: Making the Texans as a tight end won’t be an easy task as the team already has Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, Darren Fells, and last year’s third round draft pick Kahale Warring. With Houston’s roster decision making who knows what will happen, so don’t count out Stapleton yet.

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Jan Johnson
Inside Linebacker Penn State

Stats: The Texans signed inside linebacker Jan Johnson as a rookie free agent based on some of his potential shown this past season at Penn State. In 13 games played for the Nittany Lions as a junior he finished with 72 tackles (42 solo) along with 1.5 tackles for loss, a half sack and one interception.

Player Profile: Being 6’2” and 231 pounds, Penn State’s Jan Johnson impressed enough to earn honorable mention honors from Pro Football Focus for their All-America Team. He was also honorable mention by the Big Ten coaches and media, and even received a PFF second-team selection to their All-Big Ten team.

Texans News Outlook: Johnson could be a under-the-radar type of player who could surprise many when players are allowed to finally take the field. There is some talent with Jan Johnson per his end of season honors from various outlets.

Next: Blacklock has ‘physicality’ in his game

The Texans news like with many undrafted rookies is the franchise could use them to help improve the special teams. If that is the case, then add in the ability to earn a roster spot with their abilities on the offense or defense, this could end up being an excellent signing group of rookie free agents by the Texans.