3. Texans News: Tight end battle is most competitive
Currently, the Houston Texans have five tight ends on the depth chart this offseason, and there is no way they are keeping all those players when they make the final decision on the first 53-man roster of the season.
The players on the tight end depth chart are Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, Kahale Warring, and rookie Dylan Stapleton. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the Texans keep three-or-four of the tight ends listed. That’s going to make for a tough battle, especially if only three are retained on the roster.
Darren Fells played so well last season that he is all but a lock to return, especially for the 2020 season, as O’Brien said this offseason that veterans will be key for this upcoming season. As for the rest on this list, none are exactly locks to stay on the 53-man because of injury concerns or just their play, as you never know what O’Brien is thinking when it comes to putting together a depth chart.
The guess for the position battle isn’t whether players are staying on the team (as Thomas and Akins are sure to stay), but which players will be listed where on the depth chart. Jordan Thomas had injuries stop his season a year ago, but he’s a very talented player. Fells had 11 red zone targets in 2019, making nine receptions — catching 81.8 percent of targets — for six touchdowns, so that stat alone makes him a lock to stay with this team in 2020.
Akins in ’19 had six red zone targets for one reception being a touchdown, and Thomas didn’t play until the final game of the season, giving him one red zone target last season. Going back to the ’18 season for Thomas, that’s where he stood out, with nine red zone targets for seven receptions and four touchdowns.
With the return of Thomas, and with Warring returning after multiple injuries, there is no doubt the toughest position battle to stay on the roster, and where they are listed on the depth chart, will be tight end for the Texans.