Houston Texans: Jaleel Johnson returning to NFC

Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK /

The Houston Texans will be replacing another player from the 2021 roster.

Jaleel Johnson is leaving the Houston Texans to go back to the New Orleans Saints, meaning the Texans will be replacing another player on their roster with Johnson making his free agency decision on Saturday.

Johnson is still a solid player to have on a roster, but after Houston added him off the Saints’ practice squad and didn’t re-sign him this offseason, it became apparent that Johnson and the Texans were going their separate ways for 2022.

Johnson is signing a one-year deal with the Saints, so he’ll battle his way to a roster spot. Before playing 12 games with the Texans in the ’21 regular season, Johnson played all his previous regular season games with the Minnesota Vikings as the defensive tackle played in 53 games for the Vikings from 2017-20.

With the Houston Texans in ’21, Johnson totaled nine solo tackles, one fumble recovery and zero sacks. For his career, Johnson has 5.5 sacks and 45 solo tackles.

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Houston Texans: What’s next for the franchise at defensive tackle?

Playing for Lovie Smith’s defense, the Houston Texans must be better at stopping the rushing game of the opponent in ’22, and to do that they must use the 2022 NFL Draft as they could have a chance with the 13th overall pick to add a highly touted defensive tackle named Jordan Davis of the University of Georgia.

The Texans currently have Maliek Collins, Roy Lopez, Ross Blacklock, Michael Dwumfour and Kingsley Keke as their defensive tackles playing in the Tampa 2 (4-3 formation) defense led by Smith who became the head coach of the Houston Texans this offseason after being the defensive coordinator last year.

If a prediction needs to be made here, the Houston Texans will add to their interior defensive during the ’22 draft, and probably within their first five draft choices, as they will be picking at No. 3, No. 13, No. 37, No. 68 and No. 80.

This upcoming season, watch for Blacklock as the past second-round choice of the Texans enters his third season with the team. He improved from year one to year two, so it will be exciting and interesting to see how he jumps to the next level in year three.

However, the Houston Texans add to their interior defense during the ’22 offseason they have some work ahead of them to build depth at the position. Losing Johnson isn’t the biggest loss, but he was needed in ’21, and the best of luck to him in ’22 with the Saints.

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As for the future of the Texans’ defensive line, things can only improve, and it will be fun to see how things go as the rebuild continues.