Now that the Houston Texans’ minicamps are over, the coaching staff are reviewing their players, especially their young ones. Whether its building on first impressions or making new ones, young players must set themselves apart from the competition in order to stick a job come September 5’s 53-man roster deadline.
On Wednesday at the end of minicamps, head coach Gary Kubiak looks forward to the young players
At the end of minicamps, head coach Gary Kubiak told the press that he looks forward to seeing the young players interact with the team’s consistent physicality.
“The guys that we’ve had, you know who are physical players,” Kubiak said. “The new faces, you don’t know until you actually put the pads on, and it changes when you put all that gear on. We’ll probably have to do it more this summer than we have in the past because we have so many key issues to find out. So we’ll probably be in pads a little bit more than we have in the past.”
Here’s a few young players that the press has shined a spotlight on:
1) Malcolm Sheppard, undrafted rookie free agent DT. The Post-Searchlight reported that the undrafted rookie, and Georgia-Bainbridge High/University of Arkansas defensive tackle, Malcolm Sheppard has received an invitation to join the Texans at training camps. At Arkansas, the 6?2?, 280lb defensive tackle received All-SEC second defense team honors twice. Going undrafted, he chose the Texans over other free agent offers. At OTA’s and during minicamps, he has impressed:
“Probably the young kid who has surprised me the most through OTAs (organized team activty days) and everything has been this Sheppard kid that we got from Arkansas,” Kubiak told the media after the team’s final minicamp practice on Wednesday. “I’m not trying to put pressure on him or anything, but he’s been a very pleasant surprise.”
This is good news for the Texans who still need to improve on their defensive front. Hopefully his past successes will translate well onto the NFL playing field.
2) Dorin Dickerson, seventh round draft pick WR. The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice reported that Dorin Dickerson is an athlete that the Texans want to mold. His college career at Pitt started with a year at wide receiver, followed by time at fullback, at linebacker, before playing at tight end as a senior. At the combine, the 6?4? athlete ran a 4.40 4o-yard dash and had a 43.5-inch vertical jump. For the Texans, they see his potential and want to mold his talent.
“I like what I’ve seen,” Kubiak said. “His conditioning level is not good enough to play at our level right now. I don’t think that’s his fault. We’re trying to catch him up. He’s got a big body like Andre. He’s got a little stiffness we’ve got to work through. I think that comes from not playing the position for a long time.”
Those are powerful words coming from the head coach, so it will be interesting to see what Texans fourth-year wide receiver coach Larry Kirksey can do with the Dickerson.
3) Shelley Smith, sixth round draft pick OG. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Houston Texans and rookie Shelley Smith have agreed to a four-year contract. Smith told me he was good friends with Gary Kubiak’s son, Klint, at Colorado State. Possibly, this made an impact on the team’s drafting of Smith, who the Chronicle’s Jerome Solomon has no hope in. However, its more likely that the team took Smith in the sixth round because he was a three year starter and captain at CSU. Additionally, he’s humble and Kubiak thinks highly of him as a backup:
(On Shelley Smith at the Touchdown Club’s Texans Day) “One of the quickest interior linemen we’ve had here. He will push Studdard and Caldwell and those guys.”
Texans Waive Seven. Besides veteran tight end Michael Gaines, the Chronicle reported that the Texans released six undrafted free agent players this week: offensive tackle Adam Ulatoski, receiver London Crawford, quarterback Tyler Sheehan, guard Kristian Matte, linebacker Will Patterson and fullback Jack Corcoran. On the other side, the Texans signed veteran fullback Justin Griffith, receiver Bobby Williams and tight end Derick Fine.