Undrafted free agents: Brian Hoyer, QB; Jon Weeks, LS; Arian Foster, RB; Eddie Pleasant, S; A.J. Bouye, CB; Jonathan Grimes, RB; Justin Tuggle, LB; Nick Novak, K; Max Bullough, LB; Brian Peters, LB; Anthony Denham, TE; Greg Mancz, C; Kendall Lamm, OT; Kurtis Drummond, CB; Akeem Hunt, RB; Brandon Dunn, DL; Jeff Adams, OT; Carlos Thompson, Chad Slade, G; OLB; Karim Barton, practice squad OT; Dalton Freeman, practice squad C; Josh Lenz, practice squad WR; Dan Pettinato, practice squad DE; Eric Tomlinson, practice squad TE; Chandler Worthy, practice squad WR; Gerald Rivers, practice squad OLB.
Starts: Hoyer (6); Foster (4); Tuggle (2); Bouye (2); Lamm (2); Bullough (1); Adams (1).
Highlights: Expect the unexpected from Texans coach Bill O’Brien’s offense, and on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills that came in the form of a 7-yard pass from Hoyer to Lamm, an offensive tackle by trade. They are two of the Texans' most prominent formerly undrafted players.
Hoyer is actually one of only three quarterbacks from the 2009 class still in the NFL -- the other two were top-10 picks Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford. Because quarterbacks tend to be overdrafted, it's unusual for an undrafted quarterback to become a starter and last so long in the NFL. But Hoyer has persevered. He's on his fifth team now. He was named the team's Week 1 starter at quarterback, lost the job in the fourth quarter of his first start, then regained it five weeks later. If you discount everyone's Week 1 stats, Hoyer has the third best Total QBR of any quarterback in the NFL. He also has thrown 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in that time, with two of the interceptions being Hail Mary-type interceptions that have no impact on the game.
Lamm has been the most productive undrafted rookie of this year's class. Out of Appalachian State, he has made himself invaluable as an extra blocker. Although he has to report as an eligible receiver to fill that role, O'Brien insisted as recently as last week that he wasn't interested in seeing Lamm run a route. Lamm promised Hoyer he'd catch it if he threw it to him -- and he did.
Novak and Weeks aren't starters, but they are important parts of the Texans' special-teams operations. Drummond is as well. He forced a fumble on Nov. 1 in his first game on the active roster after being promoted from the practice squad.
Of course the Texans' most famously undrafted player is Foster. Foster has struggled through several injuries in the past few years, including two that required surgery this year. Foster tore his groin in August and tore his Achilles tendon in October. Consequently, he started only four games for the Texans and it's very likely that his time in Houston is finished.