HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans cut 22 players Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: The Texans cut 28-year-old receiver Cecil Shorts III and kept five young receivers instead. Shorts took a pay cut in the offseason, restructuring his contract to stay in Houston. Shorts said on Thursday after the Texans’ 28-17 preseason victory against the Cowboys, that at this point in his career, there’s no worrying. "You work your butt off and whatever happens, happens,” Shorts said. The Texans’ receiving group is now Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins, 2015 draft picks Jaelen Strong and Keith Mumphery and rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.
Most significant non-move: The Texans opted to keep defensive end J.J. Watt and right tackle Duane Brown on the active roster instead of putting him on the physically unable to perform list to start the regular season. This means the two players are both eligible to play in the Sept. 11 season opener against the Bears. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Friday that it “looks decent” that Watt could play Week 1, but he didn’t have an update on Brown. Had either player started the season on the PUP, they would have had to miss at least six weeks of practice before returning to the field.
Running back competition: By cutting running backs Akeem Hunt and Kenny Hilliard, the Texans have Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and fourth-round pick Tyler Ervin in the backfield. Hunt and Hilliard were given many opportunities in the preseason finale against the Cowboys, but Hilliard fumbled and had 29 carries for just 86 yards. The Texans’ running game didn’t have a lot of success during the preseason behind an injured offensive line, but Miller looked good in limited action and has looked good in practice.
Undrafted rookies: The Texans kept three undrafted rookies: tight end Stephen Anderson, defensive end Joel Heath and outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett. Anderson has looked good in a camp and caught a touchdown in the Texans’ preseason opener against the 49ers. Houston did not keep undrafted rookie Wendall Williams, a speedy receiver out of the University of the Cumberlands who looked very raw as a receiver.
Texans cuts: T Jeff Adams, S Antonio Allen, G Karim Barton, WR Quenton Bundrage, ILB Reshard Cliett, TE Anthony Denham, DT Brandon Dunn, C Dalton Freeman, RB Kenny Hilliard, RB Akeem Hunt, DE Ufomba Kamalu, OLB Eric Lee, T Andrew McDonald, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB Robert Nelson, DE Dan Pettinato, ILB Shakeel Rashad, WR Cecil Shorts III, G Chad Slade, TW Eric Tomlinson, OLB Tony Washington Jr., WR Wendall Williams.