After having not brought in another DE/DT to replace Jared Crick, it was imperative that the Texans try to make a couple guys that got passed over in the draft to compete for a potential spot on the roster.
Heading into camp the Texans have Vince Wilfork and 5th round selection D.J. Reader at nose tackle. That will free up Christian Covington and Jeoffrey Pagan to only play DE. Brandon Dunn a mid-year pickup last year is on the roster to compete as well.
The other Texan on the roster at DE is former 2nd round pick Devon Still, who the Texans signed to a future reserve contract. Still has taken the last year off as his daughter recovered from cancer surgery and treatment. Last reports are his daughter is now cancer free and in remission, so perhaps Still his ready to resume his career. If he is, Devon Still is certainly in the mix and could be the favorite to start if so.
However, with nobody truly established as a starter opposite J.J. Watt and the depth unclear, both Ufomba Kamalu and Joel Heath, who both had draftable grades, should have a puncher’s chance at a roster spot with the one or both also being considered for the practice squad if they fail to make the 53.
Ufomba Kamalu – DE/DT – Miami
6’5” – 295
A native of Nigeria, Ufomba Kamalu didn’t start playing football until high school and started at Butler Community College before landing at Miami after one season. Kamalu has the measureables that NFL teams look for, but he’s still raw and is more of a project but has a huge ceiling.
The Texans will work to help him get more consistent and improve his play. His pass rush mechanics need work, but Kamalu hasn’t been playing football for very long and has room to grow into his physical abilities.
Joel Heath – DE/DT – Michigan State
6’5” – 293
Joel Heath became a starter as a junior in 2014 and finished with 29 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He had similar production as a senior in 2015 with 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Heath shows the strength to anchor against the O-lines and push blockers. He has good intangibles and a consistent motor, but needs to work on technique to consistently shed blockers and make plays.
Heath is a impressively large guy. He stands 6’6″, 293 pounds and has solid straight-line speed for his size. He grew into this build over his first three years at Michigan State, and earned a starting job inside in 2014 with 29 tackles, 5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. Heath continued to grow and improved his strength holding his ground and shedding blocks against pro-caliber Big Ten guards this season.
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