Ka’imi Fairbairn, K, 2016
The Houston Texans have long struggled from the kicker position. In order to take a stab at the position, the team brought in Fairbairn in the 2016 offseason. Unfortunately, he got injured and had to sit out the season.
However, Fairbairn got healthy and won the kicking job out of camp for 2017. Fairbairn is a far cry from the best kicker in the league but, he had a decent first year. He only missed two kicks beyond 40 yards. His long on the season was 55 yards. He ended the year 20/25 on field goals and 32/35 on extra points.
If Fairbairn builds on his first season, the Houston Texans could have a pretty good kicker. He could continue to climb up this list.
Joel Heath, DE, 2016
Defensive ends not named JJ Watt probably won’t be huge names in this Houston Texans defense. However, Heath has carved out a decent role for himself in the midst of the injuries. He started six games his rookie season and nine this past year.
His production isn’t flashy but, again, the Texans don’t ask for much. He had two sacks and 24 tackles this past year. Heath’s role may shrink some since Watt and Christian Covington will be healthy to start the year but, Heath will be an integral depth piece.
Dylan Cole, OLB, 2017
Cole climbed draft boards late in 2017 as a potential sleeper. However, all 32 teams didn’t buy into the hype and Cole went undrafted. The Houston Texans signed the undersized linebacker and gave him a shot.
Cole is a fighter, he won a roster spot and never looked back. He immediately made an impact on special teams but, as injuries crept in he took his shot. Cole garnered more and more playing time for the Texans defense. He rewarded the team with two interceptions, one for a touchdown, a sack, and 36 tackles.
Cole has a shot to build upon last year’s start this year. If he does, the linebacker has a shot to catapult up this list.