Houston Texans conducting extensive research on running backs at Combine

Miller and Blue, running backs for the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Miller and Blue, running backs for the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

There are a lot of intriguing prospects at the NFL Combine. The Houston Texans are doing some extensive research into the running backs, let’s examine.

The Houston Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, likes to run a more old school offense than the rest of the NFL. He’s a protege of Bill Belichick who transformed his offense backward 20+ years en route to another Super Bowl.

Now, what I mean by this is that O’Brien loves the running game. He loves to pound the rock and get that portion of his gameplan going in order to open up the rest of his offense, for better or for worse. The Texans had a decent stable of running backs this past season with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue while D’Onta Foreman was working to return from injury.

The Texans originally signed Miller to be their bell cow back during the 2016 offseason. Miller bulked up for the increased workload and had a pretty decent first season in Houston. He played in 14 games and rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career.

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However, the peripherals weren’t great and they began to expose the rest of his game moving forward. The 2017 season was not good for Miller, just as it was for the rest of the Houston Texans team. He struggled mightily and there were major concerns heading into the 2018 season.

This time, Miller cut weight and got back to the form that saw him become one of the most explosive running backs in the entire league when he was with the Dolphins. He ripped off a pair of 90+ yard gains and looked very explosive towards the beginning of the year.

Unfortunately, he began to wear down as the season progressed and his number declined. He missed two games that forced him under the 1,000 yard mark for the season. However, he did put up his second-best yards per carry, 4.6, in his career. Though, that was boosted by those 90+ yard gains.

Behind Miller, the Texans ran Blue every single game at a very unsuccessful rate for the majority of the time. Blue had a couple of decent runs in a couple of games but besides that, he was below average gaining 499 yards in 16 games at 3.3 yards per carry clip. Foreman only played in two games and only had one attempt in those games.

The Houston Texans GM, Brian Gaine, addressed some of this at his press conference at the NFL Combine on Thursday. Gaine claims that Miller will still be the team’s starting running back moving forward and that the team is expecting big things from Foreman in 2019. Blue is likely gone as his deal is up this offseason, though this was thought to be the case last year as well.

With all of that being said, the Houston Texans have been doing some extensive research into the running backs that are at the NFL Combine. The running backs got all of their body measurements done on Thursday, performed on the bench press, and started interviews. They’ll begin their on-the-field drills on Friday.

But, as the day progressed on Thursday, endless reports surfaced about all of the running backs that the Texans have been meeting with. Now, this, of course, could all be smoke and the team just filling their time but with Miller racking up over 700 carries in three years and Foreman still recovering, running back could definitely be a need in the NFL Draft in April.

So far, there have been at least five confirmed meetings with running back prospects who range all over the draft. They include Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard out of Memphis, Devin Singletary from Florida Atlantic, Mike Weber from Ohio State, and Trayveon Williams from Texas A&M.

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All five of those guys are very intriguing prospects with varying skill sets. Williams has been rising up draft boards with his versatility as he is touted as one of the best third-down backs in the draft with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect.

Singletary is viewed as one of the better prospects in the draft with his all-around running game. Henderson may very well be the fastest back in the draft. Weber, after being underutilized at OSU, is being viewed as a sleeper. Pollard was overshadowed by Henderson at Memphis but could easily have a better pro career than college.

The majority of these guys should be available in the middle of the draft and it wouldn’t be a shock to see one of these guys come off of the board to the Houston Texans on Day 3, maybe Day 2 of the NFL Draft. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to find out the team has been meeting with even more running backs in the coming days, this is something to keep your eye on this weekend.

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If the Houston Texans do indeed target a running back in the draft to either supplement Miller and Foreman or potentially take over for them, who would you want them to target? Drop a comment below and let us know!