The Houston Texans are relatively set at running back heading into 2012. Arian Foster is regarded as one of the game’s best and Ben Tate posted a 1,000-yard season in a secondary role to Foster. Obviously the Texans weren’t going to use a draft pick on a running back, but with Foster and Tate currently the only two RBs on the roster, coupled with uncertainty at fullback, the Texans decided to sign undrafted free agents RB Jonathan Grimes, RB Davin Meggett, and FB Jason Ford. Texans 101 is here to give Texans fans a closer look at who will be attending training camp and fighting for a roster spot.
Jonathan Grimes played at William & Mary, a Division I FCS team (formerly D-IAA) of the Colonial Athletic Association. Grimes had a very productive four-year career, rushing 936 times for 4,541 yards and 34 touchdowns. Grimes also served as the team’s kick returner, fielding 103 kicks for 2,289 yards and one TD in his career. At 5’9”, 207 lbs., Grimes can be described as a tough, downhill runner with good speed but not much in the way of elusiveness. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and of course demonstrates his versatility as a kick returner.
Davin Meggett is the son of former Pro Bowl RB Dave Meggett. Davin played four years at Maryland where he carried the ball 485 times for 2,411 yards and 18 TDs. Meggett also caught 46 passes for 454 yards and 2 touchdowns. Another smaller RB at 5’8”, 215 lbs., Meggett is another between the tackles runner who, like Grimes, doesn’t quite possess the elusiveness and agility to break many tackles or make plays in the open field. But both guys are thick, low-to-the-ground, physical runners who play well between the tackles.
Jason Ford played both running back and fullback at Illinios, where throughout his four-year career he compiled 432 carries for 1,962 yards and 26 TDs. Ford also caught 46 passes for 389 yards. Ford is projected to be a NFL fullback because at 5’10”, 235 lbs., Ford possesses neither the speed nor agility required of a true tailback. Ford is, however, a big body who enjoys lowing his pads and delivering a blow to defenders, making him an ideal candidate for fullback duties.
Of course, it will be very difficult for these three players to make the Texans’ roster, as it is for any undrafted free agent. NFL success can be had despite going undrafted, especially at the running back position, best illustrated by Arian Foster. But because Foster is one of the league’s best and Tate has proven to be a formidable second option, there isn’t much room on the roster for another RB. Much will depend on whether the Texans can come to terms with current free agent RB Derrick Ward, if they decide they want to keep him. Of the three, Ford probably has the best shot at making the roster but the recent moves of James Casey and Derrell Smith to full-time fullback options will hinder Ford’s chances. Still, better to be competing with Casey and Smith than with Foster and Tate.