Texans’ training camp preview: 1 player to watch from each position

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The Houston Texans kickoff training camp July 29. Coach Lovie Smith, who was the team’s defensive coordinator and associate head coach a season ago, will have an opportunity to put his stamp on the AFC South squad.

Part of the excitement of training camp is the development of players who may or may not have been on the radar. Having a camp that produces key contributors for the 2022 campaign is what the coaches and front office are anticipating if the club is to break the cycle of posting four wins a season.

Here is a player from each position group worth watching throughout training camp.

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Quarterback — Davis Mills

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texans-davis-mills-pep-hamilton-minicamp

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

There isn’t going to be a quarterback battle; Kyle Allen, Kevin Hogan, and Jeff Driskel are all support pieces. Instead, the second-year Stanford product is going to get all of the first-team reps. How does Mills handle the responsibility of being “the guy”?

Running back — Dameon Pierce

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texans-dameon-pierce-cbs-sports-top-rookie-rb-list

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Florida product is a youngster and the first running back Houston has drafted since 2017. There is anticipation that Pierce will take over as the feature back for the offense by the end of the season. However, if Pierce has a strong camp, he could make the case he needs to be the starter much earlier.

Receiver — John Metchie

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texans-fail-draft-wire-list-top-fantasy-football-rookies

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Metchie is rehabilitating from a torn ACL sustained in the SEC Championship Game in Dec. 2021, all eyes will be on his taking the field. The Alabama product has tremendous upside as a weapon in the passing game, and the determining factor is when he is able to be a full go in camp.

Tight end — Brevin Jordan

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texans-brevin-jordan-sitting-helped-read-coverages

(AP Photo/Eric Smith)

The former fifth-round tight end from Miami caught 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns through nine games as a rookie. Jordan showed that he can be an effective red zone threat for Houston. Can Jordan beat out Pharaoh Brown and establish himself in offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s tight end friendly offense?

Guard — Kenyon Green

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texans-a-j-cann-kenyon-green-hell-player

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Atascocita High School alumnus will finally get a chance to maul people in pads. Houston will have a better idea of where Green is in his development now that he can at last hit people.

Tackle — Charlie Heck

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texans-charlie-heck-play-lt

(AP Photo/Justin Rex)

If Heck has a strong camp, general manager Nick Caserio could dangle trade bait at the 53-man roster deadline, presuming there is a market for tackles by then. If not, the Texans will have a competent swing tackle in case something happens to starters Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. It all depends on how well Heck progresses during camp.

Center — Jimmy Morrissey

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texans-re-sign-jimmy-morrissey-davion-davis

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The former Penn State product started four games for Houston at center while Justin Britt nursed a knee injury. The Texans signed Morrissey off of the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice squad last season, and he has a chance to showcase his development.

Defensive tackle — Roy Lopez

texans-tytus-howard-impressed-roy-lopez
texans-tytus-howard-impressed-roy-lopez

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Lopez is quickly becoming a fan favorite. The former sixth-rounder can become even more of a fan favorite with a strong camp, demonstrating his disruption inside the defensive line’s interior.

Defensive end — Jonathan Greenard

jonathan-greenard-evaluates-second-year-texans
jonathan-greenard-evaluates-second-year-texans

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

As Greenard works back from injury, he will need to show that he can still be a dynamic edge rusher for Houston. Greenard produced 8.0 sacks last season, and the expectation is he will get into the double-digit range.

Linebacker — Garret Wallow

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texans-fans-buy-garret-wallow-hype

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Wallow did a good job on special teams, and earned subtle praise from Smith and Caserio throughout the offseason program. The former fifth-round from TCU has an opportunity to take snaps on defense with a strong showing in camp.

Cornerback — Derek Stingley

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texans-derek-stingley-lofty-expectations

Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans went with Stingley No. 3 overall in the draft. Can Stingley show glimpses of his potential as an All-Pro cornerback, even if it is in his first camp coming off a Lisfranc injury?

Safety — Jalen Pitre

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jalen-pitre-explains-texans-way

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Stafford High School product instantly became a fan favorite, either due to the fact he is playing for the hometown team or his potential as a safety. Either way the new No. 5 has a chance to take a safety spot and add playmaking ability to Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme.

Specialists — Ka'imi Fairbairn

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Fairbairn battled injuries early last season and wasn’t himself and posted career lows in field goal percentage (78.9%) and extra point percentage (81.3%). If Fairbairn persists with such struggles, will the Texans continue to stick by him?

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