Breaking: Houston Texans Confirm 1 undrafted free agent who will make Texans’ 2024 Roster

The Texans in 2024 will have one undrafted free agent on their roster.
It’s time for teams like the Houston Texans to begin assembling their final 53-man roster for the 2024 campaign now that the NFL Draft has concluded.

It is impossible to overlook the contributions made by Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans and general manager Nick Caserio during their first season together. They had an incredible inaugural draft class that included the future Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Will Anderson and Rookie Offensive Player of the Year C.J. Stroud. Since then, in 2024, they have had yet another outstanding offseason.

Danielle Hunter was first brought in to support Anderson and the team’s pass rush. Along with Tank Dell and Nico Collins, they added wide receiver Stefon Diggs to their arsenal by trading with the Buffalo Bills. They then added what should be another strong rookie class in April with their nine draft selections.

However, once the draft came to an end, organizations such as the Texans continued to search for players to bolster their roster, which will consist of 90 players for the time being. By signing six undrafted free agents, they achieved this.

These are as follows:

British Brooks, RB
Tarique Barnes, LB

Pheldarius Payne, DL

Jaydon Janke, WR

WR Max Tooley

Of the six undrafted free agents, Pheldarius Payne, the defensive tackle for Virginia Tech football, would likely be the one we choose to include on the 53-man roster on the final Tuesday before the regular season starts.

Pheldarius Payne of Virginia Tech has the best chance of making the Texans’ 53-man roster.
After Sheldon Rankins and Maliek Collins left Houston, the Texans found themselves shorthanded at defensive tackle. Though it wasn’t until the seventh round, Caserio and Ryans did place some focus on the defensive front in the draft by selecting Marcus Harris and Solomon Byrd.

Denico Autry and veteran Foley Fatukasi are the only starters for the Texans at defensive tackle right now, and even Autry is starting more games at defensive end these days. Even with the addition of Byrd and Harris, the position still lacks depth. Ryans’ track record of developing undrafted free agents suggests that Pheldarius Payne has a good chance of reaching the 53-man roster in September.

Payne was ranked No. 4 among seven undrafted free agents by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports.

Payne is one of the smaller defensive tackles, but he’s got the athleticism of a big linebacker, so you can’t miss him the moment you turn on the tape, according to Trapasso. “On just 162 pass-rush snaps at Virginia Tech in 2023, that first-step bolt resulted in six sacks and 23 total pressures. That’s a serious first step.”

Payne attended junior college for his first year of education before moving to Nebraska in 2020. But there have been several setbacks in his career due to injuries; one such instance was when he tore his Achilles tendon back in 2022. That season, he appeared in just eight games.

Payne played for the Hokies last season and essentially came back to full strength. He recorded 23 total tackles, 10 for a loss, 6 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, 15 hurries, 1 pass deflection, and 1 forced fumble while participating in all 13 games. He finished the season with a defensive grade of 90.5 after missing the previous season due to an Achilles injury. Pro-Football-Focus reports that he had grades of 80 or higher in five games.

Khalil Davis, a former undrafted free agent, and Tim Settle currently rank second and third, respectively, on the depth chart. However, Payne could readily enter and contend with either to secure a position from which he could be utilized in specific combinations.

Lance Zierlein of stated, “He has real sub-package rush talent, which is what [he] will need to shine on to make the team.”

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