The Houston Texans added a pair of ascending playmakers this week. General manager Nick Caserio claimed running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver Amari Rodgers off waivers. Both talents will help the Texans moving forward.
Benjamin’s release from the Arizona Cardinals was especially surprising. Benjamin recently started several games in place of the injured James Conner. Benjamin was particularly efficient in a late October victory over the New Orleans Saints, rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries (7.7 yards per carry). With Conner back healthy, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim no longer saw a reason to continue rostering Benjamin.
Benjamin now joins a running back position room in Houston that’s spearheaded by rookie talent Dameon Pierce. Pierce has already established himself as one of the league’s best young ball-carriers. Benjamin doesn’t possess a realistic opportunity to dethrone Pierce as Houston’s lead back. What Benjamin can do is form a one-two backfield punch alongside Pierce while inheriting some passing-down duty.
The undersized Benjamin is a change-of-pace option with third-down capabilities. Pierce didn’t enter the league out of Florida as a productive pass-catcher. He’s recorded just 22 receptions in nine regular-season appearances. Benjamin has more receptions (24) and passing-game targets (33) under his belt despite Pierce out-snapping him 348 to 315. Benjamin has recorded three-plus receptions in six games this season.
Rodgers may receive an even larger opportunity to immediately step into Houston’s starting lineup. No. 1 receiver Brandin Cooks has been nursing hip and wrist injuries that have made his availability inconsistent in recent weeks. Cooks and the Texans also had a public disagreement near the NFL trade deadline as rumors regarding Cooks’ future swirled furiously. Nico Collins has also been injured and missed back-to-back contests in Weeks 8 and 9.
The No. 85 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Rodgers should quickly compete to start in the slot for Houston. That position has been taken up by Chris Moore, a seventh-year veteran that initially joined the Texans last offseason. Moore has played 222 of his 285 offensive snaps in the slot this season, per Pro Football Focus.
It’s no secret that Rodgers’ short-lived career in Green Bay was extremely disappointing. Top-100 selections don’t get cut less than two years in otherwise. Rodgers never quite grasped the technical aspects in Green Bay that would have allowed him to see the field with the desired consistency. Rodgers possesses seven career fumbles (four special teams fumbles this season!) versus eight career catches. It’s a mind-numbing statistical fact that summarizes why Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst quickly ran out of patience.
Rodgers was expected to claim a starring role in Green Bay’s new-look receiver room. The former Clemson product entered the offseason and training camp with a ton of momentum. It never materialized for Rodgers, who was outed by the likes of Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, and first-year darling Romeo Doubs. All parties involved will be thrilled to receive a fresh start elsewhere.
Caserio remains in evaluation mode with his 1-7-1 Texans heading towards yet another wasteful campaign. Adding Rodgers and Benjamin via waivers makes sense with eyes already pointed toward the 2023 season. Both Benjamin and Rodgers will receive opportunities to prove why they deserve long-term roles in Houston.
- Dec 09, 2022
- Dec 09, 2022