Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
Alfred Blue will have a better pro career than he did a college career.
Injuries and other talented backs on the LSU roster both played a role in Blue seeing limited action during his college career. This inactivity could also be viewed as a plus, however, because it means his tank is still full.
The Texans potentially got a huge steal with the selection of Blue in the sixth round, who Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com said has second-round talent.
A physically gifted runner who would have been the No. 1 back at most schools given his combination of size, speed, power and competitiveness. Is a second-round talent on talent alone, but injuries and a stacked stable of LSU runners limited Blue’s opportunity to shine. Scheme-versatile runner who is a prime candidate to elevate his stock prior to the draft and be a far more productive pro than college player if he proves he can stay healthy.
Blue's combination of size, speed and vision has led some like Patrick Starr of State of the Texans to compare him to Arian Foster.
Rookie running back Alfred Blue is one to watch. He can do a little bit of it all and looks very comparable skill wise to what Foster can do. We are not saying they are currently on the same level but they are from the same mold as a player. One who can one cut and get up field and catch the football with ease.
The former LSU back has also impressed onlookers with his ability as a receiver.
He showed today the part of his game that did not get enough credit, his pass catching ability. Blue showed he can lineup in the backfield, motion out and lineup in the slot or wide and be a true receiving threat. He has soft hands and caught the ball with ease with his big catch radius.
I think Alfred Blue will end the season as second running back for the Texans.
However, as a late-round rookie who received around one full season of carries during college, Blue will obviously have to overcome a larger learning curve than the other running backs on the roster. Once he starts to feel comfortable and things begin to click, expect Blue to start receiving most of the backup snaps.
Factoring in Arian Foster's age, health concerns and tread off the tire after several years of heavy use, it would benefit the Texans to limit his carries as much as possible. I believe in a running back-by-committee strategy in most situations so how quickly Alfred Blue is able to gain the coach's trust and earn carries will be very important.
As I wrote in an article for State of the Texans back in April, the misuse and overuse of running backs can cost them years off their career and likely already shortened the shelf life of Arian Foster. Limiting carries doesn't mean you have to take the ball away from Foster during the fourth quarter of a close game or on the goal line. It just means the team should be smarter about giving Foster unnecessary carries in situations where the game isn't on the line.
If the team wants to run a draw on 3rd and 15 or if they're either ahead or behind by three scores late in the fourth quarter, they should give those carries to the backup—a concept the Texans failed to grasp under Gary Kubiak.
That's where Alfred Blue comes in. The Texans need him to produce close to the level of what Ben Tate did in 2011 in order to justify taking Foster off the field. The temptation with a back as talented as Foster is always to lean on him heavily, but they have to resist that urge.
If Alfred Blue plays as well during the season as he has very early on during OTAs, the coaching staff should have no problem easing the load off of Foster and giving extra carries to their rookie back.