Pat Sullivan/Associated Press
Who Will Make The Roster: Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris, A.J. Bouye, Elbert Mack and Andre Hal at cornerback.
D.J. Swearinger, Kendrick Lewis, Chris Clemons, Shiloh Keo and Lonnie Ballentine at safety.
Who Just Missed The Cut: Marcus Williams, Eddie Pleasant and Josh Victorian.
Cutting Williams and Victorian would be tough as both have played well during offseason practices. What could save Williams' job is if he shows potential as a return man on special teams. He'd have to be great at it because the Texans have other options, but it's one way to stay on the team.
If the Texans do cut Williams, he would be a good candidate to return to the team as a member of the practice squad.
What Should You Expect From This Group: The performance of the secondary is often tied to how effective the team's front seven is at getting a consistent pass rush.
The Texans have solid starters on the outside at cornerback, but no corner can cover forever if the players up front aren't getting to the quarterback. Getting a consistent pass rush shouldn't be an issue this year, so expect the performance level of the secondary to improve a great deal.
In 2013, the Texans tied for 29th in sacks with just 32; that number should improve greatly. If they do get more pressure it should also help another area with room for improvement: creating turnovers. The Texans finished dead last in 2013 in interceptions and turnovers, but getting bodies around the quarterback and speeding up his clock will create havoc and cause more mistakes from their opponents.
More pressure almost always equals more turnovers.
Joseph and Jackson specifically weren't bad last season, but the overall coverage ability of the secondary was lacking. In particular, Joseph had a good season last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
Back to the mistakes in coverage, specifically the guys lined up in the slot and at safety have to do a much better job this season. The players who will start at safety seem obvious (Swearinger and Lewis), but I'm not so sure the situation at slot receiver is the same.
Most would assume that former second-round pick Brandon Harris would inherit the job after the team released Brice McCain, but that's not a given. Both A.J. Bouye and Andre Hal have played well during offseason practices and are alive in the competition.
Patrick D. Starr of State of the Texans believes Bouye has made a solid impression during OTAs while filling in for a couple veterans.
With Johnathan Joseph and Brandon Harris missing time during OTAs, Bouye has filled in and made a solid impression on secondary coach John Butler.
Bouye has the frame to cover bigger receivers on the outside and his ball skills are underrated in the sense he just has the instincts to understand when the ball is intended for his receiver. Bouye’s development could be a nice boost for a secondary looking for some quality depth compared to previous seasons.
It wouldn't shock me if Bouye beat out Harris for the job.
The addition of Lewis at safety should also improve their coverage. Last season, their safeties struggled and were too often out of position, which led to big plays. Nobody will confuse Lewis with a Pro Bowl player, but one thing he can do is cover as a center fielder or Cover 2 safety.
His performance dropped off over the last two years, which is likely what made him expendable to Kansas City, but Lewis had his best seasons under Romeo Crennel and could be a valuable asset now that the two have been reunited.
The other safety spot should also see improvement, but without a change in personnel. Through offseason practices, Swearinger seems more comfortable with what he's being asked to do which could lead to him making plays instead of getting burned.
Swearinger has good physical tools, which translated into him playing well as a box safety last season, but if he's able to play under control and play with more focus in regards to his positioning and assignment, he could actually be solid in coverage as well.
The Texans didn't make any flashy moves or additions to the secondary, but with the help of an improved pass rush, young players continuing to develop and a veteran with experience under Crennel, the performance from the secondary should be improved.