Steve Slaton Emerging As One of the NFL's Top Rookies

Michael CarvelliContributor IDecember 5, 2008

After injuries made his junior season his worst season statistically in his college career, West Virginia running back Steve Slaton made the decision to skip his senior season and enter himself into the 2008 NFL Draft.

With the 26th pick of the third round, the 5-9, 203 pounder's wait was over as he was selected by the Houston Texans. Just like his freshman season at West Virginia, Slaton entered training camp as the third running back on the depth chart, this time behind veterans Ahman Green and Chris Brown.

As the preseason began, Slaton played well, running the ball 34 times for 138 yards. His play in the preseason moved him up in front of Brown on the depth chart and he went into the regular season as Green's backup.

In the first regular season game of his NFL career, Slaton started off slowly, running for just 43 yards on 13 carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the next week, he showed that he still had the explosiveness that he had when he played in Morgantown as he had his first 100-yard game of the season against the Tennessee Titans and scored his first career touchdown.

Last week, the Houston Texans made their debut on Monday Night Football, as did their rookie running back. Slaton continued to impress, this time in front of the entire country leading the Texans to a 30-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars with his 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Slaton's 904 yards is currently third among NFL rookies and his eight touchdowns leads all rookie running backs. If he can continue playing at this pace, Houston fans could be seeing a future star in the making.