1 undrafted free agent who will make Texans’ roster

The Houston Texans roster looks a lot different after the 2023 NFL Draft. The team took a massive gamble, taking quarterback CJ Stroud at No. 2 and then trading up to No. 3 to take edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. Following those bold moves, the team made seven more selections over the remaining six rounds, and after the draft, signed several Texans undrafted free agents. Now, these rookies will all compete to make the team, starting at the Texans rookie minicamp. The one undrafted player with the best chance of being on the team in Week 1 is LSU edge rusher Ali Gaye.

Ali Gaye is the Texans undrafted free agent with best chance to make the roster

In 2023, the keys to winning football games in the NFL are getting good play from your quarterback and pressuring the opposing QB. If a team can do that, they have an excellent shot to win any game.

The Texans roster is now set up to (hopefully) do those two things for a long time into the future now after the 2023 draft. General manager Nick Caserio took CJ Stroud at No. 2 and then mortgaged the franchise’s future (by giving up a 2024 first-round pick) to go back up to No. 3 and take the best edge rusher in the class, Will Anderson Jr.

This was a bold move, but neither a quarterback nor pass rushers win games alone. Stroud and Anderson Jr. will need help from the players on the Texans roster around them.

For Stroud, the team drafted Penn State center Juice Scruggs from Penn State and wide receiver Nathan “Tank” Dell from Houston in the second and third rounds, respectively.

Houston did then take TCU defensive lineman Dylan Horton in the fourth, but there is a more intriguing potential pass-rush partner for Anderson Jr. who signed as a Texans undrafted free agent.

LSU EDGE Ali Gaye is one of the most interesting stories and tantalizing projects in the 2023 NFL draft.

Gaye took a unique route to the NFL that started with him living in his home country of The Gambia — Africa’s smallest mainland country — until he moved to the United States at age 12. The 6-foot-6, 263-pound lineman played high school football Edmonds-Woodway High School in Washington but wasn’t heavily recruited.

He played at Arizona Western Junior College in 2018 before moving to Garden City Community College (in Kansas) in 2019 before LSU uncovered the diamond in the rough.

In 2020, Gaye stood out on the talented LSU defense that included current NFL players like BJ Ojulari, Jabril Cox, Neil Farrell Jr., Cordale Flott, and Gaye’s new Texans teammate, Derrick Stingley Jr. He led that team in both tackles for a loss (9.5) and pass breakups (six).

Injuries and a lesser talented defense hampered Gaye’s production in 2021 and 2022, but he still flashed incredible talent at times that hints at his still-untapped potential.

Heading into Texans rookie minicamp, there are still several DE roster spots up for grabs. Will Anderson Jr. will take one, and likely so will Dylan Horton. After that, there is no telling who could be on the Texans roster at that position in Week 1.

Soon-to-be 35-year-old Jerry Hughes is currently the presumed starter across from Anderson Jr. Outside of that, Chase Winovich, Jonathan Greenard, Demone Harris, Adedayo Odeleye, and Derek Rivers. That entire group combined for a grand total of 3.5 sacks last season.

The point of sharing that list is that the Texans need more pass-rush help, and the team is thinking long-term right now. While a veteran like Winovich, who has put up 5.5 sacks in a season twice in his career might help a little more now, the team signed Ali Gaye as a Texans undrafted free agent because of his potential to help in the future.

Coming over from Africa as a pre-teen means that Gaye has played far less football in his life than many of the players coming into the league in 2023. That’s a major reason why Gaye got the invite to Texans rookie minicamp.

And since not all that many people on earth are 6-foot-6, 263-pounds, and move like the former LSU Tiger does, the franchise will likely give him every chance to reach his full potential, including keeping him on the Texans roster in 2023, even if that means not being quite as good or deep at DE this season.

After giving up next year’s first-round pick, the Texans aren’t tanking by any means. But they do have long-term plans that go beyond this season, which is why Ali Gaye should be a part of the team in Week 1 next year.

The post 1 undrafted free agent who will make Texans’ roster appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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