On Wednesday the Houston Texans caught most fans and media alike by surprise when announcing they had waived running back and return specialist Tyler Ervin, and then following up that move with claiming receiver DeAndre Carter from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ervin had been having a decent season in the refurbished Texans special teams. Led by Brad Seely, he has rejuvenated this unit and given the likes of Ervin a new lease of life.
On 21 punts he had averaged 8.3 yards per return, just shy of his career-best year for this category during his rookie season in 2016. Whereas he has set a new career-high in average yards per kickoff return with 25.3 this season.
Not only this but has also served as an occasional slot receiver in the absences of both Bruce Ellington and Keke Coutee this season. In total, this season he recorded four targets, with three receptions for 35 yards.
Ervin’s strength lies in his speed. Back at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2016, he recorded a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, however, as reported by Patrick Starr last seasons knee injury has affected his speed.
This could explain to some extent why they opted to release him. Carter recorded a not dissimilar 4.44 40-time back in 2015, so should be useful as a return man. Also, he is an out and out receiver. This allows the Texans to backup Coutee, who has been in and out of the side due to injuries, with a genuine receiver as opposed to Ervin who was a running back by trade.
What can also be inferred from this transaction is that second-year running back D’Onta Foreman is close to returning, as with Ervin now gone the backs are currently limited to just Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, and rookie Buddy Howell, who may be the next cut as the Texans look to make room for Foreman.