Texans’ elite pass rusher undrafted free agent is set to impress at NFL Rookie Minicamp

NFL rookie minicamps are already here! The Houston Texans are hosting their rookie minicamp this week, May 10-11. All of their draft picks will obviously get the majority of the attention this weekend, but general manager Nick Caserio signed several intriguing undrafted free agents that could surprise this season too.Houston Texans' elite pass rusher undrafted free agent is set to impress at NFL Rookie Minicamp

It’s always difficult for undrafted free agents to make an instant impact on NFL teams, let alone make the team at all, but there are always a few that stand out enough to overcome the odds. Let’s dive into some of the top undrafted free agent signings who might just begin their epic NFL story this week at Texans rookie minicamp!

Pheldarius Payne, DL Virginia Tech

As we outlined here last week immediately following the draft, Pheldarius Payne might seriously be the be most underrated pass rusher in the entire 2024 NFL Draft class. He took an atypical route through the college ranks starting at the junior college level, transferring, fighting through injuries, yet still managed to put up elite pass rush pressure rates above 14% in two separate seasons at both Nebraska and Virginia Tech.

He should be able to earn a rotational and passing downs role with the Texans right away thanks to his high motor, defensive pre-snap alignment versatility, and the Texans’ great need for depth along their defensive interior.

Jadon and Jaxon Janke, WRs South Dakota State

This tandem of wide receiver brothers accounted for over 50% of South Dakota State’s receiving yards in each of the last four years in a row for the Jackrabbits. They were a huge reason why South Dakota State won back to back FCS national championships in both 2022 and 2023, racking up well over 1500 yards apiece in that span.

If only one of them earns a spot with the Texans it’s likely Jadon as he was the more consistently impressive and productive of the two. He offers inside-outside positional flexibility with great body control as you can see on the great catch he made at the Shrine Bowl in the post below.

Both brothers may have a tough time cracking the wide receiver rotation early, but that room might look very different here soon. Stefon Diggs is really just on a one-year deal. Nico Collins and Robert Woods have expiring contracts after this year too. Yes, they’re long shots, but Jadon and Jaxon Janke could actually stick depending on things go in the near future.

He’s a bit undersized, but Max Tooley brings with him great experience. Tooley played over 2,300 snaps at off-ball linebacker for BYU, snagging over a half dozen interceptions in coverage and pressuring opposing quarterbacks nearly 50 times throughout his career. Given the Texans depth at linebacker he’ll face an uphill battle if he wants to make the final 53-man roster, but his versatility likely lands him a practice squad spot at worst.

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