Slaton was thrust into the starting running back position when Ahman Green couldn’t go with various injuries, and all Slaton did was run for 1,282 yards with nine touchdowns, and he also caught 50 passes for 377 yards and another touchdown.
Although Slaton proved himself to be a Pro Bowl caliber type of back, even without the trip to Hawaii, it’s always good to have more than one back.
The Texans are reportedly one of the many suitors interested in former Giants running back Derrick Ward, who gained over 1,000 yards while splitting carries with Brandon Jacobs. Ward is a speedy back who has good hands, which can also run inside, very similar to Steve Slaton. Some of the other suitors for Ward’s services are said to be the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 28 years old, Ward’s body is younger than his football age, as he has just 342 career carries, but the other teams who are in the sweepstakes for Ward need his as a primary back and could raise the asking price for his services to more than what the Texans will pay.
Another back that the Texans have shown interest in is former University of Texas star, Cedric Benson. The former top-five draft pick by the Chicago Bears has had numerous run-ins with the law, and was labeled as a bust by many. Following his departure from the Bears, Benson hooked on with the Cincinnati Bengals and played in 12 games and started 10 of those. In his ¾ of a season with the Bengals, Benson ran for 747 yards with two touchdowns. The bruising 5’11”, 220 lb. back is a tough inside runner with good feet, although he lacks the top end speed to be truly explosive. At 26 years old, Benson is still young enough to revive his career, and shouldn’t demand too high of a salary based on his off the field indiscretions as well as his lack of production.
With Ward and Benson being two of the most attractive free agent running backs left on the market, Houston may decide to forego entering into the veteran spending spree and find their compliment to Steve Slaton in the draft. With players such as Connecticut’s Donald Brown, Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy, Liberty’s Rashad Jennings, and Michigan State’s Javon Ringer likely available in the middle rounds, they may be better suited to take the same route they did a year ago with Slaton.