The Texans rookie has a pretty great opportunity in front of him to be the team's top running back. That's because the only moves the Texans made at the position this offseason besides taking Pierce in Round 4 were signing free agents Marlon Mack and Dare Ogunbowale. Pierce never had a major role at Florida but regularly found work as a runner and occasionally as a receiver. His last year was his best when he totaled 16 touchdowns, but just 790 yards. Pierce is a physical, powerful runner who might be underrated as a receiver, but he won't outrun many defenders (only two plays of 25-plus yards since 2020) and hasn't been a feature back for an offense since his high school days. He has 1,000-yard, six-score potential, putting him squarely on the No. 3 running back radar, albeit with a lot of upside. Round 7 is the time to target him.
Pierce was one of our favorite mid-round RBs in the pre-draft process. While his production profile is poor, his limited tape indicates that the Florida coaching staff simply held him back.
Houston looks like a strong landing spot, too: Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack aren’t exactly no-doubt starters.
Still, odds are Pierce will enter the year as part of a running back by committee. Mix in the young, unproven Houston offense, and it’s reasonable to expect a slow start for the rookie.
Pierce was selected by Houston in the fourth round of April's draft. He is a strong, explosive back capable of producing as a rusher and receiver. He showed well in terms of forcing missed tackles and after contact (3.6), picked up 10-plus yards on a class-best 20% of his carries and showed pass-catching prowess by hauling in all 19 catchable targets and averaging 10.8 yards per target. Pierce seems to have major upside, but lacks top-end speed (4.59 40-yard dash) and it's fair to wonder if he'll be viewed as a three-down back after never clearing 106 carries or 23 targets during four seasons at Florida. Still, he has a shot at a major role with 32-year-old Rex Burkhead his primary competition for touches. Pierce is on the flex radar who could flirt with RB2 numbers.
Dameon Pierce at 5'10, 218 pounds fits the role of a typical NFL running back. He has the tools to perform well despite not taking flight at Florida due to him occupying a part-time role with the team. He has good vision and the size to move forward after contact. He is a physical back with adequate receiving skills. He has all but cemented the starting role in the preseason after putting on a display rushing 49 yards on 5 carries against the Saints. The team rested him for the second preseason game which strengthens the belief that he will be the team's starting back in Week 1.