The broken foot Kevin Johnson sustained during the Texans’ overtime victory over the Colts last weekend resulted in the team relocating the cornerback to its IR list, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
Houston activated safety Lonnie Ballentine to replace the second-year corner on its active roster. Johnson would be eligible to return after eight games but isn’t expected to play again this season, making him an unrealistic candidate to take advantage of the new IR policy.
This represents another critical loss for a Texans defense that entered the season with lofty aspirations after a strong 2015. Johnson rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 cornerback through six games, and he’ll join J.J. Watt as players who will no longer contribute to the team’s AFC South title push this season.
The Texans also lost safety K.J. Dillon to a torn ACL against the Colts. Charles James figures to have more responsibilities going forward as the Texans attempt to fill the void of a player who’s proven thus far to be a quality investment via first-round pick. Houston’s already received standout work from former UDFA A.J. Bouye, whom PFF rates as its No. 1 corner thus far this season.
The No. 16 overall pick in 2015, Johnson made 21 tackles and deflected three passes in the Texans’ first six games. He also recovered a fumble. Johnson started 10 games as a rookie and played in all 16, intercepting a pass and registering 52 tackles.
A 2014 seventh-round pick, Ballentine spent the first six games of the season on the Texans’ PUP list after a significant knee injury ended his 2015 season. He tore his MCL and PCL while also dislocating the meniscus in the badly damaged left knee.
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