Dameon Pierce brings ‘a lot of energy’
The Houston Texans needed to add a spark to their run game in 2022.
Houston finished with 1,422 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry, both the worst in the NFL in 2021. Part of the problem was due to the lack of young runners in the backfield. Pro Bowlers David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, and Mark Ingram didn’t pan out, and the club started Rex Burkhead as their feature back in five of the last six games of the season.
The Texans addressed running back in the 2022 NFL draft with the fourth-round selection of Florida’s Dameon Pierce.
According to Burkhead, who spoke with reporters after organized team activities at Houston Methodist Training Center on June 1, what Pierce brings to the backfield is energy.
“Yeah, a lot of energy, a lot of energy,” Pierce said. “You know, rookie coming in. He finishes plays. He’s trying to learn as much as he can as quickly as possible, and that’s what you’ve got to do as a rookie. You’ve got to learn it quick but also don’t let it get all jumbled in your mind when you get out there on the field.”
When Burkhead arrived in the NFL as the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2013 sixth-round pick, the challenge was learning the various pass protections at the NFL level.
“College you have one or two pass protections and that’s really it,” said Burkhead. “You get to the NFL level and you’ve got multiple, you’ve got a ton.”
However, pass protection appears to be a less difficult concept for Pierce to grasp.
Said Burkhead: “He’s doing a good job picking that up, picking off myself and some of the other veterans in the backfield to learn as quick as possible.”
Pierce was an underutilized talent at Florida in his final season. Pierce generated a 5.7 yards per carry, but only had 100 carries on the season. The Gators benefited from his nose for the end zone as he scored 13 rushing touchdowns.