Garrett Graham could miss opener with back injury

AP

As is often the case with teams that earn the first overall pick in the draft, the Texans had an offseason filled with changes.

There’s a new coaching staff and 20 new players on the roster, 10 of whom are rookies who will be trying to help form the foundation of the next winning team in Houston. Only one of those rookies, linebacker and first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, has a confirmed starting role but a second could find his way into the lineup against Washington this weekend.

Tight end Garrett Graham has missed the last two practices with a back injury and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle doesn’t expect him to play, which would lead the team to tap third-round pick C.J. Fiedorowicz. Coach Bill O’Brien wouldn’t say what chance Graham has of playing, but couched his potential availability in a downbeat tone.

“We’re still checking him out,” O’Brien said, via ESPN.com. “He might be available. He’s probably a guy that we’d have to work out on the morning of the game.”

Graham had 49 catches for 545 yards and five touchdowns last season as he stepped into a larger role following Owen Daniels’s injury. Fiedorowicz may bring more to the table as a blocker and an extended look early in the season could lead to a bigger than expected role for the rookie in 2013.