After failing to be selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ohio State fullback-turned linebacker Zach Boren has agreed to a free agent contract with the Houston Texans. Boren is rated as the 6th best fullback in the 2013 draft class and the 298th best player overall, per CBSSports.com. Boren joins teammate Travis Howard who signed as an undrafted free agent immediately following the draft as well.
After switching from fullback to linebacker a little over halfway through his senior season, Zach Boren demonstrated the kind of versatility than NFL teams covet. The Houston Texans organization may view Boren as a potential heir to the same sort of role former Rice/Texans H-back James Casey played for them. Both Casey and Boren were tutored/utilized in similar roles under Ohio State (and former Rice) offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Boren also was an effective lead blocker out of I-formations in Ohio State's previous offensive scheme showing the same kind of ferocity he would later on the defensive front at the linebacker position.
His size tells the story in terms of his one glaring downside. He doesn't have NFL height or necessarily measurables, but as he demonstrated with Ohio State, his willingness to do anything won't be limited to going through whatever NFL conditioning program gets thrown at him. Some scouts have said he didn't "hold blocks long enough", but with more tutelage under the right coaching staff, that's definitely something improved technique should help with.
Losing Casey to Chip Kelly and the Eagles means the opportunity for Boren to make the team is there immediately. The Texans signed former Jacksonville fullback (and Florida State running back) Greg Jones recently, but he's somewhat a departure from the way the team leveraged Casey (which was more of as an h-back). Even with Jones holding down the starting fullback position, Boren should have every opportunity to at worst make the Texans' practice squad.
Pro Day results
Weight: 238 lbs.
40 yard dash: 4.98
20 yard shuttle: 2.86
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller averaged 7.2 yards per carry with Boren playing fullback but just 4.2 after he switched to linebacker. On defense, Boren recorded 50 tackles and averaged 8.2 per game in his short six game career on the defensive side after not having played that side of the ball the previous 3 years of his college career.