Defensive end Brennan Scarlett was the latest Stanford player to be scooped up as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Houston Texans on Saturday night. The fifth-year senior became the ninth Cardinal to make an NFL team this week, joining former teammates Devon Cajuste, Kevin Anderson and Aziz Shittu as post-draft signees.
Scarlett became the Cardinal’s first ever graduate transfer after joining the team from Cal for his final year of eligibility last season. The four-star recruit out of Portland faced a slew of injuries during his time in Berkeley, suffering season-ending injuries in 2011 and 2014 and sitting out the 2013 season entirely.
Despite playing in only 17 games in his four years as a Golden Bear, Scarlett (a Cal team captain) recorded 54 tackles, including 9.0 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, before transferring to Stanford to pursue a Master’s degree in management science and engineering.
The fifth-year was able to stay healthy in his 2015 campaign for the Cardinal, playing in all 14 games and recording 37 tackles and a team-leading 5.5 sacks en route to an All-Pac-12 honorable mention. After the Cardinal lost junior lineman Harrison Phillips to a torn ACL in the first game of the season, Scarlett’s presence became especially crucial, as he anchored the defensive line rotation along with senior Shittu and sophomore Solomon Thomas.
While Scarlett’s limited college sample size made him an unlikely draft pick, a solid pro day was enough to get noticed as an undrafted prospect. He posted a 4.75 40-yard dash, impressive for his size (6-foot-4, 264 pounds), and knocked out 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press, numbers that would have placed him among the top performers in both categories at the NFL Combine.
Making the Texans’ 53-man roster will be no easy task, however, as the team features an elite defensive front headlined by three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. While Houston did lose starting defensive end Jared Crick to free agency, Scarlett will have to compete with a number of established veterans as well as at least two other undrafted free agents at the position in order to gain a spot come September.
Contact Neel Ramachandran at neelr ‘at’ stanford.edu.