Dameon Pierce making a statement that he should be the Texans’ No. 1 running back

The preseason depth chart released by the Texans last week had rookie Dameon Pierce as the third-string running back, behind Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead. But it’s hard to believe Pierce will be third in the rotation when the regular season starts.

All indications out of training camp have been that Pierce looks very good on the practice field, and that continued in the preseason opener, where Pierce was the Texans’ leading rusher with five carries for 49 yards.

Pierce acknowledged he was nervous for his first NFL action but said that nervousness quickly went away.

“Once I got on the turf I calmed down,” Pierce said. “I got my thoughts cleared and just went out and did what I’ve been doing my whole life.”

Head coach Lovie Smith talked up Pierce’s performance.

“Dameon Pierce definitely caught my eye, and everybody’s eye that was watching him,” Smith said. “That’s what we’ve seen during training camp, also. He’s a good football player.”

The Texans liked Pierce so much when they drafted him in the fourth round that they signed him to a contract that gave him more money than is typical for his draft slot, affecting the negotiations for other fourth-round picks in the process. They like him even more, the more they see of him.