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Catching up with the Wide Receivers on the Texans

The Texans lost a good one this offseason. DeAndre Hopkins is probably the most talented receiver to walk through the organization. The loss of Hopkins, however, has not translated to a weaker offense on paper. The Texans offense on paper arguably looks better than what it did coming into last season despite the loss of Hopkins. This is in large part due to the revamped wide receiver group for 2020.  The Texans are the deepest team in the NFL when it comes to the wide receiver position. The depth chart I will have shows how I predict it will shape up once the preseason is over, but some players have a lot more to prove than others if they want to keep their roster spot. It is going to be very difficult for these young guys to secure their spot on the roster. The Texans will probably carry six, but no more than seven, wide receivers on the 53 man roster.

  1. Brandin Cooks (Trade addition from Rams)
  2. Randall Cobb (Free agency acquisition)
  3. Will Fuller
  4. Kenny Stills
  5. Isiah Coulter (5th round selection)
  6. Keke Coutee
  7. DeAndre Carter
  8. Tyler Simmons (UDFA Rookie)
  9. Steven Mitchell Jr.
  10. Isaac Whitney
  11. Chad Hansen

The starting four of this group have all locked in their roster spots for the upcoming season. Brandin Cooks will see the slot that he loves so much a lot this year. Him and Fuller will be tasked with taking the top off the defense, while Cobb and Stills work the middle of the field with their superb yards after the catch ability. While the players mesh well in the routes that they run they have one crucial flaw. All four of the core receivers prefers to operate out of the slot. Kenny Stills is the strongest of the group on the outside and will be asked to adjust the most. His versatility is crucial to the core working as he can do a little bit of everything. The lack of slot receivers is only magnified when looking at the depth of the team. Every single receiver on the roster except Chad Hansen and Isiah Coulter prefers to operate out of the slot.

Chad Hansen has virtually no chance of making this roster and the Texans made a good selection in Isiah Coulter in the 5th round. He has the ability to contribute in some role right away. Coulter is a 6′ 2” big-bodied outside receiver. He is extremely speedy (yes, all of them are fast), and excels in open space like Cobb and Stills. His routes still need work, but he has Andre Johnson as his WR coach to help with that. I am very high on Coulter and think that he will be on the field week 1 even without a full rookie camp. The main threat to Coulter, though, are Coutee and Carter. Keke Coutee is out of favor with Bill O’Brien, but Tim Kelly is running the offense now so he might get another shot. I think Coutee has a lot of potential, but  has messed up at crucial times during his career. Carter is not a great wide receiver. His only real assets is his speed and he did a good job catching the occasional deep ball after Coutee was benched. Carter’s role on the team is as the return man and he is pretty good at it. It will be interesting to see if that gives him the roster spot over Colter or Coutee. I think that he is replaceable as a return man and should not warrant a roster spot.

Out of the remaining four receivers on the roster, the most intriguing is Tyler Simmons. Tyler Simmons was a superb return man in college and if he can take the duties away from Carter that would be great for his chances to make the roster. I predict he will end up on the practice squad, but he is definitely a player to watch out for. He has great breakaway speed and was great in space in college. He can be used on jet sweeps and other gadget plays as the ball carrier. The problem is that he more of an athlete than an actual wide receiver. His routes are not great, he struggles to create space to make contested catches. If you can’t get open and you can’t make contested catches, does not do much for you potential as a receiver, but he has value as a returner and out of the slot as ‘go-route’ player.

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