The 2021 Houston Texans are going to be terrible at a lot of different things. Running the ball, throwing the ball, rushing the passer, covering pass catchers, stopping the run, and catching the football. Throughout the offseason, as we trudge closer and closer to the start of the 2021 NFL season, we have been regurgitating lists from the content mill regarding your Houston Texans.
On the majority of these lists, the Texans fall 32nd. Pro Football Focus’s list ranking the wide receiver groups for the 2021 NFL season also has Houston ranked 32nd. They had the following to say:
32. Houston Texans
The Texans roster overhaul will offer several players opportunities to contribute at receiver this season. Brandin Cooks returns as the top option, and he has graded at 80.0-plus in two out of the last three seasons. Cooks has legit speed, solid hands with only 29 career drops on 541 catchable passes and a history of efficient play in his seven years in the league.
Randall Cobb returns and remains a solid threat out of the slot, but he’s heading into his 11th year in the league and the Texans are in full rebuild mode. Donte Moncrief will get a shot on his fifth team in five years, but he hasn’t graded above 70.0 since 2016.
Rookie third-rounder Nico Collins will certainly get every opportunity to play after Houston gave up a massive haul to trade up for him. Collins adds a big, physical receiver that has been lacking since the departure of Deandre Hopkins. Keke Coutee is also vying for snaps, as his speed and quickness have been an asset when healthy, but he’s yet to play more than 338 snaps in a season during his three years in the league.
At tight end, Jordan Akins had a career year in 2020, grading at 71.8 overall and dropping just one pass. He’s the No. 1 option heading into the season. Ryan Izzo comes over from New England after posting a 52.0 grade last year. Fifth-rounder Brevin Jordan should also see the field on passing downs, as he’s a nifty route runner with after-the-catch ability.
Like the rest of the Houston roster, the receivers are a big unknown. There are a plethora of options, and they’ll need the emergence of new stars to move up the rankings by the end of the year.
Cooks is the only known quantity on the roster, but he’s better as a WR1B or a WR2 than the best receiver on an offense. He’s going to suffer without Deshaun Watson rifling passes into his teeny body in close spaces. Cooks’ top speed has already diminished on vertical routes, and most of his production last year came on deep crossing routes. Other than that, it’s a lot of questions in Houston’s wide receiver room. Can Nico Collins branch out and do more than make contested deep catches? Will Keke Coutee turn into a dependable slot option and amputate the critical errors? Is there a tight end who can emerge as a complete player? How many of Houston’s offseason acquisitions will actually catch onto the roster?
Based on talent alone, the Texans have the worst wide receiver group in the NFL. Hopefully a few of these questions will have beautiful and surprising answers so that we have something, anything, to look forward to come 2022.