The Texans traded up and selected Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins with their third round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. You can take one look at Collins and clearly see that he is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Collins is listed at 6-4 and ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Collins did not have the start to the 2021 season that himself and the fans had hoped for. Collins had a quiet week one, catching one pass for seven yards. Week two against the Cleveland Browns, it seemed like Nico was going to have a huge game. During the first quarter, Collins took a quick pass 32 yards against one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Denzel Ward. Soon after that impressive play, Collins went down with a shoulder injury. Collins not only missed the rest of that game but the next three weeks as well.
Collins returned week six against the Indianapolis Colts but still did not have the impact that he had hoped for. Throughout the rest of the season, Collins did not have any games over 100-yards but showed progression as the season went on. Collins scored his first NFL touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in week 16. Collins ended the season on a relatively high note against the Tennessee Titans, catching three passes for 67 yards.
Basic rookie struggles combined with inconsistency at the quarterback position throughout a majority of the 2021 season led to Collins catching 33 passes for 446 yards and one touchdown. Although it was a relatively slow rookie year for Collins, you can see the playmaking potential.
Fast forward to the 2022 offseason and the Collins hype is building once again. Coaches and teammates have been raving about the progress Collins has made. Starting quarterback Davis Mills had quite the endorsement for Collins saying:
“Obviously his talent is off the charts, we’ve just got to find ways to get him the ball.”
Mills and Collins developed significant chemistry as the 2021 season went on and that should only grow and develop heading into year two for both players. The Texans offense last season was inconsistent due to a multitude of reasons, one being poor offensive line play, which lead to a horrific run game. Opposing defenses knew the Texans had no run game, making it harder for the offense to have a successful passing game.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith is high on the second year receiver and had this to say after practice on Tuesday:
“That’s tough duty for a defensive back. The one play that you’re talking about, defensively, CB Steven Nelson is in pretty good position, but when you’re 6-4, most corners around six feet, that’s a pretty good match up for us. Nico Collins is an excellent football player. We expect him to make plays like that.”
If the Texans can create a more consistent offense in 2022 led by new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and quarterback Davis Mills, Nico Collins will have every opportunity to prove himself and showcase the immense amount of talent he possesses.