May 20, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) during organized team activities at the Methodist Training Center at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub will have a variety of wide receivers to throw the football to come the start of training camp with a slew of younger wide receivers and one veteran mainstay.
There are no doubt there are questions at the wide receiver spot for the Texans, though the mainstay at the No. 1 spot is still Andre Johnson, who is entering his 11th season.
The rest of the receivers combined don’t match the years that Johnson had built in the NFL, with five rookies on the roster, and it doesn’t help matters DeVier Posey is coming off an left Achilles tendon tear which occurred five months ago, as he’ll more than likely start the ’13 campaign on the PUP list. Posey has six career catches for 87 yards.
So, who will be the complement to Johnson this season?
The obvious choice to play opposite of Johnson is rookie DeAndre Hopkins, who signed his four-year contract Monday.
First, let’s look at Johnson, who continues to be one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. The 6-3, 229-pound receiver had 112 receptions for 1,598 yards and four TDs last season. For his career, the former first-round draft pick has 818 receptions for 11,254 yards and 54 touchdowns.
May 20, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) during organized team activities at the Methodist Training Center at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
In his two postseason games in ’12, Johnson caught 12 passes (targeted 16 times) for 157 yards. Though he didn’t have a score in the postseason, Johnson averaged 13.1 yards per catch.
Johnson’s spot as the No. 1 wide out is safe.
The future of the receivers for the Texans could be and is expected to be Hopkins, who was drafted No. 27 overall out of Clemson this past April.
Hopkins caught 82 receptions his senior season for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns. For his college career, he had 205 catches for 2,009 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Who else will make an impact for Houston this camp, in hopes of generating playing time in ’13?
Keshawn Martin could be the next choice for the Texans, with the second-year pro coming off a season where he played 16 games with 10 receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. Or it could be Lestar Jean, who totaled six receptions for 151 yards and one score.
Another receiver on the roster is Jeff Maehl, who didn’t play in a game last season.
The other rookies besides Hopkins include: Alan Bonner, Andy Cruse, Alec Lemon, Michael Smith and Uzoma Nwachukwu.
Bonner (5-10), a sixth-round pick from Jacksonville State, was described in his draft analysis as proving “instant impact” for Jacksonville State in 11 games. At JSU, Bonner (who runs a 4.59 40-yard dash) was their leading receiver with 33 catches for 582 yards and three touchdowns his junior year. His final college season, he had 50 receptions for 859 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cruse, an undrafted rookie free agent, stands at 6-3 and caught 74 passes at Miami (OH) his senior season for 681 yards and six touchdowns. He totaled 160 catches for 1,662 yards for his college career with 14 total touchdowns.
Lemon, a 6-1 undrafted rookie out of Syracuse, had a proactive senior season for the Orange with 1,070 yards on 72 receptions and seven scores. The four-year SU player totaled 201 catches for 2,596 yards and 18 TDs for his career.
Nwachukwu (5-11) played at Texas A&M, where he caught 26 passes for 485 yards his senior year with seven TDs. He caught 50 passes his junior year for 639 yards, and during his freshman season, he had 40 receptions for 708, yards. For his college career he totaled 2,239 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Smith, in his final season (’12) at Connecticut, caught 31 passes for 407 yards and one TD. In his career, he had 104 yards for 1,329. He sat out the ’11 season.