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Can Cecil Shorts Replace Andre Johnson?


Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III recently signed a contract with the Houston Texans. It’s obvious that the Texans are looking for receivers, especially after their longtime wide receiver Andre Johnson had a departure, and recently signed with the Indianapolis Colts. According to ESPN, this deal is for two years, and $6 million.

As ESPN notes, Shorts had a bit of a disappointing year last year.

"“The 2014 season was supposed to be Shorts’ big year since he was in the final year of his rookie contract, but it instead was a disappointment. He did end up leading the Jaguars in receptions but he had a critical fumble in the Jaguars’ first game against Tennessee and two bad drops in the first game against Houston.”"

His year was certainly not what his previous team, the Jacksonville Jaguars wanted, only bringing in 557 yards. Shorts was still on his rookie contract, but he was supposed to be a big deal for the Jaguars. Unfortunately for them, like a lot of players they bring in, he ended up being a bust.

So, can he replace the longtime pretense of the Texans former “lead dog” receiver that they had in Johnson? The initial knee jerk reaction would be to say absolutely not. However, let’s remember Johnson’s first few seasons.

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Johnson only got to 688 yards in his third year with the Texans. In this year, he did only play 13 games, but Shorts only played 13 games in 2013, yet brought in over 700 yards.

This is a huge issue for the Texans, that they are certainly aware of. Shorts has never played a full 16 game season, and as ESPN notes later in their article, Shorts has been extremely susceptible to injury. Even in training camp last year, Shorts was going down with injury, putting him out in the beginning of the year.

My point is that Johnson wasn’t a star receiver after his first five seasons. Sure, he was a notable name, and arguably much better than Shorts is now, but that’s not to say Shorts can’t improve with the right coaching, and with a strong presence of great players surrounding him.

Shorts wasn’t the lead receiver in Jacksonville, and likely won’t be in Houston. Especially not in his first year with them, because DeAndre Hopkins will likely get most of the throws. Hopkins has been in the league less than Shorts, but has developed exponentially quicker than him. In the presence of working with Hopkins, Shorts can learn quite a few things.

So, can Shorts replace Johnson? Probably not. But, with Johnson’s departure, room opens up for a role playing wide receiver on the texans. If Shorts is willing to work hard enough, he can certainly claim that spot on the team.

Next: Texans Need A Healthy Cushing

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