What Is Nate Washington’s Role With The Texans?


The Houston Texans said goodbye to long-time star receiver Andre Johnson this offseason and have since brought in a couple of veteran free agents, as well as two draft picks to fill the void. Putting the new pieces together gives the team the options of using young star DeAndre Hopkins with Cecil Shorts III, Damaris Johnson, Keshawn Martin, Travis Labhart and rookies Jaelen Strong, Keith Mumphery.

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Looking at this group it would seem, barring any injuries, that the top three guys would be Hopkins, Shorts and most likely Strong. There have also been reports that early on in OTA’s Mumphery and Labhart have looked very sharp.

Johnson is a shifty, slot receiver, who is undersized but provides a matchup problem due to his quickness. Then there is Martin, who has spent more time as a return man in his career and if he makes the roster in 2015, that would most likely again be his calling card.

That leaves Nate Washington outside of the top three, and he also offers nothing of value for special teams. This is important because the fourth receiver on most teams needs to be able to contribute in some way on special teams to be useful enough to activate on game day.

Washington has spent most of his career as an outside receiver and has put together some impressive seasons throughout the years, and in his opinion whether he is one of the top receivers or not, he still sees himself as a leader for the unit.

"“Any level, any team, first and foremost being the veteran, I’m going to have to be a leader,” said Washington during the start of OTAS. “I’ve spent some time, I have been around this league. I will be able to push the younger guys in a good direction.”"

Washington has been a very good receiver in the NFL, but his play has declined over the past couple of seasons. In 2014 he had 40 receptions for 647 yards and two touchdowns. The good thing is he still averaged over 16 yards per reception last year.

In the end Houston may need more than just a leadership role from Washington when considering the fact that both Shorts and Strong have had injury issues in recent years. Those injury concerns may also be the one thing that makes Houston want to hang on to the veteran as a fourth receiver despite his inability to help on special teams.