As the 2016 season approaches we examine Houston Texans players who may not be a lock to make the final roster like wide receiver Keith Mumphery
From season-to-season a players job is up for grabs in the NFL. For a wide receiver on the Houston Texans that statement has never been more true than it is as the team heads into the 2016 season with an overhauled group at wide out.
After finishing near the middle of the pack in receiving yardage in 2015 (18th best with 239.6 yards per contest) general manager Rick Smith and head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make sure that was different this coming season.
In order to do so, the team used their first and third round picks in the NFL Draft on receivers Will Fuller, from Notre Dame, and Braxton Miller from Ohio State.
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Obviously those two will be a lock to make the final roster, as will the man who carried the receiving corps last year, DeAndre Hopkins. The third-year receiver exploded for 1,521 yards and 11 scores on 111 receptions as he solidified himself as one of the best in the league.
Outside of those three players, not much is guaranteed which will leave some players on the outside looking in. One such player could be Keith Mumphery, the second year player from Michigan State, who finds himself at a suddenly crowded position.
Mumphery had just 14 receptions for 129 yards, but he was still active most games over the higher touted Jaelen Strong, who was picked last year as well, but two rounds earlier than Mumphery.
The thing that kept the former Spartan active was his role on special teams. Houston used him to return 36 punts and 14 kickoffs, which was the most by any player on the team. His averages per return weren’t outstanding (7.8 per punt return and 24.1 per kick return) but he proved to be a smart player that the coaches could trust.
However, after selecting the dynamic Miller from Ohio State, as well as running back Tyler Ervin from San Jose State, Mumphery may not be a lock to retain his role on special teams.
Mumphery very well looks to be sixth-at-best on the receiving depth chart, and would have to outperform both Miller and Ervin on returns to make the team consider keeping him on the final roster this season. His underwhelming stats may very well make this an impossible battle.