The Texans are talented at the receiver position, but only one receiver is a proven performer. Typically even the most talented first year receivers require time to develop, and the Texans have two they are counting on. Will the 2016 receivers meet expectations or will they contribute to The Good, The Bad or The Ugly?
Wide receivers and tight ends are combined into one position group in this analysis. This is a very fast and talented array of mostly young receivers, but, despite all the speed, the rookies could have trouble creating separation until they learn to run precise patterns within the route tree. My prediction of a 10-6 season includes the expectation that the receiver group will be better than adequate for game 1 and will steadily improve throughout the season.
The wide receivers are led by Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins supported by skilled but often injured veteran Cecil Shorts, second year players Keith Mumphery and improving Jaelen Strong and the rookies including fast third round draft choice Braxton Miller, faster first round draft choice Will Fuller and fastest longshot free agent Wendall Williams. I expect the veterans will be the primary targets early in the season with Fuller and Miller taking on increasingly important roles as the season progresses.
Of the veteran tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz, is a good blocker but his receiving is a work in progress. A healthy Ryan Griffin could provide some balance while Cal rookie free agent Stephen Anderson excels as a receiver, but is an undersized blocker. I expect these players will be mixed and matched to provide somewhat improved tight end receiving production. A running back or wide receiver will often replace the tight end in obvious passing situations, especially if Stephen Anderson isn’t as good in pads as he was in shorts.
The receiver group will play a key role in defining both Brock Osweiler and the 2016 Texans offense. If the receivers meet expectations the Texans will field a potent offense. If they exceed expectations the offense will be explosive, but with so many unproven players The Bad and The Ugly are at least as likely as The Good.
Next: The Good