Texans roster: 4 most crucial players entering 2021

Justin Reid #20 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Justin Reid #20 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texans aren’t expected to perform well in 2021, yet these four players could have a big say in how the team’s initial rebuild stages go.

There’s an awfully good chance the Houston Texans wind up with the worst record in the NFL this season under first-year head coach David Culley.

That might be OK. After all, Culley and Co. are looking at an extensive rebuild over the coming seasons and one which probably won’t include embattled and disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson wants out. That’s no surprise, and there’s a chance it could end up happening in the very near future.

If so, one of Houston’s captains will be gone, following in the footsteps of another former captain, EDGE J.J. Watt, who managed to force his way off the team earlier this offseason.

Leadership and performance on the field will go a long way towards driving the culture Culley wants to implement, meaning these four players could end up being key cornerstones for the Texans over the course of 2021.

No. 4: Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks

One of the many knocks against Houston entering this season is the lack of pass-catching weapons in Culley’s arsenal.

Particularly after watching wide receiver Will Fuller depart to the Miami Dolphins.

True, the Texans added Michigan wideout Nico Collins in the NFL Draft. But being a rookie and having opted out of the 2020 season, Collins remains a project at this point. Nothing more.

Instead, the focus has to go through veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Cooks, Houston’s leading yards-getter last season with 1,150, now finds himself in a much more important role than he would have experienced if Fuller was still in the fray. Considering the lack of receiving depth around him, Cooks will be forced to use his speed and separation ability to make life easier for whoever Culley elects to start at quarterback.

Likely the veteran, Tyrod Taylor, whom we’ll get to in a moment.

Regardless, if Houston’s passing offense is going to have any sort of success, Cooks will need to play a major role.