The Houston Texans decided to bring in wide receiver Anthony Miller this offseason in a trade with the Chicago Bears. It is a fresh start for the former second round draft pick that could prove fruitful for both parties.
Deandre Hopkins isn’t walking through that door. Will Fuller isn’t walking through that door. The names Texans fans grew accustomed to watching on Sundays are now old news. In are younger players looking to make an impact like Nico Collins, taken with the 89th pick this past draft, and Miller.
When the trade for Miller first happened it seemed that it was a move that had to have more coming considering the depth at the position. Randall Cobb was just signed the previous offseason to a hefty contract, and it seemed to be his position to lose.
The Aaron Rodgers saga with the Packers finally got some clarity, and Cobb was traded to his former team as that was part of things being smoothed over in Green Bay in 2021. That scenario was great news for the Texans because being able to move Cobb’s contract, plus bringing in a young talent like Miller in the process was a rare victory in a trade for the Texans.
Coming out of Memphis in the 2018 NFL Draft, Miller was taken in the second round by Chicago. Miller showed big play ability in college, catching 37 touchdowns in three seasons and leading the nation his senior season with 18 TDs. He also was third in the country with 1,462 yards as a senior.
As you can see, Miller has an ability to make big plays happen with ball in his hands. Since coming into the NFL he has also shown the ability to create separation. According to Next Gen Stats, the fourth year receiver has created an average of at least three yards of separation when targeted. Having a pass catcher that can create space makes a quarterbacks job much easier.
The clip above shows Miller’s shiftiness to create space, but it also shows another strength in his game. Along with his underneath playmaking ability, he can stretch the field vertically. Miller not only displays his downfield speed, but the even shows the concentration and hands to make a catch when a defender is close enough to make a play.
The inconsistent quarterback play in the “Windy City” seemed to be a big reason for the lack of production early in Miller’s career. He did bring in seven touchdowns as a rookie, but just four touchdowns the past two seasons. Miller also saw a regression in receiving yards in 2020 after posting a career high of 656 receiving yards in 2019.
In his short time with the Houston Texans, Miller has already shown flashes of his ability. Impressing some of the veterans on offense, and introducing himself to the defensive backs in training camp. It is expected that he would be competing with Keke Coutee among others for reps at slot receiver, but it would be shocking if it isn’t Miller’s job Week 1 when the Texans face the Jaguars.
The new look at the skill positions for the Houston Texans, especially wide receiver, will be a fun storyline for fans to follow this season.
Even with the names that have moved on over the past few seasons, the youth movement on the Houston Texans will be looking to make their mark and provide big plays for the offense, no matter who is the starting quarterback.