The Houston Texans will be entering a bit of a new era in 2020. For the first time in seven years, they will be starting a season without one of the best wideouts in the NFL. Head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien sent four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in a trade that was criticized by many, which means quarterback Deshaun Watson is going to have to find a way to lead without his No. 1 wideout. The Texans did go out and sign veteran wideouts like Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb in free agency, but there's another option that may evolve into Watson's new top target.
Former first-round pick Will Fuller is entering his fifth NFL season and is the top returning wideout for the Texans. While he's coming off of offseason groin surgery, O'Brien says he's ready to roll and looks absolutely incredible.
"We're excited about having him for 16 games," O'Brien said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "He looks as good as he's ever looked."
Fuller is fast and has great hands, but the best ability in the NFL is availability -- and Fuller has not had that. The former Notre Dame star has never played a full 16 games during his professional career, and averages 10.5 games played per season. O'Brien clearly believes 2020 is going to be different, however. Fuller has been effective when on the field, as he has caught 156 passes for 2,231 yards and 16 touchdowns with an average of 14.3 yards per reception. There have been games where he has absolutely exploded, such as in Week 5 last year against the Atlanta Falcons, when he caught 14 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded a 140-yard receiving game against the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks later -- averaging 20 yards per reception.
Cooks claimed earlier this offseason that the Texans are "stacked" with special receivers who are all unselfish and ready to fit in wherever they are needed. Houston clearly needs a new No. 1 wideout, and maybe the Hopkins trade won't look as bad if Fuller can really come into his own this upcoming season.