HOUSTON -- How big of an impact will Anthony Miller make with the Texans?
Houston acquired the fourth-year veteran from Chicago for a late-round draft choice on Saturday evening. Miller, 26, is entering a contract year after three mixed-results seasons during his time with the Bears.
Coming out of Memphis, Miller was expected to be an immensely productive receiver in the slot. At best, he would be a low-end No. 1 target or a high-end No. 2 weapon. In Chicago, he's been more of a No. 3 threat.
Miller started six games last season and caught 49 passes for 485 yards and two touchdowns. For his career, he's recorded 134 catches for 1,564 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Houston does have a true No. 1 receiver with Brandin Cooks returning. Last season, Cooks perhaps surprised the NFL when he led the Texans with 1,150 yards off 85 catches.
The 2020 campaign marked the fifth time in his career that Cooks surpassed 1,000 yards on the season. He is expected to still be the top weapon for either Tyrod Taylor, Davis Mills or perhaps even Deshaun Watson, who announced he would return to camp Sunday.
Miller's skills and potential change of scenery could be enough to make him the second option in the passing attack for coordinator Tim Kelly. For his career, the former Bears target has averaged 11.7 yards per catch. That would be the third-highest on the team entering 2021 behind Cooks and fellow fourth-year pro Keke Coutee.
The expectation is that Nico Collins, the team's third-round pick, can make an immediate impact on the outside. The 6-5 receiver out of Michigan has a big body, and natural hands that make him a mismatch nightmare for smaller cornerbacks.
Collins elected to opt out last season due to COVID-19. Prior to that, he recorded at least 35 catches, over 630 yards and six touchdowns during his last two seasons with the Wolverines. He also averaged a career 17.8 yards per catch.
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Depending on how Collins plays in preseason, Miller could either start on the outside or in the slot. Chicago initially allowed Miller to move around as he played both positions in 2019 and 20.
Another way that this could be solved would be the battle inside for the slot receiver role. Currently, it seems to be a close race between Randall Cobb and Coutee, who also enters the final year of his deal.
Since being drafted out of Texas Tech, Coutee has not lived up to expectations and has been inconsistent. For his career, he has 83 catches for 941 yards and four touchdowns — three of which came last season.
Cobb, who enters his second year of a three-year, $27 million deal, likely won't be cut due to his guaranteed money. That doesn't mean he will have to be the starter if it's production declines after an already down 2020 season.
Isaiah Coulter also is looking for reps, as is former Jaguars starter Chris Conley. Cooks, Miller, Collins, and Cobb likely are safe from receiving a pink slip. Coutee, Coulter and Conley, along with several others, are not.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio has acquired nine wide receivers this offseason. Of them all, Collins has the most upside, but Miller could be an immediate contributor.
This isn't to say that Miller will be a for sure starter this fall, but he will be viewed as a name that can compete right away.
Maybe, just maybe, it's exactly what both sides needs following last year's struggles.
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