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Rookie Starter? Texans Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers

In our training camp preview, we take a look at the Houston Texans' wide receivers and how they could pan out.

As the Houston Texans' training camp draws nearer, TexansDaily.com will dive into each position group looking at the sure things, battles to watch, and potential sleepers to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.

This time, it's the wide receivers.

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Starters

Let's get the obvious out the way first; Brandin Cooks will be Houston's number one receiver. He's the most experienced, most talented, and most prolific wideout on their roster. 

In fact, Cooks has recorded five 1,000+ receiving yards seasons for four different teams during his seven years in the league. And this includes 1,150 receiving yards in 15 games last year for Houston - underrated.

Outside of Cooks, it gets unpredictable very quickly. 

With Will Fuller now a Miami Dolphin, that WR2 spot is wide-open. 

Houston traded up to grab Michigan's Nico Collins in the third round this year and it's easy to see why. he has all the physical and athletic traits you could want in a big-bodied rangy target who can give Houston a different option from the smaller, nimble, straight-line speedster they already have in Cooks. 

However, being a rookie it is yet to be seen if he will pan out. As such, Chris Conley looks the most likely to take up this role at first.

A veteran who has experience with head coach David Culley from their time in Kansas City, Conley will be a decent option at the spot until Collins (hopefully) is ready to take over.

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In the slot, Randall Cobb is likely going to retain his starting role, in no small part thanks to his contract. Last season was a year to forget for the former Green Bay Packer, who failed to find his rhythm in this offense and missed the final six games of the year on injured reserve.

Hopefully, 2021 will be the year he returns to his best.

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Backups

Andre Roberts looks certain to make the final cut given that his abilities as a returner. Houston has lacked a real cutting edge in the return game for the last few years and adding the three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro to this roster is one of the more exciting moves general manager Nick Caserio made this offseason.

Keke Coutee bounced back onto the scene towards the tail end of last season when injuries gave him another shot. At times he showed exactly why many were so excited about him after his rookie season in 2018, and if he can build on that momentum he could still have a shot at the starting slot role down the line - but this does feel like an all-or-nothing year for the former Red Raider.

Meanwhile, Isaiah Coulter had an almost non-existent rookie year in 2020. Another bigger target, Coulter will need to impress this camp if he's to make the roster again this year. Otherwise, a year on the practice squad could be beneficial.

Elsewhere, Houston also has undrafted free agent Damon Hazelton who could work his way onto the final roster but he will have to battle more experienced playmakers Chris Moore, Alex Erickson, Donte Moncrief, and Taywan Taylor for a spot, all of whom arrived this year. 

Surprise Package

Rookie Collins is one to watch for certain. His size and strength give him a real advantage in one-on-ones and when he gets going, you'll have a tough time catching him. 

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