DeAndre Hopkins is no longer here. Will Fuller is no longer here. The Houston Texans are passing the baton to third-round receiver Nico Collins, with fellow newcomer coach David Culley offering a high bit of praise.
"He is the the prototype wide receiver,'' Culley said. "Big, strong, 50-50 catch guy. Very tough kid.''
Collins, the Michigan product who went No. 89 overall to the Texans in the 2021 NFL Draft, has all of that on paper, at 6-4 and 215 pounds. And speaking of "paper,'' Collins now has that, too, as per SportsTalk 790, the Texans have signed Collins to his standard four-year contract, worth $4.871 million, with an $881,433 signing bonus.
General manager Nick Caserio, speaking right after the selection, touted Collins' pro-level attributes.
“He’s got good size, he runs well, he’s got good hands, so he catches the ball well,” Caserio said. “He’s got good playing strength. So, again, how is that going to translate into our system and into NFL competition? We’ll find out.”
But Collins already thinks he knows, crediting Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh with prepping him for the NFL.
“He coached us like an NFL team would and gave us advice,” Collins said. “Things like that got me ready for the NFL. He got me ready for life after football, too. Harbaugh did a lot for me and I’m thankful he was my coach and I’m blessed I played under him, for sure.”
Also worth noting: Texans’ new quarterback coach Pep Hamilton served as Michigan’s assistant head coach and passing game coordinator and thus worked with Collins.
Does all of this mean Collins can be Hopkins, dealt in 2020 to Arizona, or Fuller, who left this spring for Miami? Not yet. But it does mean he is, right now, "The Prototype.''