Bad news came out of the Houston Texans training camp on Wednesday as Will Fuller, sophomore WR out of Notre Dame, broke his collarbone and will be out indefinitely. That’s a blow for the young receiver and for the Texans chances of making it three divisional titles in a row.
If you read the AFC South primer last week, you will have seen that we pegged Fuller to be the breakout second year player on the roster. He flashed outstanding potential in his rookie season before fading quite dramatically.
With a new QB and an even beefier D, hopes were high for Fuller to become a leading WR2 opposite star DeAndre Hopkins. He provides rare pace and thus constitutes an option that can terrify opposing defenders.
So what are the Texans options to replace the potential production they lost with Fuller’s injury? Let’s take a look:
Per Ourlads, Fuller’s fellow sophomore WR Braxton Miller is next in line. His debut season was nothing to write home about, playing in 10 games, starting six, he snagged 15 balls for 99 yards and one TD. That’s not great. However, Miller is still learning the position. A QB in high school he played the position for Ohio State before missing the 2014 season through injury and converting to WR when the path to the starting QB position was blocked. In the 2015 season he played WR to non-flashy results. However, his pedigree and potential led the Texans to spend their third-round pick in the 2016 draft on him. With Fuller out of the way, he will be expected to carry a heavier load, and this chance is one he can’t pass up.
There really aren’t many options on the roster to step-up. Jaelen Strong has disappointed throughout his tenure with the Texans but still has potential and if he can reduce his drop rate, he could be a serviceable option. Beyond that, it is a list of veritable ‘who’s that’ of rookie UDFA and street free agents.
What are the options on the free agent market?
It’s slim pickings…Dorial Green-Beckham is out there, but having flamed out in his last two spots, is he going to have any impact? An intriguing option would be Anquan Boldin who brings so much to the team beyond his on-field play. There are other names but having read that Boldin is still there, I say the Texans should make a play at getting him in.
Boldin is a cult figure in the league for his production, ability to play into his 30s, and his outstanding fortitude playing through pain. In a razor thin free agent pool, the Texans could use a guy of his calibre, character and leadership. Fair, he isn’t going to grab 80 balls for 1,100 yards but he gives a great option to a young QB (again, we are assuming it is Watson under centre for the Texans) and a fantastic short yardage/red zone safety valve.
As Fuller works his way back, Boldin is a great short-term option.