The Houston Texans will look drastically different when they take the field in 2021. In addition to going into the new year without J.J. Watt and presumably Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller is another who will no longer represent the Texans come Week 1 of the regular season.
Fuller departed from Houston in March to sign a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent. His jettison came after a career season that saw the Notre Dame prodigy record 879 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games.
Fuller’s decision to join the Dolphins is another void the Texans must fill within their roster. But a hole Brandin Cooks feels is not impossible to fill given the arrival of Nico Collins and Chris Conley.
“First and foremost, as we know, Will was an explosive player for us and I’m going to miss him,” Cooks said. But at the end of the day, we’ve got guys that are going to be able to hopefully fill that void in Nico and Chris.”
Collins (6-4) and Conley (6-3) are two wideouts who will add size to a smaller receiving corps in Houston. Conley is a veteran who spent the last two years playing with the Texans’ AFC South counterpart in Jacksonville, where he notched 1,246 yards and seven touchdowns with the Jaguars.
Collins is entering his first season in the league and has already left a great first impression on his veteran teammates during organized team activities.
“You talk about a guy who’s out there that’s coachable and able to pick up things pretty fast,” Cooks said. “You love to see that from a young guy. The guy’s explosive, natural hands. I look forward to continuing to work with him and seeing him grow.”
Adjusting to life without Fuller isn’t a task that is foreign to the Texans. After Houston drafted Fuller in 2016, he has yet to play an entire 16-game season in his career. Last year, Fuller’s 2020 season came to an unexpected end for violating the league’s policy for performance-enhancing drugs.
With 53 career games under his belt with the Texans, Fuller currently ranks sixth on the franchise’s all-time receiving list (209), fifth in receiving yards (3,110) and tied for fourth with Kevin Walter in receiving touchdowns (29).
“Obviously, Will did a nice job for us last year here — that’s part of the business,” first-year head coach David Culley said. “They move on and the next guy just steps up and we feel like with the group that we have here right now, that production is here in our room. I’m happy with where they’re at right now.”
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