With the Houston Texans organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp completed two weeks ago and over a month before their first preseason game, the month of July is a very quiet month for Texans fans. However, that does not mean we should stop talking about the Texans roster and getting excited for football to return. Every season, there are three or four players who make huge strides in the offseason and end up being big time contributors to the Texans during the season. Last year, Benardrick McKinney followed up a decent rookie season by more than doubling his tackles total and finishing eleventh in the NFL with 129 tackles, while adding 5 sacks. A.J. Bouye proved himself to be an elite slot corner and used it to get a large paycheck in Jacksonville, and CJ Fiedorowicz became one of the Texans best pass-catchers from the tight end position. So what players will have breakout seasons for the Houston Texans in 2017? It’s still early, but lets look at who has shown the most improvement from last year and could break out in 2017.
Fuller showed some very good things as the Texans second receiver last season, catching 47 passes for 635 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fuller is one of the fastest players on the Texans and showed a great ability to beat defenses downfield. Fuller’s biggest knock from last season was his dropped passes, as he had several drops throughout the year and one costly dropped touchdown in the playoffs. Fuller has spent the offseason focused on getting stronger and catching passes. New offensive assistant coach Wes Welker should be able to help Fuller with the fundamentals of catching different types of passes, and show him some pointers in route running as well. Fuller will also benefit from better quarterback play this year. The Brock Osweiler experiment was a complete disaster last season, and having better play from either Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson should help Fuller see the ball more this season.
Reader had a great rookie season for the Houston Texans last year. He put up 22 tackles and a sack last year, and played so well he ended up taking over the starting nose tackle spot from Vince Wilfork toward the end of the year. With Wilfork’s impending retirement, DJ Reader is poised to have an even bigger role on the Texans defense this season. Reader is a great run-stopper with surprising mobility for someone his size. The Texans front seven is so dominant that Reader should see a lot of one-on-one action against centers, which will give him ample opportunities to beat his blocker and make plays. Reader has an opportunity to emerge as one of the best nose tackles in the league this season and help make an already dominant defense even scarier.
Robert Nelson has been one of the most impressive players from OTAs this year, and seems poised to fill in for the hole AJ Bouye left in free agency this year. Nelson has been making plays all over the field in OTAs and should be a player to watch in the preseason. With the injury history Kareem Jackson, Jonathan Joseph, and Kevin Johnson have, it is certain the Texans will be asking a lot of cornerback Robert Nelson, and they hope he can give them similar results to AJ Bouye’s season last year. To add to the Bouye comparison, Robert Nelson decided this offseason to change his number to 21, and everyone on the coaching staff believes he can be the playmaker Bouye was for the Texans last year.
The Texans have plenty of young talent on both sides of the ball, and with a great coaching staff there should be a lot of players that make amazing improvements to their game going into the 2017 season. While we are still over a month away from seeing the Texans on the field, there is plenty of talent for Texans fans to be excited about. These three players should have opportunities to make large contributions for the Texans this season.
Source : http://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/which_houston_texans_will_make_the_biggest_improvements_this_season/s1_7899_24298189