Will Fuller isn’t the first name people think of on the Houston Texans offense, but he could be their key to a breakout season.
Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are the two most talented players on the Houston Texans offense. That doesn’t mean they’re the most important. The ability of Will Fuller to develop into a top wide receiver could be the difference between a good Texans offense and a Super Bowl caliber group.
Fortunately, the early reports from Houston’s training camp about Fuller are universally positive. Coach Bill O’Brien believes the speedy wideout has “really good potential” in the Texans’ offensive scheme. The offensive-minded coach admits that it takes receivers a few years to fully develop, and that means this season could be Fuller’s breakout campaign.
Fuller’s efforts in training camp are getting the attention of his teammates as well. New acquisition Tyrann Mathieu believes the former Notre Dame star has “great top-end speed.” That’s quite a compliment from the Honey Badger.
It’s imperative that Fuller increase his production from 2017. He only managed 28 catches for 423 yards in 10 games last season. The team hope that improved health is in the offing for Fuller, but he also needs to increase his production on a per-game basis.
If he can stay healthy, he should be capable of doubling those totals. Fuller benefits greatly from having DeAndre Hopkins lining up on the opposite side of the field. He should see single coverage on the vast majority of downs. Teams will correctly key their coverages towards keeping the ball away from Hopkins.
One on one, there aren’t many defensive backs in the league who have enough speed to handle Fuller on the outside. The fact that he’s an underrated route runner should also work in his favor. He’s not just a speed guy. Fuller has drastically improved his ability to effectively run the NFL route tree over the past two years.
The final key for Fuller, and the rest of the Texans offense will be Watson’s health. His ability to break the pocket and keep his eyes down the field should provide a lot of big play opportunities for Fuller. The receiver’s speed to get behind the defense is only amplified when everyone is making adjustments on the fly. Look for him to break down the field when Watson runs to the edge.
The Texans have a lot of big health questions heading into 2018, but that’s not what Will Fuller is up against. He needs to improve his craft and production in NFL season number three. If he makes the leap many believe he can, it could help the Texans make a deep playoff run.