One of the fun exercises of the NFL offseason is to wonder what former superstars could help their teams in today’s game.
Some teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers have decades worth of players to choose from. Others such as the Houston Texans have barely two decades worth of franchise history, which makes the pickings slim.
Nevertheless the Texans have been able to produce two franchise legends in receiver Andre Johnson (2003-14) and defensive end J.J. Watt (2011-20). Which one could help the Texans in 2023?
According to Sam Monson from Pro Football Focus, Johnson would be able to quickly elevate rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud’s game, and makes sense as the choice.
Johnson often seemed overlooked in favor of other receivers during his career, but he twice led the league in receptions and yards, amassing more than 14,000 receiving yards and 1,000 catches over his career. At his best, he was arguably the best receiver in the game for a stretch despite less-than-elite quarterback play. Houston drafted its quarterback of the future just weeks ago, and giving him Andre Johnson to play with would be a great addition.
Another reason Johnson was the selection was due to stipulations in the PFF exercise wherein picking recently retired players was frowned upon.
Even in the abstract, having Johnson would solidify who is the No. 1 receiver on the roster. Johnson also proved the ability to thrive in a Kyle Shanahan type of system as the majority of his Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and league-leading seasons were during Gary Kubiak’s tenure (2006-13).
The Texans don’t have a Johnson on the roster. However, they do have some options that could potentially blossom in third-rounder Tank Dell and sixth-rounder Xavier Hutchinson. Stroud also has a younger veteran to build connection with in Nico Collins, who embarks upon his third season.