The 2021 season can't get here fast enough. 17 games. Three preseason tilts. It's time to get this thing ROLLING in a hurry. In those 17 regular season tilts, the Texans will face their share of legends and emerging stars so I sat down with all 14 rosters and the schedule to put together another unique version of the Harris 100 - the best players the Texans will face in 2021.
Without specifically ranking them as I do for the NFL draft (Rams star Aaron Donald would be number one if I did do that), I came up with the top 100 players the Texans will face and a handful of Honorable Mention names to watch as well. I will break this into position groups over the next couple of weeks and today it's time for the pass catchers - wide receivers and tight ends (in chronological order when the Texans face each player).
A few quick "By the Numbers" notes on the 2021 Top 100 pass catchers from the 2020 season…
5 - former first round receivers in this pass catching group (Hop, Will V, OBJ, D.J. Moore, Julio)
20 - Total pass catchers make up this group
4 - 100+ receptions seasons in 2020 (Hop, Diggs, Lockett, Allen)
7 - 90+ receptions seasons in 2020 (Anderson, Kupp, Woods + four mentioned above)
3 - 1,300+ receiving yard seasons in 2020 (Diggs, Hop, DK)
20 - Total receiving touchdowns from Seattle pass catchers on this list (DK, Lockett)
Alright, let's roll. These are pass catchers that made the Harris 100 - the best players the Texans will face in 2021:
Bold - Pro Bowl in 2020
* - 1st Team All-Pro in 2020 (AP, Pro Football Writers, Sporting News)
** - 2nd Team All-Pro in 2020 (AP, Pro Football Writers, Sporting News)
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland (Week 2)
Missed nine games in 2020; his return should take the Browns offense to a different level.
23 receptions, 319 yards and three touchdowns in just seven games in 2020
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland (Slot - Week 2)
Held it down without OBJ and is the Browns' soul without question
72 receptions, 840 yards and three touchdowns in 2020
Robby Anderson, Carolina (Week 3)
Speed kills and Anderson can fly. He's back with his pal Sam Darnold in 2021.
95 receptions, 1,096 yards and three touchdowns in his first year in Carolina in 2020
D.J. Moore, Carolina (Week 3)
He can also fly and is ultra-dangerous all over the field.
66 receptions, 1,193 yards (18.1 ypc) and four touchdowns in 2020
**Cole Beasley, Buffalo (Slot - Week 4)
The perfect piece in the Buffalo offense for Josh Allen. Tough. Competitive. Plenty of wiggle.
82 receptions, 967 yards and four touchdowns in just ten starts in 15 games.
*Stefon Diggs, Buffalo (Week 4)
The trade to Buffalo took the Bills offense to a completely different level.
127 receptions, 1,535 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (Week 6 & Week 12)
Against the Texans is the key here because he kills them all the time.
97 receptions, 1,718 yards and 11 touchdowns in 18 games v. Texans in his career
**DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona (Week 7)
115 receptions, 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in first year in Arizona in 2020
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (Week 8)
When healthy, he's a problem. A massive problem. Hands. Routes. Speed.
10th in NFL in receptions per game - 6.1, ahead of Tyreek Hill, Amari Cooper, Terry McLaurin
Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (Week 8)
Had just two fewer catches than Kupp and roasted the Texans in 2017 in Los Angeles.
90 receptions for 936 yards and six touchdowns in 2020 for the Rams
Will Fuller V, Miami (Week 9)
You already know.
Averaged 16.6 yards per catch in 2020 and reeled in eight touchdowns in just 11 games
A.J. Brown, Tennessee (Week 11 & Week 18)
Two biggest catches against the Texans in 2020 were made by guess who?
70 receptions, 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020.
Julio Jones, Tennessee (Week 11 & Week 18)
**I included Julio on my Harris 100 a week before he was traded, knowing that every team that was rumored to trade for Jones was seemingly on the Texans schedule. Tennessee pulled the trigger so now we see him twice in 2021. Yuck.
51 receptions, 771 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games in 2020
**D.K. Metcalf, Seattle (Week 14)
How good has the former 2nd rounder become.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle (Week 14)
The long held rumor is that the Texans wanted to draft him in 2015 but Seattle ended that dream.
8th in NFL with 6.3 receptions per game, caught 100 of 132 targets (75.8% of targets caught)
(Only two receivers had better percentage with 132+ targets in 2020)
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (Week 16)
Steady, dynamic route runner and reliable as the sun setting in the West.
100 receptions, 992 yards and eight touchdowns with rookie quarterback at helm in 2020
DJ Chark, Jacksonville (Week 1 & Week 15)
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (Week 17)
Austin Hooper, Cleveland (Week 2)
The Browns' forgotten key receiving threat was an excellent Andrew Berry signing in 2020.
3.5 receptions per game in 13 starts/13 games, four receiving touchdowns in first year in CLE
Jonnu Smith, New England (Week 5)
How happy I was to see him leave Nashville? Very. But, I hate that we still see him in week 5
Eight receiving touchdowns on just 41 total catches in 14 starts/15 games
Hunter Henry, New England (Week 5)
Missed last matchup with Texans but in rookie season, he had a TD catch in a Chargers W.
Best statistical reception season in 2020 - 60 receptions (also 613 yards and four touchdowns)
George Kittle, San Francisco (Week 17)
One of the three standard bearers at the tight end position and an all-around threat.
Third in the league in receptions per game for a tight end (6.0), only played eight games
The Texans hit the Houston Methodist Training Center on Wednesday during the third week of OTAs.