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Top 5 Wide Receivers in Houston Texans History

Top 5 Wide Receivers in Houston Texans History
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Andrew Harner

Former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson walks onto the field before becoming the first player inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Honor during the 2017 season.

Who Are the Greatest Texans Wide Receivers of All Time?

The wide receiver position has produced some of the best players in Texans history. Since the franchise first took the field in 2002, Houston has worked to establish offensive firepower by drafting four receivers in the first two rounds of the draft, including a second-rounder in 2002 and a first-rounder in 2003. In addition to using the draft, Houston has built its offense with players who joined via free agency.

Selection Criteria

  • Legacy Honors (Hall of Fame, Ring of Honor, retired number, etc.)
  • Single-Season Honors (MVP, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, etc.)
  • On-Field Success (league leader, playoff appearances, records, etc.)
  • Longevity (years with Texans, percentage of career with Texans, etc.)

Only games played with the Texans are factored into this list, so while Eric Moulds would be a great player to include on a list about the Bills, his one season with 557 yards and one touchdown in Houston won’t make the cut here. I’ve also excluded players who were established as tight ends (e.g., Owen Daniels).

In addition to the top five wide receivers, I’ve also listed a handful of honorable mentions, trivia and statistics from every 900-yard receiving season in team history.

5. Corey Bradford

  • Years With the Texans: 2002–05

When the Texans first took the field in 2002, they leaned on a rookie quarterback in No. 1 draft pick David Carr, but they also brought on veteran wide receiver Corey Bradford to help get the offense moving.

Bradford came to Houston for his fifth NFL season, and he is credited with scoring the second touchdown in franchise history. That 65-yard connection broke a 10–10 tie with the Cowboys and helped propel the Texans to a 19–10 victory in their first game. As a former Packer, Bradford brought the famed Lambeau Leap touchdown celebration to Houston after scoring.

That was the start to Bradford’s finest season as a pro—he set career highs in receptions (45), yards (697) and touchdowns (6), while leading the team in yardage and TDs.

In 2003, the Texans used their first-round draft pick on Andre Johnson, who would emerge as the team’s No. 1 receiver through 2014 and reduce Bradford’s production. Still, Bradford proved reliable, missing just one game over four seasons. He left Houston with 130 catches for 1,992 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Corey Bradford’s Statistics With the Texans

Texans receiver Will Fuller leaps to make a catch against the Colts in the 2018 season.

4. Will Fuller

  • Years With the Texans: 2016–Present
  • Playoff Appearances: 2016, ‘19

Will Fuller has yet to play a full season with the Texans, but when he is healthy, he has proven he can be an elite receiver. Injuries, however, have kept him from establishing himself among the league leaders, as he’s played in just 65 percent of games since entering the NFL.

In August 2017, Fuller broke his collarbone during practice, causing him to miss the first three games of the season. A year later, he missed the season opener with a hamstring injury. Later in the same season, during a Week 8 matchup against the Dolphins, he suffered a torn ACL that ended his season. His hamstring acted up again in 2019, and he also sustained a groin injury at the end of that season.

In 42 career games, Fuller gained at least 100 yards eight times—including the first two games of his career—as well as a 14-catch, 217-yard showing against the Falcons in 2019.

Since the Texans traded away DeAndre Hopkins, Fuller has been elevated to the top receiver for the 2020 season. If he remains healthy, he could be in line for a breakout season after posting career highs for receptions and yardage in 2019. Thus far in his career, Fuller has 156 receptions for 2,231 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Will Fuller’s Statistics With the Texans

3. Kevin Walter

  • Years With the Texans: 2006–12
  • Playoff Appearances: 2011–12

Over the first four years of his career, Kevin Walter didn’t have much offensive production. He gained just 456 yards and one touchdown over three seasons with the Bengals and his first with the Texans. But in his second season in Houston, he became an integral part of the offense and maintained that role until he was released following the 2012 season.

His first breakout game came in Week 6 of the 2007 season, when he snared 12 passes for 160 yards. After that, he remained a regular piece of the offense as a complement to leading receiver Andre Johnson, and he posted back-to-back seasons with at least 60 catches and 800 yards.

Though he only had three 100-plus-yard games in his career, he made up for that with consistency. He never missed more than two starts in a season. In addition, in 93 games between 2007 and ‘12, he failed to make a catch in just seven of them. He ended his Texans career with 326 catches for 4,083 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Kevin Walter’s Statistics With the Texans

Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins celebrates after gaining a first down against the Chiefs during the 2019 season.

2. DeAndre Hopkins

  • Years With the Texans: 2013–19
  • Playoff Appearances: 2015–16, 2018–19
  • All-Pro: 2015, 2017–19
  • Pro Bowl: 2015, 2017–19

DeAndre Hopkins was drafted to be a playmaker for the Texans, and he became just that during his seven seasons with the team. A first-round draft pick in 2013, Hopkins immediately fell into a starting role for Houston, launching a brilliant stretch of seasons to become one of the finest receivers in the NFL. He was almost always on the field (missing just two of 112 regular-season games and adding all six of Houston’s postseason games), and he was always making plays (he caught at least one pass in every game for the Texans and gained more than 100 yards in a game 30 times).

In 2015, Hopkins became the top receiving option for Houston and immediately proved he was up to the task by scoring 11 touchdowns to break the team’s single-season record. By the end of his tenure, he had secured the top three entries in that category. When he scored a touchdown for five straight weeks in 2017, he became the only player in franchise history ever to do so, and he repeated the feat in 2018.

Hopkins was traded to the Cardinals prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, but he left behind a legacy that saw him catch 632 passes for 8,602 yards and 54 touchdowns—including five 1,000-yard seasons and three 100-catch seasons.

DeAndre Hopkins’ Statistics With the Texans

Former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson works as a special advisor to the head coach during Houston’s 2019 training camp.

1. Andre Johnson

  • Seasons With Texans: 2003–14
  • Playoff Appearances: 2011–12
  • All-Pro: 2006, 2008–09, ’12
  • Pro Bowl: 2004, ’06, 2008–10, 2012–13
  • Legacy Honors: Texans Ring of Honor

By combining a lasting legacy with superstar status, Andre Johnson is who I consider to be the undisputed top receiver in Texans history. Some would go even further and say he is the greatest player, regardless of position, in franchise history.

Over most of his 12 seasons, Johnson gave the team a reliable receiving threat who had more receptions and gained more yards than any other NFL receiver between 2003 and ‘14. He did all that despite missing significant portions of the 2007 and ‘11 seasons. His career totals with the Texans include franchise records with 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns.

Johnson’s career took off from the start, but he saw a big breakout in 2008 after recovering from a knee injury that caused him to miss seven games early in the 2007 season and the majority of 2008’s offseason workouts. He was healthy for the entire 2008 regular season and led the NFL with 115 receptions for 1,575 yards, and he added another 101 catches for an NFL-best 1,569 yards in 2009. A pair of hamstring injuries cost Johnson much of the 2011 season, but once again, he recovered and had a season to remember. In 2012, he set the single-season team record with 1,598 yards, and he also posted 273 yards in a game against the Jaguars for another franchise record.

In 2013 the Texans drafted DeAndre Hopkins. As Hopkins emerged as a superstar, it became clear that Johnson’s role in the offense would be reduced. This led to Johnson’s release before the 2015 campaign, but he did sign a one-day contract in 2017 to retire as a Texan. Months later, he became the first player inducted into the Texans Ring of Honor, and Johnson will be eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame starting in 2022.

Andre Johnson’s Statistics With the Texans

Honorable Mentions

The following are a handful of players who left an indelible mark on Texans history, but didn’t quite crack the top five. I’ve listed them in chronological order.

Jabar Gaffney (2002–06)

In the first two rounds of their first NFL draft in 2002, the Texans were focused on their offense. After taking quarterback David Carr with the No. 1 pick, Houston made wide receiver Jabar Gaffney the top pick in the second round, hoping to pair the two players for years to come. Gaffney would prove to be reliable—he never missed a game in four seasons with the team—but he never developed into a superstar. In a single season, he never gained more than 632 yards. All together, Gaffney had 171 catches for 2,009 yards and seven touchdowns, and he remained in the NFL another seven seasons.

Andre Davis (2007–09)

Andre Davis closed out an eight-year career with three seasons in Houston. There, he was primarily a kick returner, but he also helped out the offense. He returned three kicks for touchdowns to lead the league in 2007—including a brilliant showing in the season finale when he returned a kick 97 yards for a touchdown 15 seconds before halftime and then returned the second half’s opening kickoff 104 yards for another touchdown. He returned 108 kicks in his Texans career for a franchise-record 2,743 yards, and he is also credited with the single-season franchise record for yards per reception after gaining an average of 17.7 yards on each of his 33 receptions in 2007.

Jacoby Jones (2007–11)

The main role Jacoby Jones played for the Texans came as a kick and punt returner, but he also stepped in to help solidify the receiving corps. Jones was drafted in the third round in 2007, and he posted 34 returns and 15 receptions as a rookie. He had two punt returns for touchdowns the following season, and then he had all 11 of his receiving touchdowns over the next three years. In total, Jones had 243 returns for 3,310 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught 127 passes for 1,471 yards.

Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller runs by Pittsburgh’s Sean Spence during a 2017 game. Miller is one of eight receivers Houston has ever drafted inside the top 100 picks.

Texans Wide Receiver Trivia and Stats

The following is a look at some Texans wide receiver trivia, receiving records and individual statistics for every 900-yard receiving season in franchise history.

How Many Wide Receivers Have the Texans Drafted in the Top 100?

Houston has drafted eight receivers with a pick inside the top 100 selections.

  • 2016: Will Fuller (No. 21)
  • 2016: Braxton Miller (No. 85)
  • 2015: Jaelen Strong (No. 70)
  • 2013: DeAndre Hopkins (No. 27)
  • 2012: DeVier Posey (No. 68)
  • 2007: Jacoby Jones (No. 73)
  • 2003: Andre Johnson (No. 3)
  • 2002: Jabar Gaffney (No. 33)

What Are the Longest Receptions in Texans History?

The five longest receptions in Houston’s history all gained at least 78 yards. Each of the receptions went for a touchdown, except for the longest passing play in team history.

  • 81 yards: Corey Bradford (Oct. 13, 2002)
  • 80 yards: Jacoby Jones (Nov. 13, 2011)
  • 78 yards: Arian Foster (Nov. 13, 2011)
  • 78 yards: Foster (Oct. 23, 2011)
  • 78 yards: Bradford (Sept. 7, 2003)

Texans Receiving Records

Below are prominent records among wide receivers that are contained in the franchise record book:

  • Career Yards: 13,597, Andre Johnson (2003–14)
  • Single-Season Yards: 1,598, Johnson (2012)
  • Single-Game Yards: 273, Johnson (Nov. 18, 2012)
  • Career Touchdowns: 64, Johnson (2003–14)
  • Single-Season Touchdowns: 13, DeAndre Hopkins (2017)
  • Single-Game Touchdowns: 3, Hopkins (Oct. 8, 2017); and Johnson (Nov. 3, 2013)
  • Career Receptions: 1,012, Johnson (2003–14)
  • Single-Season Receptions: 1115, Hopkins (’18); and Johnson (’08)
  • Single-Game Receptions: 14, Johnson (Nov. 18, 2012)

Texans Receivers With 900 Yards in a Season

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