The Houston Texans entertained a visit with free agent wideout Jaydon Mickens yesterday. Why would they be interested? Here’s the potential impact.
The Houston Texans are now two days past free agency being opened and although they were able to ink safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Bradley Roby, there’s a lot left to be desired in terms of moves that could make this team even better.
Fans expected for the Houston Texans to make a splash with the extra money they had in the coffers this season but the same mantra of winding the purse strings as tightly as possible with building through the NFL draft remains the mantra of choice for this franchise.
It’s certainly a prudent strategy but not necessarily one that’s going to get this team to next level of trying to get to the Super Bowl. I certainly would love to see this team at least get to one — let alone win it — but with the way the Houston Texans continue be nonchalant of the proverbial clock ticking is unacceptable.
Deshaun Watson is going to have a inexpensive contract for just a few more seasons before he’ll command a lion’s share of the cap space and J.J. Watt doesn’t have much longer before he trots off in the sunset, likely starting his career and ending it with the Houston Texans.
But enough of my ranting, it’s time to talk about a interesting visit that the Houston Texans entertained yesterday.
According to the Chron’s Aaron Wilson, free agent wide receiver Jaydon Mickens visited the Houston Texans yesterday.
One may wonder why the team is wanting to bring in another receiver but the key component of Mickens is that he reeks of the creed of being versatile. These are the type of players that Bill O’Brien likes and he could bolster the team’s roster.
The Houston Texans are tapping into the Jacksonville Jaguars well of talent once again and Mickens’ calling card is his ability to contribute to the special teams unit.
With the addition of veteran coach Brad Seely to replace the beleaguered Larry Izzo as the special teams coordinator, this unit has flourished in an almost worst-to-first fashion.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Houston Texans special teams yielded a 71.7 grade, which is good for 8th in the league for the 2018 season. In contrast, the Texans were ranked 28th with a horrid 58.5 grade back in 2017.
Seely has turned around this unit immensely and he wants to make it even better than it already was last season. They took a terrific step by re-signing the offensive swiss army knife DeAndre Carter to a one-year deal for $570K but the fact that Mickens is available is certainly something the team should rightfully check into.
Mickens, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Washington, is going into his third
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season in the NFL and has only caught six balls for 77 yards as a receiver.
But he has returned 39 punts for 346 yards — including one touchdown — averaging 8.9 yards per punt over the past two seasons for the Jags.
Although the 24-year-old did not return much kicks for the Jags back in 2017, he returned six kicks for 149 yards, averaging 24.8 yards per return. Kick returns are becoming a thing of yesteryear as rule changes are further inclined to protect ball carrier from further risk of concussions but it’s good to know that he has these abilities as well.
PFF gave him a 58.9 overall grade in special teams last season including a 54.8 on kickoffs and 56.7 on punts through 90 snaps. Although it’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement, they obviously feel that he can bring something important to this team.
But when you compare Carter and Mickens, there’s no question that Carter is the better option. PFF’s grade line for Carter in 2018 was 77.4/59.6/82.2.
If Mickens signs with the team, he’ll have an opportunity to compete in camp but I wouldn’t say he’s a lock to make this roster as it wouldn’t make sense to carry both Mickens and Carter when both are specialists at the same thing.
This is an important development to keep and eye on and I certainly will continue to do so.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.