Top 5 WRs: No. 5 – Andre Johnson

Outside of Andre Johnson, the Houston Texans WR corps is like that drunk of a cousin who keeps promising you that he’s about to turn the corner to sobriety. But since you’ve been fooled before, your skepticism runs rampant. After finishing 8-8 for what seemed like seven years in a row (but was actually only the ’07 and ’08 seasons), the Texans finished a combined 22 -10 the last two seasons. Both times, reaching the postseason and winning their opening game against the Bengals. In order to grab the next bar on the success ladder, they’ll have to come stronger next year. This is a squad without a lot of obvious weakness – that is, outside of the receivers. Every year, football fans expect them to develop another guy to help Johnson, and every year, they fail.

That has to frustrate Johnson; he’s been a top-notch dude his whole career. Last year, he casually dropped a 112-reception, 1598-yard season and it barely made the news. That’s because he’s one of those consistently consistent dudes. He’ll do it again this season, even though the popular sentiment is that his motor is slowing down. The upcoming ’12-’13 season will be his 11th, and at age 32, it’s only natural that he’ll begin his descent from All-Pro to just good to dunzo. He still has plenty left and because he relies on more than athleticism, his game won’t suffer the obvious decline reminiscent of some of his peers.

For one, he’s a great route runner and pass catcher. Tight turns, strong hands and field awareness will keep him amongst the best WRs in the game for a minute. He’s the kind of receiver who, when the ball is coming his way, won’t lift his hands up until he has to, frustrating and confusing corners who are trying to read his body language. He also remains a big target. Coming in at 6´3 and a chiseled 230, he’ll muscle a dude if need be, and will fight for 50-50 balls on a regular. He’s a quintessential “just throw it up and let him make a play” dude and his ability to impact opposing secondaries allows Arian Foster and the rest of the Texans offense to put big points on the board. If the Texans could only bolster him with an accompanying threat, Houston might have a real chance at an extended postseason run in what looks to be a watered down AFC.

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