Keke Coutee Will Be A Breakout Wide Receiver in 2018

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via John Weast/Stringer

The Texans have a history of drafting efficient wide receivers, with picks such as DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller currently giving more than enough return on investment. Hopkins is one of the best receivers in all of football and Fuller is a dangerous player who can put up monster plays at a moments notice.

The next player to bring this type of production to the Texans offense will be former Texas Tech wide receiver and fourth round pick Keke Coutee. And this is fitting because his selection was announced by none other than Texans receiving legend Andre Johnson.

Coutee stands at 5’10”, 180 pounds, and is known for his blazing speed, a talent that had him recruited by programs such as Texas, Oklahoma, and and Louisville coming out of high school. But instead, the Lufkin, Texas native decided to attend Texas Tech, a school that has produced star receivers such as Michael Crabtree and Wes Welker.

At Texas Tech, Coutee shined as a starting wide receiver and kick returner. At receiver, Coutee caught 148 passes for a whopping 2,319 yards and 17 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons. He was particularly efficient his junior year, with his 1,429 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns both ranking fourth in all of college football.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2015 Texas Tech Big 12 FR WR 5 11 105 9.5 0 0 0 0 11 105 9.5 0
2016 Texas Tech Big 12 SO WR 12 55 890 16.2 7 3 2 0.7 1 58 892 15.4 8
*2017 Texas Tech Big 12 JR WR 13 93 1429 15.4 10 5 15 3.0 0 98 1444 14.7 10
Career Texas Tech 159 2424 15.2 17 8 17 2.1 1 167 2441 14.6 18

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table

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He was also a dangerous punt returner, averaging 31.5 yards per return and once taking a punt to the house for a touchdown. This outstanding college career led to Coutee forgoing his senior season at Texas Tech and declaring for the NFL Draft.

This decision took him to the NFL Combine, where he impressed scouts with his blazing 4.43 second 40-yard dash and 4.15 second 20-yard shuttle, which ranked seventh and fifth among all wide receivers. He also recorded a 34.5 inch vertical and bench pressed 225 pounds 14 times.

Keke Coutee is a from Lufkin, Texas, a two hour drive from Houston (David K. Purdy/Getty Images).

While he continued to build his draft stock, Coutee worked out privately with Houston Texans assistant and former Texas Tech Aggies receiver Wes Welker. These private workouts, coupled with the fact that Coutee has the makings of a dangerous slot receiver, led to Texans general manger Brian Gaine selecting him with the 103rd overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Now that he is on the Texans, Coutee will compete for against the likes of Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington. But I’d argue that this won’t be much of a competition, as Coutee’s natural speed, elusiveness, and solid hands will easily land him the slot receiver job.

This explosiveness was not seen by last season’s starting slot receiver Braxton Miller, whose abysmal 47.0 grade ranked 94th among wide receivers on Pro Football Focus. Bruce Ellington was even worse, with his 46.7 grade ranking 97th among wide receivers. It is not much of a question as to whether Coutee will be the Texans slot receiver, but when.

And when he does file into the slot, Coutee will become a force to be reckoned with and will become a breakout receiver in 2018. This is because in college, Coutee always required extra attention from safeties as his natural speed and elusiveness repeatedly led to him gaining separation from defenders. But now that he is on a Texans team with weapons like Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins, safeties will be forced to take their attention off of Coutee and towards one of the best wide receiver duos in football.

With less attention being focused on him, Coutee will be open constantly, and quarterback Deshaun Watson will start to feed him on short routes throughout the season. The type of usage I see Coutee getting this season due to his speed could be end up being a pint-size version of what Jarvis Landry has done for the Miami Dolphins the past four seasons.

Jarvis Landry is one of the best slot receivers in football, amassing 400 catches for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns over his four seasons with the Miami Dolphins (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports).

Although Landry is far more involved in his offense than Coutee will be with the Texans, mainly because players like Hopkins and Fuller are still getting the largest share of targets, I nonetheless expect Coutee to get a fair share of looks on short routes.

Overall, the sky is the limit for Keke Coutee, so hopefully he can capitalize on his potential and provide another deadly weapon for Deshaun Watson.

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