Isaiah Coulter Is Houston’s Darius Slayton
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Image Credit: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Darius Slayton.

In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.

The Houston Texans enter their first season since 2012 without DeAndre Hopkins. One unheralded rookie is looking to fill the gap, according to the RotoViz News Feed.

Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Isaiah Coulter’s “speed and fluidity” have stood out during training camp, says Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. Though not expected to have much of a role in 2020, the Rhode Island product could be looking at a key role in 2021, as Houston has multiple receivers entering the final year of their deal. If you’re a dynasty manager and you’ve got room for a dart throw rookie, Coulter has upside in a vertical Bill O’Brien offense next season. He shouldn’t be on the radar in redraft leagues right now.

Yeah, but should he be on the radar in redraft leagues though? Isaiah Coulter was drafted in the fifth round by the Texans, after putting up a 4.45 forty at the combine. Shawn Siegele pegged him as potentially 2020’s version of Darius Slayton. Coulter and Slayton were taken with the exact same pick in the NFL draft, and both possess sub-4.5 speed — Slayton is a little faster while Coulter is a little bigger.

Coulter’s Surprising Prospect Profile

Rhode Island, being an FCS school, does not show up in our tools, so Coulter is missing from the Box Score Scout. But he checks a lot of boxes. He broke out in 2019 with a 31% Dominator Rating and declared after his true junior season — a rarity for an FCS receiver. The fact that he was invited to the combine at all is in itself a strong signal. The fact that he did well enough to bring Robert Woods and Stefon Diggs into his top seven comps in the RotoViz Combine Explorer tells us the invite was warranted.1

I plugged Coulter’s numbers into a WR Prospect Lab model that relies on breakout age, draft position, athleticism, and final all-purpose yardage.

It returns some interesting comps. Well, interesting is putting it mildly.

Many of the players on this list did little in their rookie seasons. But the name directly below Coulter’s (HYPOTHETICAL) is by itself enough to make us take notice. A number of other players here had solid showings in their first three seasons.

The Opportunity in Houston

Now, Coulter is almost certainly not going to be the next Michael Thomas. Even the next Slayton is asking for a lot. But consider Houston’s WR depth chart. Will Fuller hasn’t played more than 11 games in any of the last three seasons. Brandin Cooks’ history of concussions places him at an elevated risk to miss significant time. It’s been five years since Randall Cobb last finished inside the top-24 WRs. Keke Coutee is currently sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. There may be ample opportunities for Coulter to see the field, and his collegiate profile suggests he could produce if given the chance.

This news probably isn’t enough to make Coulter start flying off draft boards, and I’m not suggesting you should draft him, apart from taking shots in the last round of best ball drafts.2 But as a college producer who declared early on a thin depth chart, Coulter is absolutely a player who should be on your redraft radar.

  1. Admittedly, the five names above those two don’t inspire much confidence.  (back)
  2. He’s been drafted in just a single FFPC best ball league this offseason, in the 27th round.  (back)

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Blair Andrews

Managing Editor, Author of The Wrong Read, Occasional Fantasy Football League Winner. All opinions are someone else's.

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