6 Reasons Lestar Jean Will Emerge as Houston's No. 3 WR
Of all the receivers competing for the final starting job behind Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, three stand out above the rest.
DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin, both of whom were selected by the Texans in the recent NFL draft, are clearly slated to be two of the main competitors for the third receiving job.
There is another athlete, however, who may be more poised to emerge as the team's No. 3 receiver. Lestar Jean, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011 out of Florida Atlantic University, has all the hype surrounding him as the 2012 season fast approaches.
Lestar "Big Play" Jean was a training camp star last season; he seemed primed to emerge as major contributor for Houston and perhaps eventually replace the incumbent Jacoby Jones.
Then, unfortunately, Jean suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing for the rest of the season.
Now, as the competition intensifies between Jean, Posey and Martin, is it possible for Jean to make the jump from undrafted rookie to being a starter?
Here's why Jean will win the third and final starting job.
Lack of Depth and Talent
Behind Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, the depth at the wide receiver position for the Texans is made up of young, inexperienced players.
Many, including Lestar Jean, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin, have yet to play a single snap in the NFL.
This is a huge advantage for Jean, as he has much less qualified players to compete with, and those that will be obstacles for him have yet to prove themselves as capable starting NFL receivers, like Jean himself.
Posey, the team's first selection in the third round of the NFL draft, has been terribly inconsistent in minicamp so far, which is encouraging for Jean, as Posey is his biggest competition for the job. While minicamps are not the most accurate tellers of a player's ability, it is all we have to go by currently.
Furthermore, it is troubling to see that Posey's play has been inconsistent, as it may show that having his final season at Ohio State shortened severely by suspension could have negatively affected his ability to perform at a consistent basis.
While Keshawn Martin's athleticism has been impressive during OTAs, he does not yet have the skills to be a starting receiver in the NFL. His size and abilities are common of those of a slot receiver, but Martin has a ways to go if he wants to succeed in the NFL in the slot. He is fearful of making plays over the middle, something that every slot receiver must do, and his pass-catching ability is deeply affected when defenders are closing in on him.
The Texans' lack of depth and talent at the receiver position just might give Jean the opportunity to take the third wideout job as his own.
With Andre Johnson currently sitting out of practice with a knee injury, Lestar Jean is taking all of his snaps with the first team.
And he has not disappointed.
Jean seems to be continuing his hot streak just where he left it, and he is yet again being described as virtually uncoverable in practice.
The biggest highlight of OTAs so far for Jean is when he managed to streak past a double team of Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning to catch an extremely long reception.
Until Johnson finally returns in healthy form, Jean will continue to get the opportunity to display his talents by playing with the first-team on offense and against all of the defensive starters.
While it may be downright ridiculous to say that a shortened training camp and one game of preseason counts as having NFL experience, it actually does apply in the case of Lestar Jean.
Despite his limited experience in the NFL, it is miles ahead of what his main competitors currently have.
His extra year with the team has already given him the chance to familiarize himself with the Texans offense, memorize the playbook and start to build a relationship with quarterbacks Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates.
This will allow Jean to get a jump-start on his competition, whose only experience in the NFL has been in the Texans' minicamp, which is essentially a glorified walk-through.
Lestar Jean is a pure athlete.
Standing at 6-3 and weighing in at 205 pounds, Jean has the size to be placed among the large class of receivers, which will allow him to outmatch almost any cornerback in the NFL size-wise.
Despite only possessing an average 4.52 40 time, Jean's speed is incredibly deceiving. He hits his top speed very quickly, which allows him to accelerate at an extremely fast rate. This gives Jean the ability to shake-off defenders quite easily, as they have trouble adjusting to his rapid rate of acceleration.
Jean also possesses another athletic ability that could give him an advantage over any cornerback and safety. In addition to his tall height, Jean also has a more than adequate vertical jump.
His size and high vertical give him the opportunity to out-muscle and out-jump any defensive back for almost any 50/50 ball.
While Jean must improve his route-running ability and his tendency to drop passes while taking a hit, his athleticism certainly gives him an edge over his competitors.
Lestar Jean has been one of the hardest working players at the Texans' practices so far.
Not only is he using every last ounce of his strength to impress his coaches at practice, he is also taking the time to mentally prepare himself to win the starting job, as well.
He constantly presses the Texans' superstar receiver, Andre Johnson, for information as to how he can improve.
Johnson went on to say this about Jean: "He’s always up on me, asking me this, asking me that. Wondering how I do this, wondering how I do that."
The Texans' wide receivers coach also described Jean as an incredibly determined worker:
"The kid has really put time in as far as preparing himself. He has engulfed himself in the offense. He knows all three positions. His attention to detail is excellent."
Jean's conviction to succeed has already impressed his coaching staff, and it will only give him more of an opportunity to emerge as the team's final starting receiver.
There's a reason why Jean is garnering so much offseason hype currently.
Jean broke out in training camp last year, and his performance in the offseason was both impressive and surprising.
The former undrafted free agent went on time and time again to completely embarrass even the Texans' most skilled defensive backs.
Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who shut down the opposing teams' No. 1 wide receivers all year long last season, had difficulty keeping up with Jean. He was constantly getting burned by Jean, and the feeling shared among all of the Texans' cornerbacks was that Jean was uncoverable.
Jean then took his training camp performance onto the field in the Texans' first preseason matchup against the New York Jets.
He went on to haul in two receptions for 20+ yards, and he finished with a total of 53 yards in the game.
As soon as it seemed that Jean was beginning to peak and high expectations were being placed on him, he suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on the IR.
Now, Jean's astounding and accomplished performance in training camp last season will give him an edge over his competition to claim the third receiving slot.