But since Collins is my breakout crush Texan for next year and I'm taking off work tomorrow let me talk about him a bit.
To start, no I don't actually think Collins is currently on the level of DJ Moore, Hopkins, Cooks, or even Kirk so I'm not saying that.
But I don't think I'm going overboard on the excuses. Looking at the Texans nobody produced on this offense, including Brandin Cooks who is a good WR. Brandin Cooks was going for 53ypg last year Nico was second on the team with 48. Next was Chris Moore with 34. This was a team with a bad QB, below average oline play, and a bad OC. Those may be excuses but they're also facts.
Looking at production around the league he's also not as far off as you might think. He was ranked 43rd in YPG among WR's which would put him as an above average #2 WR. He's not in terrible company, DJ Moore for instance had 52 YPG, Deebo Samuels had 48, DJ Chark had 45, and Adam Thielen had 42. And all those guys I mentioned with the exception of DJ Moore had the advantage of having good OC's calling for them and good QB's throwing to them which is something Nico Collins has not had yet. Go back and watch the games, he's had significant chunks of yards taken off the board because we had a QB who cannot consistently deliver the ball when he gets open.
I like to point to two plays from the beginning of the season to show what I mean. The Texans last play on offense in week 2 and a play during Week 1 towards the end of the game. The week 2 play vs the Broncos was 4th and 16, under 2 minutes, Texans driving down the field to try and tie the game and go to OT. Collins gets open on 4th down, on the sideline, past the first down marker and Mills misses him. Could have been a first down and kept the game going but Mills misses.
The second play is from week 1 vs the Colts with about 4.5 minutes left to go. Texans are up 7 and driving to try and put the game out of reach. It's a 3rd and 8 at midfield a first down allows us to maybe score and win the game but at least either take all the Colts timeouts or run the clock down another 2 minutes. Collins is open past the first down marker on the back shoulder, Mills tries to hit it but sails it over his head. Texans punt, game eventually ends in a tie. Those are big moments where you need playmakers to step up and Collins did and we just didn't have a QB that could deliver the ball.
Those are just 2 early examples from when I did a film watch on Collins there are plenty of other examples of him getting open and the QB just missed. I'd estimate from what I watched that in the 10 games Collins played in 2022 he probably had 150 yards left on the field from QB misses. He's better than the numbers show and I think we'll see that come out if we can get a competent OC and QB to work with him.