It’s been some time since the Houston Texans had a slot receiver capable of wreaking havoc on an opposing secondary. That could all change this season following the addition of 2013 sixth-round pick Alan Bonner, formerly of Jacksonville State.
During the Texans’ rookie minicamp, Bonner did nothing but impress anyone who was lucky enough to see him play. With deceptive speed and quickness, he put on a show for coaches while giving opposing defensive backs fits as he used his precision cuts and fluidity to make plays.
Some are concerned that the transition from a small school like Jacksonville State will hinder his maturation as an NFL receiver, but Bonner is already showing the polish that the Texans are looking for from the sixth-round pick. So much that he could see the field early in his rookie season.
“I think there’s a big upside here,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told HoustonTexans.com. “There’s a big step for him to take from where he’s coming from, but he’s gonna get a great opportunity with us. We’re so young at wide receiver, there’s gonna be plenty of reps to go around, and I think this kid’s got some special stuff to him. We’ll just sit there and work with him, but I think he’s got a chance to help our football team.”
When OTAs begin, Bonner will compete with Keshawn Martin, a 2012 fourth-round pick of the Texans, for the starting slot receiver gig. Martin showed some promise last season, hauling in 10 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, but failed to nail down the starting spot. Bonner should give him the necessary push to either bring out the best in him or send him down the depth chart.
Bonner also provides intrigue as a potential return specialist. While he wasn’t exactly a dynamic return man at Jacksonville State, he has the quickness and agility to compete for the role in Houston.
The Texans were looking for speed, flash and versatility when they took Bonner and they found it. With a mentor like Andre Johnson at his disposal, it shouldn’t be long before the sixth-round pick becomes a household name.
You want a hidden gem? Well sorry, but the Texans already found it.