Isaiah Coulter Roster Profile
Isaiah Coulter was drafted by the Houston Texans with the 26th pick in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Coulter played his college football at Rhode Island, where he contributed for four years.
In this series we will examine:
- Coulter’s prospect profile from our small school expert Rebecca Rennie
- his productivity in college
- his potential opportunities in the NFL in the upcoming season
Pros: A relative surprise to declare early for the draft, but the potential evident in his film saw him extended a Combine invite. Coulter improved his production and impact each of his three seasons in college, showing continued progression as an ascending player. The Rams receiver excelled in his biggest showcase opportunity against Virginia Tech in 2019. He totalled 9 receptions for 152 yards against the Hokies. Coulter features a lean but toned frame with smooth all-round athleticism, including a good 4.45 dash time at the Combine.
Coulter’s film stands out for his consistent smart play, recognition, awareness and feel for space. He routinely takes advantage of open zones offered by the defense. His savvy play extends to taking on man coverage, positioning himself favorably relative to defensive backs. His ability across a variety of routes includes execution of digs, outs, slants, crossers, comebacks among others. He uses his hands well both in the initial phase of routes versus press and down the field when fighting for position against close coverage. Displaying strong hands, Coulter consistently makes plays outside his frame, including off-target throws, with good concentration in traffic.
Cons: While he proved his straight-line speed in his testing, Coulter doesn’t separate consistently on film. His route running could sharpen with some rounded route breaks and not always utilizing his burst to maintain speed as he redirects. His short-area quickness and overall change of direction skills are brought into question with his 7.28 time in the 3-cone drill at the Combine, one of the poorer results among wide receivers at the event.
Rebecca Rennie: “Instinctive and natural, Coulter has a great feel for the position. He offers inside-outside versatility, great positional and field awareness and no glaring holes in his game. Given that there is still some inconsistency and some lax execution, there’s likely further untapped potential to unlock. That gives Coulter upside to outplay his ultimate draft position.”
NFL Comparison: Rashard Higgins
Opportunities at the next level
Coulter lands in a fascinating situation with the Texans, whose wide receiver depth chart has been in some flux in the past few weeks. After trading away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they then brought in former first-round pick Brandin Cooks for a second round pick.
Additionally, they also added Randall Cobb to play the role of slot receiver in free agency this season. Those acquisitions give the Texans four talented options in Cooks, Cobb, Kenny Stills and Will Fuller, with Keke Coutee currently serving as the fifth option.
On initial viewing that depth chart does not make good reading for Coulter, who does not bring much to the table in terms of special team either. Getting on the field this year may be dependent on injuries, but first he needs to make the roster.
One thing that might be promising for Coulter is the contract situations of those five players. Cobb is tied to the Texans for at least the next two years, but his skill set is not a rival for Coulter anyway. Coutee is entering the third year of his rookie deal as a fourth round pick, so could easily be moved on. Fuller and Stills are both entering the final years of their deals, and while Fuller would carry a big dead cap if cut, Stills would cost nothing to cut before the season. Additionally, Cooks is entering the final year of guaranteed money on his deal, meaning the Texans could walk away for nothing next season. All of those permutations are good for Coulter in the long term.
The issue for Coulter will be concerns around his ability to get in and out of breaks effectively and off the line quickly could be sticking points for the Texans. He is certainly fast, but poor agility and explosion numbers at the combine will leave him with plenty to prove if he is to make the active roster, let alone the field in 2020 for the Texans.