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Two Young Texans WRs Worth Monitoring Following Houston’s Stefon Diggs Trade

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The Houston Texans made huge news Wednesday morning by acquiring WR Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills via a trade. On the heels of that happening, fans of other NFL teams are left wondering if there might be a current wide receiver or two on the Texans who ultimately won’t be in the team’s 2024 plans. At first blush, the futures of wide receivers Robert Woods, John Metchie III and Xavier Hutchison all seem to suddenly be in question.

Of Woods, Metchie, and Hutchinson, the first is probably the least exciting when it comes to long-term aspects. After all, Woods will turn 32 years of age on April 10 and on top of that, he’s scheduled to earn $6,455,882 in 2024. That’s way too much for most teams to pay when it comes to him specifically. It’s certainly too much for a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers to pay. On top of everything else, Woods is likely to wind up being cut at some point before the start of the 2024 regular season so teams can just wait and see if that happens.

Moving past the unappetizing, older Woods leads us to Metchie next. Remember him? The Texans selected him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He’s had a rough start to his NFL career and that includes him sitting out his entire rookie season after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. While Metchie did return to play in 2023, he only managed to register 16 receptions for 158 yards on 30 total pass targets and in just 310 total offensive snaps played.

While Metchie’s value is really at a huge low right now, the Texans might not be in a hurry to trade him just yet, even with them just acquiring Diggs via a trade. After all, Diggs, 30, is no spring chicken at this point and NFL teams can never have too many young wide receivers on their depth chart. All of that noted, it wouldn’t be totally shocking to see Metchie wearing another team’s jersey come the start of the 2024 regular season. For whatever it’s worth, the Steelers did attend the 2022 Alabama Pro Day. Even so, they are usually heavily represented at every Alabama Pro Day annually.

Really, Metchie might not ever live up to his draft pedigree of a second-round selection but even so, there also still might be a little meat left on that proverbial bone when it comes to him. After all, he did catch 151 passes for 2,058 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Alabama. He still has two years left on his rookie contract as well so he’s uber-cheap at $1,438,652 for 2024. It will certainly be interesting to see what transpires with him now that the Texans have acquired Diggs.

While Metchie has the higher pedigree between he and Hutchinson, the latter might be more of what the Steelers could use to fill out the bottom of their 2024 wide receiver depth chart and especially if they spend a Day 1 or Day 2 selection on the position less than a month from now. While not flashy overall, Hutchinson did appear to somewhat have the collective eye of the Steelers a year ago. He was a Senior Bowl attendee last spring and both GM Omar Khan and HC Mike Tomlin attended the 2023 Iowa State Pro Day, for whatever that’s worth.

Hutchinson is a bigger receiver than Metchie and he’s more in the mold of a big slot type. He can block, contested catch some, gain yards after receptions, and even contribute on special teams. As a rookie last season with the Texans, Hutchinson recorded two special teams tackles to go along with eight total receptions for 90 yards on 19 total targets. He also played just 281 total regular-season offensive snaps for the Texans in 2023 to go along with 127 more on special teams. All of that noted, he was a sixth-round selection last year for a reason. His ceiling isn’t overly high, but he is the kind of wide receiver who might best fit a number three, four or five role in Pittsburgh with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith now in town.

The Steelers have already added two veteran wide receivers in free agency this offseason in Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins but even so, neither are viewed as special team dynamos nor quality number two wide receiver candidates. Basically, neither are guaranteed to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster later this summer and so it wouldn’t hurt to add more and younger competition for them both to battle as the offseason progresses.

Personally, it’s hard seeing the Steelers trade for either Metchie or Hutchinson as we sit here with less than a month to go until the 2024 NFL Draft. If, however, the Steelers were interested in trading for either of those two wide receivers at some point moving forward, hopefully the compensation offered would be extremely low. In the case of Hutchinson, specifically, he, much like Woods, might wind up getting released before the start of the 2024 regular season.

In closing, it will be interesting to see what the Texans wind up doing with their wide receiver depth chart now that it features Diggs. That depth chart also includes wide receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell, who combined to register 127 receptions for 1,906 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2023. Even former undrafted free agent wide receiver Noah Brown caught 33 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns in 2023. That Texans wide receiver room looks to be loaded now and thus several in that room currently under contract will likely be jettisoned by the time Week 1 rolls around.

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