I remember standing outside NRG stadium on Day Two of the NFL Draft. A black SUV limo pulled up about 50’ away from me and a young man climbed out of the back. He was tall, lanky, had long hair and some of the skinniest lower legs I’ve ever seen on a pro athlete.
It only took a second for me to realize I was seeing newest Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Will Fuller V, fresh off a jet and ready to meet the organization who just drafted him.
He had some injury concerns, but my mind immediately connected Fuller to my all-time favorite NFL receiver, fellow Notre Dame Fighting Irishman, Tim Brown. The future Hall of Fame Raider suffered a bad injury his rookie season, then recovered and went on to light the NFL world on fire as one of the best to ever play the game.
Fuller, I assumed, was about to do the same for the Houston Texans.
Unfortunately, unlike Brown, Fuller never overcame his injury bug and will likely never come close to a Hall of Fame ballot.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Texans grabbed another highly valued wide out with an injury concern in John Metchie III. In Brown’s day, a torn ACL was career ending. In more modern times, athletic surgeons can work wonders, often helping players return with seemingly no lingering effects whatsoever.
With team star Brandin Cooks, second year pass catcher Nico Collins, a rejuvenated run game featuring Marlon Mack and fellow rookie Dameon Pierce, second-year quarterback Davis Mills has all the opportunity in the world to prove the naysayers wrong and cement himself as the franchise quarterback in Houston.
If Metchie can fully recover, he’ll be part of that story.
A lot of time is spent (over) analyzing general manager Nick Caserio and head coach Lovie Smith. With Metchie, the litmus test will prove whether the Texans training staff and wide receiver coach can maximize potential, enhance talent and give the great city of Houston the caliber of player some say Caserio stole on draft day.
If Metchie could do all the things highlighted in this video, while operating in a Bill O’Brien offense, imagine what he’ll achieve under new Houston Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.