The Houston Texans made a move on Sunday that had been expected since the trade deadline during the 2022 season. The team unloaded Brandin Cooks on the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for two late draft picks. While the deal jettisons a malcontent, it also leaves the Texans in a precarious position. They did add Robert Woods and Noah Brown in free agency, the wide receiver room may leave a lot to be desired.
As we have done with the other position groups on the team, we are looking at the receivers in advance of the draft to determine how needy the Texans might be. Building a championship roster is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, You cannot fill every hole in free agency, but you can fill some. Do Robert Woods and Noah Brown change the calculus any?
Pro Football Focus has grades for every position group. We will look at the overall grades, receiving grades, and run blocking grades for the wide receiver group. Players rate between 20 and 100 in the different categories. An overall grade of 50 or higher means they probably should be on a roster, but not in the starting lineup. Grades higher than 60 mean a player is a borderline starter. Grades higher than 70 mean that a player is a solid starter. Grades higher than 80 mean the player might be a Pro Bowl performer.
The Current Guys
Noah Brown (FA) — 867 snaps, 59.5 Overall, 61.2 Receiving, 44.4 Run Blocking
Noah Brown was a part-time receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. So, the Cowboys essentially traded Brown and two late picks for Brandin Cooks. He had 41 catches and three touchdowns a season ago. The grades are not overwhelming, but if you want a reserve receiver that can fill in on occasion then you could do a lot worse.
Robert Woods (FA)— 810 snaps, 68.0 Overall, 66.0 Receiving, 76.4 Run Blocking
Woods added 53 receptions and two touchdowns last season with the Tennessee Titans. Woods obviously experienced great success with the Rams, but it has been a few seasons since that happened. The difference between Woods and Cooks comes without the football. Woods has always been a very dedicated blocker. Does that make him a number one receiver? Of course not. It does mean the Texans running game may improve some.
Nico Collins— 441 snaps, 72.4 Overall, 72.0 Receiving, 63.1 Run Blocking
Will Nico Collins ever be anything more than a second or third wide receiver? Hopefully 2023 answers those questions one way or another. The overall production leaves a lot to be desired, but there are glimpses of what he is capable of. Does he look better with a better quarterback? Does he look better with a qualified play caller? It seems unlikely he will ever be a WR1, but he was also a third round pick. If he could be a solid WR2 then it would be a huge win.
Amari Rodgers— 268 snaps, 62.1 Overall, 64.1 Receiving, 54.8 Run Blocking
Is Rodgers anything more than a reserve? The results were somewhat encouraging in limited time. Of course, starting wide receivers are usually not available as street free agents. The good news is that he isn’t being paid like a starting wide receiver. The presence of John Metchie might make him expendable in the end and if he gets cut it really is no skin off of Caserio and company.
Simply put, the Texans do not have a good to wide receiver. A number of people have projected wide receiver to the Texans at number twelve. If that happens and they pick the right guy then this offense could look very good overnight. If they don’t get that guy then the offense could continue to struggle for another season until they are able to find that guy somewhere.