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Value of Things: Houston Texans Roster Jigsaw— Wide Receivers

Are the wide receivers the weakest unit on the team?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans wide receiver room could be one of the more pivotal units next season. No one is going to confuse them for one of the best units in the league, but they could potentially be anywhere between average and the worst in the league. It depends on how good the newcomers are and how quickly the group adjusts to the new offensive system.

Quite simply, the numbers for the guys returning aren’t confidence inspiring. They traded away their number one receiver and really didn’t replace him with anyone with a similar pedigree. It will have to be a combination of players that step up to give C.J. Stroud someone to throw to.

As per usual, we will be using PFF scores in addition to the conventional numbers. We will divide them into veterans and first year receivers. 13 different receivers are on the 90 man roster in advance of training camp. Odds are that half of those will be back on the streets come September.

PFF Scores of 80 or above— Perennial Pro Bowl player or College All-American

PFF Scores 70-79— A solid college or pro starter

PFF Scores 60-69— Somewhere between Rotational player and solid starter

PFF Scores Below 60— Rostered player or special teams performer

Veteran Wide Receivers

Noah Brown— 43 catches, 555 yards, 3 TDs, 59.5 PFF, 867 snaps

Brown had his best year as a pro last season in Dallas. He is probably best cast as a fourth or fifth wide receiver in a good offense. He was consistently single covered based on the more dangerous targets in Dallas. Those talented guys aren’t in Houston yet, so he will have to create more on own.

Robert Woods— 53 catches, 527 yards, 2 TD, 68.0 PFF, 810 snaps

He has always been one of the best blocking receivers in the game. As recently as 2021 he was a force in the NFL. A torn ACL ended a promising 2021 season and last year was a lost year in Tennessee. Is he better than this or is this really who he is late in his career?

Nico Collins— 37 catches, 481 yards, 2 TD, 72.4 PFF, 441 snaps

He has the best grade of any veteran wide receiver on the roster. Yet, all we continue to hear are excuses over why he is not producing. A part of it has been health, but he is not a go to wide receiver on a roster without go to wide receivers. This might be the story of the entire position group.

Steven Sims— 14 catches, 104 yards, 0 TD, 55.0 PFF, 284 snaps

This is a mean thing to say and it has nothing to do with Sims per se, but I really hope he doesn’t make it onto this roster.

Amari Rodgers— 16 catches, 204 yards, 1 TD, 62.1 PFF, 268 snaps

He is a shade better than Sims. He had his moments, but those moments were pretty fleeting. Like Sims, I am hoping the younger guys are good enough to beat him out for a roster spot.

Jalen Camp— 67.0 PFF grade, 21 snaps

Who is this guy? You need enough camp bodies to have a second and third string unit. He shouldn’t be seen on Sundays once Labor Day hits.

Johnnie Johnson— 54.8 PFF, 9 snaps

See: Camp, Jalen.

First Year Wide Receivers

Tank Dell— 109 catches, 1398 yards, 17 TDs, 83.5 PFF, 871 snaps

He graded out like an All-American and produced like one too. The universe bends towards guys that produce and Dell produces. People worry about his size and relatively frontline sprinter speed, but he is football fast and football elusive. He is probably a niche guy going forward, but could be an exciting guy to watch when he does touch the football.

Xavier Hutchinson— 107 catches, 1171 yards, 6 TDs, 89.7 PFF, 676 snaps

He was the second best rated wide receiver who was draft eligible this year. That’s not bad for a sixth rounder. Again, give me production over excuses about why someone didn’t produce. He might not be better than Nico Collins as a pro, but that’s still good for a sixth round pick.

John Metchie— 96 catches, 1142 yards, 8 TDs, No PFF, No Snaps

The numbers were his numbers at Alabama. It remains to be seen how Bobby Slowik will get Dell and Metchie on the field at the same time. That’s what those guys get paid the big bucks. Metchie isn’t nearly as explosive as Dell, but he should be about as productive.

Jared Wayne— 60 catches, 1063 yards, 5 TDs, 79.9 PFF, 786 snaps

He might be a little more of a down the field threat than the other guys. Making a roster is a lot about production, but it’s also about finding a niche. If there are no other deep threats then he has a shot.

Jesse Matthews— 45 catches, 508 yards, 3 TD, No PFF, No snaps

When you carry more than 12 receivers you know half will not make the roster. Matthews is likely one of those guys, but you can find really good players in unusual places, so let’s see what he does.

Alex Bachman— 37 catches, 541 yards, 6 TDs, No PFF, No Snaps

He has been around awhile but has never stuck anywhere. Barring something drastic, the same thing will happen again.

The Final Verdict

You cannot completely rebuild a team in one offseason. All the cap room and draft capital in the world will still yield holes. This is one of those holes. If you dropped a top 10-15 wide receiver on this team you might be looking at a wild card contender. If someone emerges great, but otherwise this will become a 2024 problem.