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Steelers Analysis

John Metchie Could be Upside Add to Steelers WR Room

The Pittsburgh Steelers could look to add a wide receiver from the Houston Texans organization as part of their solution.

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Trade Target Houston Texans John Metchie III

The Houston Texans have Stefon Diggs on their roster, and that could open up one of the Texans receivers to be traded. But for the Steelers, if they want some upside, there is only one name that makes much sense to add to the room.

That would be former second-round pick John Metchie III, who has now been pushed to sixth on the depth chart by the Diggs acquisition. 

A 2022 second-round pick, Metchie missed his entire rookie season after tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship Game at the end of his college career in 2021 and then receiving a leukemia diagnosis the following May. Last summer, he was cleared to return to football after beating cancer, but was used only sparingly by the Texans. He caught 16 of 30 targets for 158 yards, and also played on Houston’s punt and kick return special teams units.

The Steelers have multiple needs at wide receiver after trading away Diontae Johnson and releasing Allen Robinson II at the end of the 2023 season. They have signed Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins into one-year deals but have remained in the market.

The Steelers checked in on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and have also showed interest in a number of top wide receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft class.

If they can not land one of those top targets, it makes sense for the Steelers to turn their eye to a rookie and someone who can at least project to give them upside. Metchie’s tape improved as the season went along and he started to get his gatherings. He is far from a sure thing, but what made Metchie so enticing coming out of Alabama still makes him intriguing now. Metfchie is a silky smooth operator in space who has real route-running chops. In addition, he has fantastic hands.

There are other things to work around with Metchie, such as the injuries and lack of proven production at this level. But if you believed him coming out of Alabama, there is not much reason not to believe in him now. In those limited viewings of Metchie, he operates well in space and creates separation through nuance. More importantly, he wins in the intermediate part of the field, making him an excellent fit for Arthur Smith’s play-action game.

For what it would cost to get him, it makes sense for someone like the Steelers to take a swing on Metchie. He’s a natural fit for their offense and can play both inside and outside. Obviously, if they can get more proven help, they should do it, but there are a lot of traits with Metchie that translated into his limited film last year, and that could make his future exciting.