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Steelers Analysis

Texans Become Team Steelers Should Call for WR Help

The Pittsburgh Steelers have new trade options coming from the Houston Texans that they should explore in the coming months.

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Trade Target Houston Texans John Metchie III

The Houston Texans have Stefon Diggs on their roster, which could open up one of the Texans receivers to be traded. After trading for Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek on Thursday, the team now has a glut of eight or so receivers that will not all make the roster. There will be one or two of those players who will not make it at the end of the day. The Steelers’ trade options are plentiful in this situation.

Do you want someone with an upside? 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. Maybe someone they re-signed but has some flexibility to be moved? Noah Brown. Perhaps even a veteran can provide blocking and a certain floor? Robert Woods. The Steelers trade options range across the spectrum in Houston. But let’s throw Brown to the side since he re-signed with Houston. That would leave Woods and Metchie. 

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, Scotty Miller, and Quez Watkins into one-year deals but have remained in the market. But the Steelers trade market is not one that is active right now, with most of the candidates tied up in contract situations.

The Steelers checked in on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and have also showed an interest in other top names like Courtland Sutton.

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. Of the Texans options that I would say are realistic, I think Metchie makes sense. 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.