HOUSTON -- Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio said during the pre-draft process that injuries wouldn't derail his thought process on adding in a certain player. Most connected the dots to Alabama receiver Jameson Williams, a speed threat that had been mocked to the Texans at No. 13 for quite some time.
Right school, wrong receiver.
The Texans elected to trade back into the second round to select Alabama's John Metchie III with the No. 44 selection. Metchie's final season at Alabama cemented him in the conversation of potentially being a first-round selection, but a torn ACL hampered his draft stock.
A month after Metchie suffered a season-ending injury, Williams tore his ACL. That didn't stop the Detroit Lions from trading up to select him at No. 12. It didn't stop Houston from sending three picks to the Cleveland Browns to secure their guy.
"Some of the things that he did at Alabama and some of the things he endured and played with, just no normal people would do it," Caserio said Friday evening. "This guy's level of toughness is exceptional. He was a really, really productive player for them and has some position versatility."
Metchie never thrived in college due to speed to athleticism. He won with consistency. Instead of banking on making defenders miss with a 40-time in the 4.2's, he elected to hone in on his craft with precision and timing.
It paid dividends for the Crimson Tide in 2021 opposite Williams. One receiver was known for his big play ability. The other was known for his high volume success in the passing attack. The 5-11, 190-pounder led Alabama with 96 catches —eighth nationally and second in the SEC behind only Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson.
John Metchie III
"There's a standard in Alabama, especially for Alabama football receivers," Metchie said. "It's just an honor to be able to be one of those guys."
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Metchie told reporters that he should be ready to begin drills starting in July. Caserio isn't banking on that. Then again, he isn't opposed to letting his future No. 2 receiver work drills before the start of training camp if he's healthy.
There isn't a timetable on Metchie. When he's ready, he ready. That also was a factor that went into Caserio's process in terms of trading up.
"I wouldn't put too much stock in what he said," Caserio said. "I think when he is ready, he is ready. Whenever that is, it is. We're not going to rush or push him. When he is ready and physically able, we feel that it's the right thing to do, then he will be on the field."
Consistency is key for a No. 2 receiver. It's something that Metchie hopes to bring the to table with the second-year quarterback Davis Mills. He understands that chemistry in practice leads to consistency in games.
The Texans are banking on that element of Metchie's game, having seen him adapt to the style of multiple different quarterbacks, including Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Heisman winner Bryce Young.
"Knowing your quarterback allows you to run routes, the timing, how you have to get open," Metchie said. "I think just that history will allow me to work with a new quarterback and build that trust with form some new chemistry".
John Metchie III
Houston has used five picks in the first 75 picks — two offense, three defense, all expected future starters. The Texans have selected in the top 75 twice in the last two drafts.
The job is not done with Metchie and Green on offense. It is expected that Caserio will add a tight end, running back, and potentially receiver or offensive lineman. He'll have five more picks to do so, starting with No. 107 in the fourth round.