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Texans Brandin Cooks on Rookie WR: 'That Kid’s Special'

John Metchie III has already caught the attention of Brandin Cooks despite being limited in OTAs

HOUSTON -- Give it time, Houston. John Metchie III will be taking the field soon enough and contributing to the Texans' offense as a hopeful long-term receiver in the slot. 

Metchie, Houston's second-round pick, is still recovering from his torn ACL suffered in the SEC Championship in December. When drafted 44th overall, the former Alabama receiver said he would be working drills hopefully by July. 

From a skill standpoint, Metchie remains much of an unknown. That hasn't stopped teammates from gushing over his upside and what he can bring the to the offense once clear for contact. 

“That kid’s special, you can just tell it," receiver Brandin Cooks said Tuesday following voluntary OTAs. "You know when you talk with someone, you just get that feel about a guy. The way that he goes about his business, obviously right now he’s not going with us, but his focus and paying attention to the little details that he can pay attention to, I like him and I can’t wait to get to work with him, for sure.”

John Metchie III
John Metchie III
John Metchie III

A two-year starter for Alabama, Metchie was never known for his athletic traits. Instead, he was all about technique. Much like former Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, Metchie worked more on enhancing his route-running and ability to win after the catch rather than his speed. 

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Splitting reps with first-round receiver Jameson Williams, Metchie was part of a trio that eventually would win the SEC and face off against Georgia for the national title. His 96 catches were a team-high and placed him eighth among all FBS receivers. For the season, he averaged 11.9 yards per catch and recorded eight touchdowns. 

"As you look, the guys that aren’t getting reps, they have something going on," Texans coach Lovie Smith said. "If a guy’s getting a few reps, we’re kind of easing them back into full competition.”

The Texans believe that Metchie could compliment the production of Cooks and second-year receiver Nico Collins when healthy. His high-volume of targets provides quarterback Davis Mills a third option across the middle of the field that will keep offensive drives alive, thus moving the chains and keeping the clock rolling. 

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Brandin Cooks

Houston lacked a consistent No. 2 weapon opposite Cooks in 2021. Last fall, the six-time 1,000-yard receiver tallied 90 receptions off 136 targets. Collins finished second with 60 targets and only 33 catches. Chris Moore, the team's de facto No. 3 receiver, recorded just 22 catches off 37 targets. 

The Texans will continue voluntary OTAs throughout the next two weeks before mandatory minicamp begins on June 14.