Which Texans rookie has the highest Pro Football Focus grade?
Smart money would say the Houston Texans’ highest graded rookie would have to be either C.J. Stroud or Will Anderson. After all, the quarterback and defensive lineman went Nos. 2-3 overall in the 2023 NFL draft.
As some football fans now realize, that isn’t how Pro Football Focus grades exactly work.
According to Ben Cooper from PFF, the highest graded rookie from Houston’s nine-man class was actually former Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson, who the Texans grabbed in Round 6.
Hutchinson was the second-highest-graded draft-eligible wide receiver in 2022. He saw more targets (161) than any other FBS receiver and hauled in 14 of his 31 contested targets.
The 6-3, 210-pound wideout caught 107 passes for 1,171 and six touchdowns for the Cyclones in 12 games last season.
General manager Nick Caserio told reporters at the end of the draft on April 29 that Hutchinson was a classic case of a player who had forgettable pre-draft workouts, but his production on the field was undeniable.
“Good size, good toughness; really good with the ball in his hands, great practice player,” said Caserio. “I would say this is a classic example of a guy whose workout didn’t go great, but he’s a good football player, so he falls into that bucket. It’s a player the offensive staff thought highly of. As we were repositioning at that point, we were trying to see who are players you had decent grades on that you have some affinity for. That’s why we went ahead and made the pick with Hutch.”
If Hutchinson is able to get up to speed with the Texans’ offense, he could give Houston another big target to go alongside third-year receiver Nico Collins.
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