If you asked Houston Texans fans, the best pick of the draft would vary anywhere between quarterback C.J. Stroud or defensive end Will Anderson, both taken at Nos. 2-3 overall in the 2023 NFL draft. Even third-round receiver Tank Dell would be a third-party candidate given his appeal to Clutch City sports fans for the past two seasons.
If you asked Chris Trapasso from CBS Sports, sixth-round receiver Xavier Hutchinson from Iowa State was the Texans’ best pick of the draft, even going so far as to earn Houston an A-minus grade.
Was the obvious No. 1 at Iowa State this season and thrived despite the attention. Well-rounded more so than someone with a specialty. Rebounder type in the red zone and for being a bigger wideout, he’s fun after the catch.
Hutchinson has size at 6-1, 203 pounds. The former 2022 first-team All-American is another big-body target for Stroud to look for in the red zone along with Nico Collins.
General manager Nick Caserio pointed out that Hutchinson was productive in his final year with the Cyclones with 107 catches for 1,171 yards and six touchdowns through 12 games. However, the pre-draft workouts presented a different perception.
“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,” said Caserio. “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.”
The sooner Hutchinson can develop cohesion with Stroud, the quicker he should be able to see playing time and make an impact for Houston.