Houston Texans: is Xavier Hutchinson a dark horse candidate to start week one?

Houston Texans
Houston Texans / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages

The Houston Texans feature a bevy of wide receivers competing to crack the opening-day rotation. Robert Woods, Nico Collins, John Metchie III, and Tank Dell are all names trying to make their way into a prominent offensive role. Then there are the unheralded names. 

When scouring the Houston Texans sub-Reddit today, I found an exciting proposition courtesy of Reddit user u/n1texansfan. Could rookie Xavier Hutchinson carve out a starting role in a crowded wide receiver room? 

One of the standout rookie wide receivers at Texans OTA’s, the 2023 sixth-round pick has all the physical intangibles to succeed as an outside receiver. At 6’3” with a wide catch radius, Hutchinson has all the potential to not only emerge as a reliable red zone threat but provide an impact in the short and intermediate passing game. 

Hutchinson’s college numbers back up the hype around his receiving prowess. In a three-year career at Iowa State, the 23-year-old averaged 11.5 yards per reception and finished with nearly 3,000 receiving yards according to Sports Reference. These stats show that beyond the size and ideal red zone capabilities, Hutchinson is far from a one-trick pony as a receiver. 

That said, it is crucial to see how Hutchinson handles padded practices before assuming he can sneak into the starting lineup. This isn’t to say that the wideout is not talented, but with a bevy of options and the late-round investment, Hutchinson certainly has a hill to climb in order to be considered an immediate starter. 

While I don’t necessarily agree with the Reddit user that Hutchinson will break into the starting rotation he is an important piece to keep an eye on heading into training camp. Who knows, he may just do the unthinkable.

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