There's no real great way of saying this other than to say that the Texans' receiving corps struggled in 2022. Personnel losses have piled up since 2019 and it truly showed in the passing game success and overall offensive success, or lack thereof, throughout the 2022 season. The Texans were 25th in the league in passing yards per game for an offense that finished 31st in the league.
The Texans projected top three targets heading into the season missed a total of 28 games (out of a possible 51 - Cooks, Collins & Metchie III). Even though a number of receivers did step into the void, there was just not enough overall production. Consequently, it goes without saying that the Texans have a TON of questions that need answers in this receiver group in 2023. The one at the top is the most pressing, so let's start there.
Under contract, returning for 2023 (as of now)
Brandin Cooks - 2020 trade, 2022 re-signed contract - The $64,000 question is what will happen with Cooks. His future has been widely discussed in the football media world in, and out of, Houston. So, there's no telling whether Cooks will be part of the 2023 team or not. Regardless, he led the Texans in receptions and yards for the third straight season, but missed four games in the heart of the campaign.
2022 stats - 57 receptions, 699 yards and three TDs in 13 games
Nico Collins - 2021 third-round pick - Collins made key plays throughout the season at key times when he was healthy. The third-down catch he made at Jacksonville was arguably the best catch a Texan made in 2022. He has the makings of being a bona fide No. 1, but injuries have slowed him the last two seasons. Regardless of whether Cooks moves on to a new team, the expectations will certainly rise for Nico. That said, he has every ounce of the makeup of a No.1 WR for the Texans.
2022 stats - 37 catches, 481 yards and two TDs in 10 games
Amari Rodgers - 2022 waiver claim (Packers) - Rodgers played in just six games after he was claimed on waivers from the Packers. No one will forget the TD catch he had at Dallas, the first one of his Texans career. He seemed comfortable in the building and continued to find ways to contribute over the last third of the season. If he sprinkles in his return abilities in the future, the Texans could have a real gem in Rodgers.
2022 stats - 12 catches, 154 yards and one TD in six games
John Metchie III - 2022 second-round pick - Metchie entered the 2022 offseason unable to participate in OTA/minicamp as he rehabbed a torn ACL in the 2021 SEC Championship game. Then, he entered into the fight of his life as he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia just prior to training camp. As such, Metchie missed the entire season rehabbing and battling leukemia. Not the way that he wanted to spend his rookie campaign, obviously. That said, he was a constant figure in the building and will hopefully be on the field ready to roll in due time.
2022 stats - Missed season due to leukemia diagnosis
2022 Texans' Future Reserve Contracts - coming to camp in 2023 (at this point)
Johnny Johnson - Johnson, a rookie WR from Oregon, played in one game in week 18 in the win over the Colts. He had a strong start to his preseason campaign and that was instrumental in making the practice squad. I love that he's here to fight for a spot on the 2023 53-man roster.
2022 stats - No catches/targets in one game
Drew Estrada - The former Ivy League/Baylor Bear speedster was injured in camp and missed the entire campaign. Here's hoping that he can make it back healthy for the 2023 season.
Alex Bachman - Bachman came to the Texans after three seasons with the New York Giants. He didn't get an opportunity to make the game day roster but he signed a reserve/future contract back in January.
Jalen Camp - Camp was the Player of the Game in the first preseason win of the 2022 season and was active two times on the game day in the regular season. He's freaky athletically and has improved his game in the two seasons that he's been in Houston. He signed a reserve/future contract like Bachman in mid-January.
2022 stats - one catch for seven yards in two games
2022 Texans' unrestricted free agents - status unknown to this point
Chris Moore - When Moore came to the Texans in 2021, no one had any idea the impact that he would have on the Texans passing game in his two seasons. He was second on the team in 2022 with 48 catches, second on the team in receiving yards (548) and had two touchdowns. He was brilliant in the narrow defeat at Dallas and was consistent in every phase of the game, including special teams. I don't know what the future holds, but he would be the perfect piece to add to the 2023 receiver corps. So, we'll see what happens.
2022 stats - 48 receptions, 548 yards and two TDs in 16 games
Phillip Dorsett - Dorsett had a knack for making THAT catch in a big spot over the past two years. The over the shoulder catch at Jacksonville in 2021. The deep diving catch v. LA in the win in 2021. The sliding TD catch at Las Vegas in 2022. His speed is undeniable and his leadership was always valued.
2022 stats - 20 catches for 257 yards and one TD in 15 games
Available unrestricted free agents THAT MAKE SENSE
Like at RB, thinking about unrestricted free agents is tough in some sense, trying to find the right fit and the right money. This is NOT a tremendous star-laden free agent WR class and it's a deep draft class (without a JaMarr Chase Top Five type, though). As such, I wouldn't expect the Texans to put a TON of money in the WR free agent market.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots - Meyers' name has been brought up due to his FA status, Texans' need at the position and a connection to GM Nick Caserio. Meyers also was the most consistent receiver the Patriots had the past three seasons. At 6-2, 200, he's got the size to be an outside threat, but the skills to play inside at times as well.
2022 stats - 67 receptions for 804 yards and six TDs
Parris Campbell, Colts - He finally stayed relatively healthy in year four with the Colts and he flashed some of that explosiveness that we all raved about when he came out of Ohio State. He played in half of his career total games played in 2022, after missing 34 of 49 games from 2019 - 2021. If he can stay healthy, yes, that's definitely a big question, but if he can, he has some 4.3 40-yard dash type juice, which this Texans squad could certainly utilize.
2022 stats - 63 catches for 623 yards and three TDs
Mack Hollins, Raiders - Never a top receiver in the league, but always productive in Miami and Las Vegas, Hollins had a career season in Las Vegas. If the Texans don't bring back Chris Moore, Hollins would be a solid fit into that role.
2022 stats - 57 receptions for 690 yards and four TDs
JH Crush List - Rookies by Texans draft selection THAT MAKE SENSE
1st round - 2nd overall
1st round - 12th overall
Quentin Johnston, TCU (6-3, 208)
Jordan Addison, USC (5-11, 173)
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State (6-1, 196)
Zay Flowers, Boston College (5-9, 182)
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee (6-0, 176)
2nd round - 33rd overall
Josh Downs, North Carolina (5-9, 171)
3rd round - 65th overall
Marvin Mims, Oklahoma (5-11, 183)
Tank Dell, Houston (5-8, 165)
3rd round - 73rd overall
Rashee Rice, SMU (6-1, 204)
C.J. Johnson, East Carolina (6-1 ½, 224)
4th round - 103rd overall
Tyler Scott, Cincinnati (5-10, 177)
Jayden Reed, Michigan State (5-11, 187)
Dontay Demus, Maryland (6-3, 212)
Parker Washington, Penn State (5-10, 204)
Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss (6-2, 220)
Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia (6-1, 206)
Michael Wilson, Stanford (6-2, 213)
Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State (6-2, 203)
5th round - 136th overall
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia (6-4, 221)
Charlie Jones, Purdue (5-11, 175)
Jason Brownlee, Southern Miss (6-2, 198)
Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Fresno State (5-11, 172)
Trey Palmer, Nebraska (6-0, 192)
Rakim Jarrett, Maryland (6-0, 192)
6th round - 186th, 201st and 205th overall
Puka Nacua, BYU (6-2, 201)
Grant DuBose, Charlotte (6-2, 201)
Mitchell Tinsley, Penn State (6-0, 199)
7th round - 238th overall
Kaz Allen, UCLA (5-9, 175)
Devin Carter, NC State (6-3, 215)
Dallas Daniels, Jackson State (6-1, 180)