The Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans face off in the opening game of this year’s NFL playoffs. The surprising (due to last year’s performance and the youth of the team) AFC South champions versus the surprising (due to injury after injury after injury) top Wild Card team in the AFC with a better record.
The Browns and Texans will be linked for a while unrelated to this game. The trade of QB Deshaun Watson from Houston to Cleveland would have been a huge story if Watson was healthy for Saturday’s game. Instead, QB Joe Flacco leads the Browns.
The two teams also connected for another trade in 2022. Holding the 44th overall selection, their first due to the Watson trade, Cleveland traded down with the Texans. The Browns received three draft selections in return. Houston selected WR John Metchie III with the 44th pick.
Cleveland’s haul of picks turned into three players:
- CB Martin Emerson
- K Cade York
- DT Perrion Winfrey
At the time of the draft, Winfrey was seen as the prize of the three, York was seen as a reach due to his position but was the “best kicker in the draft” while Emerson was mostly unknown.
Fast forward to the Wild Card round of the 2023 NFL season and Emerson is one of the better young cornerbacks in the league, York has bounced around teams and Winfrey has struggled to find a new team after being released. Emerson’s young career is made easier by being with Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II.
For the Texans, Metchie missed his rookie season due to Leukemia. That alone makes him a success but the receiver is starting to find his footing again on the field. With 16 receptions for 158 yards, the Alabama product is finding his place in Houston’s offense while also returning to full health.
NFL trades are hard to judge. The Browns would have loved to get more out of York and Winfrey while the Texans are hoping Metchie can return to the player that deserved to be drafted high in the second round.
All in all, a trade that is starting to work out for both teams but Emerson’s production in his first two seasons gives Cleveland the edge.
How would you grade the trade now between what the Browns are getting from Emerson and the Texans are getting from Metchie?