There are two things NFL teams value the most when it comes to building a winning team: a franchise quarterback and draft picks. Only in rare circumstances can a team have prolonged success in today’s league without a signal caller in the upper echelon. The is they are incredibly hard to find and when a team does, they are even more expensive to keep.
That’s why teams value draft picks so heavily. They offer cheap, young talent to build around the $100 million quarterback. It’s why talent like Jimmy Garoppolo, now the highest paid player in the history of the NFL, are often traded for second-round picks at most.
For the Houston Texans, they gave up a lot of draft capital in last year’s draft to trade up and select Deshaun Watson. The Clemson quarterback proved to be a steal for Houston in the five games he played in before going down with a season-ending injury.
So while some could find it difficult to praise the moves Houston made in this year’s draft given they didn’t pick until the third round, picking Watson checked off the biggest priority on every team’s list.
The Texans finally were on the clock on day two of the NFL Draft in Dallas on April 27 with the 68th pick and took safety Justin Reid out of Stanford. While this may seem puzzling given the signing former Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu earlier in the offseason, Reid was thought by many to be a second-round level player with some even mocking him late in the first.
Reid has some issues with his feet and hip fluidity in order for him to succeed at a high-level but his positives vastly outweigh his negatives. His skill set allows him to line up essentially at any position in the secondary and is aggressive both in tackling and going for the interception. The rest of the Texans draft was mostly spent on bolstering the offense to help Watson when he eventually returns to the field. 12 picks after taking Reid, the Texans drafted Martinas Rankin, an offensive lineman from Mississippi State.
Rankin played tackle in college but will likely pan out more as a center for Houston and most NFL scouts agreed he has good potential to develop into a future starter.
Houston filled out their offensive needs by taking UCF tight end Jordan Akins and Texas Tech receiver and Lufkin native Keke Coutee in the third and fourth round respectively. While Akins was one of the better athletes at the tight end position in this year’s class, he does have health concerns.
Coutee fills the slot position for the Texans and likely won’t grow into anything more than that but it does fill a need that is especially important with a young quarterback.
The Texans spent the rest of their draft picks on Wake Forest linebacker Duke Ejiofor, Mississippi State tight end Jordan Thomas, Stanford linebacker Peter Kalambayi and San Jose State corner Jermaine Kelly.
As is usual with late-round picks, none figure to make an immediate impact for the Texans and will mostly contribute on special teams if they make the final roster come August.