NFL DRAFT

Long wait might have paid off for Texans as they fill three key needs in third round

Justin Reid should make an impact in Year 1 for the Texans. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We all know why Friday night is when the Texans got their first crack at the draft board, so I’ll spare you the story. What I will say is that new GM Brian Gaine did a bang-up job with what he had.

Despite speculation that he might package a combination of mid-round picks to move into the back of the second round, he decided to stay put and pick the best players on the board. Kudos, Sir. Sometimes you just need to accept the hand you’re dealt and not throw away the future because of it.

With the 68th pick in the draft, the Texans chose Stanford Safety Justin Reid. They followed that by selecting Martinas Rankin with the 80th pick from Mississippi State to play on the offensive line. They wrapped up their night with another solid choice at pick 98; Central Florida tight end Jordan Akins.

All three picks addressed an immediate depth need for the Texans, but Justin Reid will probably be the only one to have a legitimate shot at significant playing time.

Rankin could easily slide inside for the Texans and will have a chance to compete, but the experienced veterans will most likely beat him out for a starting spot. His flexibility will be useful as he develops into a full-time role inside in the coming years. The Texans do hope he can play left tackle.

Akins is a perfect example of a late third round pick. He has a lot of upside but is in serious need of development. If the Texans can figure out how to use him right he has plenty of playmaking ability as a receiver, but will be a liability in the run game. He won’t be an every-down player like they want but he adds depth and potential to a huge area of need. Oh, and his speed and size should be useful in another area of need: special teams.

Considering the circumstances, this is a great start to the draft for the Texans. Three areas of need have been addressed in the best way they can by taking talent where the value is and not reaching because they didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds.

This looks to be a departure from the previous years of ineptitude in the middle rounds of the draft and Texans fans should be optimistic. There are still five more picks for the Texans to make on Saturday, but if Friday night is any indication then it might be a sunny day in Houston.

 

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