I have to admit, Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft was kind of fun, given the fact the Texans had no first round pick. The Texans' absence yielded a much more relaxed viewing experience. That said, by Friday night, I was ready for the Texans to begin adding to their roster again.
With no second round pick,thanks to the Brock Osweiler trade last year, the Texans were forced to wait until the early part of the third round to finally make their first section in this draft. Ultimately, they held onto and made all three of their third round selections, and by the end of Friday night, they came away with three players who will, at the very least, push the starters in front of them in camp, and I think at least one, maybe two, will secure starting jobs.
Let's get to the picks, in order....
JUSTIN REID, Safety, Stanford (6-1, 207, 68th overall pick)
Depending on where you get your pre-draft scouting reports, Reid was rated by many to be anywhere from a late first to an early third round pick, so the Texas were able to nab to the All-Pac 12 safety at the bottom end of his draft window. Reid fits the O'Brien/Gaine code of versatility, having spent time at cornerback, nickel, and safety in his time at Stanford. For the Texans, he likely projects as a center field, free safety type that should push Andre Hal for a starting role in Romeo Crennel's defense. For what it's worth, Reid's older brother is free agent safety Eric Reid, who some believe is being shunned in free agency because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem alongside Colin Kaepernick.
MARTINAS RANKIN, Offensive lineman, Mississippi State (6-4, 308, 80th overall pick)
We knew one of the three third round selections would be an offensive tackle, and Rankin has significant recent experience at left tackle, with 19 starts over the last two seasons, although many of the draft analyst types project him as a better prospect inside at guard. With the Texans, I have to imagine that they see Rankin as a tackle, or else they'd have looked in a different direction with this pick. His arm length (just under 34 inches) is why NFL types see him as more of a guard. Those are short arms for the position.
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#Texans GM Brian Gaine on OT Martinas Rankin (@MTRankin_57), taken with their second pick in the third round: "He was a starting left tackle in the SEC. So my hope is he'd have the ability to do that." pic.twitter.com/BfLDfB5iMe— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 28, 2018
JORDAN AKINS, Tight end, UCF (6-3, 249, 98th overall pick)
With the retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz and the shaky health from season to season of Ryan Griffin, Akins projects as a potential immediate impact player at tight end. Originally a baseball player coming out of high school, Akins spent four seasons in the Texas Rangers minor league system, before turning to football at UCF. Originally a receiver, he added some beef to his frame to become a tight end, and he turned himself into a threat down the seam, catching a pass of 20 yards or more in nine of 11 games last season. Akins will come in as a 26-year-old rookie, but the last time the Texans went down this road with a tight end was with James Casey, and that worked out fairly well for the Texans.
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