With the underwhelming play of the Houston Texans tight ends, Austin Hooper from Stanford should be in play during the draft
It’s no secret the Houston Texans tight end class is less than stellar. The best performer of the group was Ryan Griffin, who wound up with 20 receptions for 251 yards and two scores in just nine games.
With the lack of performance it’s time for Houston to again look for some talent in the draft. One potential player for them could be Stanford tight end Austin Hooper, who is set to enter the draft after just two seasons with the Cardinals.
As a redshirt freshman, Hooper recorded 499 yards on 40 receptions and added two touchdowns. In 2015, the sophomore caught another 34 passes for 438 yards and six more touchdowns.
At 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, Hooper doesn’t have ideal height for the tight end position. He does however have long arms which help him sustain blocks better than other tight ends his height. He also has solid weight for the position and can become an even better blocker should he add strength as he continues to mature.
Hooper is the second rated tight end in the draft according to CBS Sports, where his route running and soft hands are applauded.
"Hooper’s combination of size, strength, athleticism and soft hands made him a versatile weapon in Stanford’s offense and he should be able to maintain this positional flexibility in the NFL, projecting best as a “move” tight end or H-back initially while he gains strength to handle in-line blocking duties. While perhaps not as polished as scouts would prefer, Hooper’s upside could generate Day Two consideration in another weak class overall at tight end."
The sophomore player is a hard runner after the catch and isn’t afraid of contact. While he may not be ready to step in and start immediately, he has all the skill needed to become a starter in the league. With just two years experience in the NCAA, there’s plenty of room for him to grow still.
With the tight end class being very poor this year, Hooper may be gone by the end of round two. For the Texans it could be worth considering to finally have a legitimate starter at the position, even if it takes a year or two for him to develop into that role.