Texans address needs in third round of 2018 NFL Draft
The Houston Texans managed to address some needs during the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft. Houston selected a safety, tight end and an offensive tackle during the third round. All three selections address areas of need. This is an excellent strategy for a team that was without a pick in the first two rounds of the draft.
Justin Reid – Safety
While the Texans have two productive players at the safety position, they do have their share of issues. Tyrann Mathieu has suffered from injuries recently and is only a one-year deal. Andre Hal was relatively average in 2017. By selecting Justin Reid the Texans now have a player who could potentially take the starting position from Hal or move to the other safety position after this season if the Mathieu deal does not work out.
Houston struggled against the pass in 2017 and acquiring more defensive backs can only help them in this department. Bringing in Reid can only help their cause and hopefully improve this unit. As a player Reid needs to work on his recognition skills but that will come with time. The lack of recognition skills could have led to Reid falling farther in the draft as some anticipated. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had Reid listed as potentially being selected as high as the back end of the first round. Bringing in a player of this caliber where the Texans did is a great bargain pick for a team with limited draft capital.
Martinas Rankin – Tackle
Far from exciting, but improving the offensive line is a necessity for Houston. Martinas Rankin can come in and help a unit that struggled throughout 2017. The midseason deal to send Duane Brown to Seattle increased their blocking issues and the injury to Deshaun Watson exposed the line for all of their flaws.
According to Zierlein, Rankin is a prospect who projects to struggle on the outside of the line and would be best served moving to guard or center. Rankin struggles with speed on the edge and struggles with power during run blocking. Moving inside to guard or center may be the best position for Rankin.
Jordan Akins – Tight End
Houston lost their starting tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz to an early retirement. A replacement tight end who is proficient in the passing game became an absolute need for the Texans. Jordan Akins is more of a pass catcher than blocking tight end and will be utilized as such. Finding another reliable pass catching tight end is a must for Watson and the Texans believe Akins can be just that.
The main concern with Akins is age, he is 26 years old. Akins originally pursued baseball as a career. The Texas Rangers selected Akins in the 2010 MLB Draft and spent four years in their minor league system as an outfielder. Some of his ability to track balls in the outfield could translate to catching a football. With his advanced age Akins may have a smaller window for success than others in the draft but is certainly physically capable of being a reliable pass catching tight end for the Houston Texans.