Houston Texans third round draft selection, tight end Jordan Akins has a role to play in the second season.
Entering his second season in the NFL, Jordan Akins has the opportunity to earn a bigger role in the Houston Texans offense. Drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Akins had a subpar rookie season as the third option behind Ryan Griffin and rookie draftee Jordan Thomas. He finished with 17 receptions and 225 receiving yards.
Akins isn’t the traditional inline Y tight end at 6’3, he was projected more of a move or F tight end at the NFL level coming out of University of Central Florida. His smaller frame and athleticism for the position gives him the opportunity to earn snaps in the offense and contribute in the Texans passing game. Texans incorporated him in some blocking plays in his rookie season, but Akins isn’t going to earn his money in that category.
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He is expected to be a mismatch for opposing defenses in coverage and be able to outmuscle smaller defensive backs and outrun slower linebackers. Akins played out of the backfield at H-back his first season and was moved around the offense depending on the matchups presented.
Looking at where the NFL has gone in terms of looking to take advantage of matchups and exploiting the opposing team’s weak link, there aren’t a lot of defenders with the size and athleticism to drop back in coverage and stay step for step with big threats that run like wide receivers.
There will be bigger expectations for Akins entering his second season after he was drafted in the third round in Brian Gaine’s first draft as the Texans general manager. Akins isn’t necessary in line to be the starter as he is competing with Thomas, Darren Fells, and Kahale Warring for playing time, but he will have the opportunity to see extended playing time due to his athleticism and versatility as the season progresses.
The reality of the situation is Akins could never have been drafted as a starter for the tight end position, his value comes in the passing game when he is lined up to be another receiver in the offense. If Akins pans out to be a good receiving threat the draft selection will work just fine, there’s an obvious desire from the coaching staff to see him develop other areas of his game, but Akins value presents itself in the passing game.
At 27 years of age, as long as he shows the willingness to block when a play develops, he’ll continue to see his playing time grow within the offense. Drafting Warring in the third round in 2019 does put pressure for him for playing time down the road but Akins has the advantage with a season of NFL experience under his belt to make an impact in the present.