Houston Texans: Is Jordan Akins becoming top TE on team?
The Houston Texans haven’t had a standout tight end the past couple of seasons, but after three weeks have they finally found a player to take over that role?
One player who has surprised this season compared to his numbers a year ago is Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins, who is coming off the best game of his NFL career last Sunday. Akins is coming off a game where he not only scored the first touchdown of his career, but also the second touchdown when the Texans defeated the Los Angeles Chargers with help from his two-touchdown performance.
In that game against the Chargers, Akins totaled three receptions for 73 yards, with a 24.3 yard per catch average. One of his two touchdown receptions went for 53 yards on a play made possible by the athletic ability of quarterback Deshaun Watson and the patience of Akins.
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The overall play of Akins this season also includes a three-game total of six receptions for 115 yards, with a 19.2 ypc average this season. In 16 games last season, Akins totaled 17 receptions for 225 yards, averaging 13.2 yards per catch with no touchdowns. Already in ’19 Akins has his career-long reception with the aforementioned 53-yard catch.
Thinking about all the tight ends on the roster, including players like Jordan Thomas (who is on the IR), Darren Fells, Jerell Adams and Logan Paulsen, Akins is starting to separate from the rest of the tight ends on the depth chart, which is a positive for Akins and the Texans as a team.
Earlier this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle quoted Akins in an article about how the tight ends are more than just blockers:
"“Any way to win the game, to utilize our skill sets,” Akins said. “We’re more than just blockers. We can make plays down the field as well as use our legs to create first downs and touchdowns.”"
Seeing the confidence in his skill-level, not just as a blocker, but as a pass catcher is great to see. The Texans offense also needs to start playing with more of an edge, and Akins can help there. If the Texans continue to work Akins into the game plan with more targets going his way, that will help the 22.6 points per game average the Texans have this season, which is around average for NFL teams this season, being 14th best in the league.
Akins could become a not-so secret weapon for the Texans from here on out. There isn’t the expectation of having a 50-plus yard touchdown reception every game, but it would be nice for Houston if they can get the tight end more involved in the game catching passes, adding another wrinkle in what could be a very strong offensive lineup.
Akins could be that player, and if last Sunday is any indication that will make for some exciting football in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers.