The Houston Texans traded three picks to move up to the 89th overall selection of the 2021 NFL Draft, and that pick became wide receiver Nico Collins of Michigan.
The Texans moved up to the 89th pick by trading a Round 4 pick (109), a Round 5 (158) pick, plus a 2022 Round 4 pick for the opportunity to draft Collins, who automatically helps make the wide receiver roster better in Houston.
Before we get to the draft grade of Collins, let’s look at what he did at Michigan under the Jim Harbaugh offense, who at one time had Pep Hamilton on the coaching staff, as Hamilton is on the new Texans coaching staff.
Nico Collins didn’t play this past season for Michigan, but in his three seasons on the field at UM he played in 27 games, where he collected 78 receptions for 1,388 yards, averaging 17.8 yards per reception. Collins also had 13 touchdown receptions in his Michigan tenure.
In his most recent season of ’19, Collins played in 12 games, where he had 37 receptions for 729 yards and seven touchdowns. That season, he averaged 19.7 yards per reception.
Lance Zierlein, an NFL Analyst at NFL.com, had Collins projected as a second- to third-round selection, and he said a strength of Collins is he “possesses quality speed for such a big target.” Zierlein also said a weakness of Collins is “unable to elude and rid himself of a press defender consistently.”
Houston Texans Draft Grade: Wide receiver was needed in the third round
When the Houston Texans selected Davis Mills with the 67th overall pick in Round 3, they added a quarterback, but that was where many felt they should have taken a wide receiver. Though the Texans gave up two Day 3 picks for Saturday, and a fourth rounder next year, this was a needed selection.
Collins had a 4.43 40-yard dash at his Pro Day this offseason, and he had a 6.71 three-cone drill, showcasing his athletic abilities with those two drills in front of NFL scouts. This pick by the Houston Texans is hopefully the replacement for Will Fuller who joined the Miami Dolphins in free agency this offseason.
Did the Houston Texans trade a high-value for this pick, yes, but it was a much-needed move to get a quality wide receiver, and the Texans must have got the player they wanted.
Texans Draft Grade: B
It will be exciting to see what Collins brings to the Houston Texans offense in 2021 and in future seasons, because ’21 will be a very long season for this franchise, but Collins is a step forward in the right direction.