The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Houston Texans have welcomed a brand new rookie class. Join Last Word on Pro Football as we review every pick for every team of the 2018 NFL Draft. In this article, we break down the Houston Texans 2018 NFL Draft picks.
Players Drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft:
Third round, 68th overall: Justin Reid, safety, Stanford
Third round, 80th overall: Martinas Rankin, offensive lineman, Mississippi State
Third round, 98th overall: Jordan Akins, tight end, UCF
Fourth round, 103rd overall: Keke Coutee, wide receiver, Texas Tech
Sixth round, 177th overall: Duke Ejiofor, defensive end, Wake Forest
Sixth round, 211th overall: Jordan Thomas, tight end, Mississippi State
Sixth round, 214th overall: Peter Kalambayi, linebacker, Stanford
Seventh round, 222nd overall: Jermaine Kelly, cornerback, San Jose State
Texans 2018 Draft Grade: 6/10
Houston Texans 2018 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Justin Reid
Reid had a very impressive combine, scoring in the top three for safeties in the three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 40-yard dash and notching a top-five spot in the broad jump among safeties. As a senior at Stanford, Reid finished the year with 94 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, six passes deflected, and five interceptions, including a pick apiece against Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen.
The majority of Reid’s weaknesses identified by NFL scouts are coachable at the next level, making Reid a candidate to make starts in his rookie season. He was projected to go in the first two rounds of the Draft and was on the radar of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions, among others. The Texans were probably just as surprised as the rest of us to see Reid fall this far and could not pass on the best player available.
The Best Value: Martinas Rankin
This may be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but Rankin gets the nod here because of his versatility. He played left tackle at Mississippi State, but his upper body strength, incredible second-level awareness, and poise on the line will make him an excellent NFL guard or center.
The Texans drafted Rankin exactly when he was projected to go, assuring everyone that the Texans understand precisely who they are getting with this pick. The Texans needed an offensive tackle and a guard in this Draft. Drafting Rankin gives them necessary flexibility along the offensive line.
The Head-Scratcher: Two Tight Ends
Here is the list of tight ends the Texans had on their roster going into the 2018 NFL Draft: Stephen Anderson, Zach Conque, Ryan Griffin, Matt Lengel, Ryan Malleck, MyCole Pruitt, and Jevoni Robinson. The tight end room in Houston is a little packed already, and the Texans will likely roll with Anderson and Griffin as the top options at the position.
Yes, the Texans need some competition at tight end after the departure of C.J. Fiedorowicz, but they took both Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas at the position with Chris Herndon and Ian Thomas still on the board. Akins was a little bit of a reach given the talent still available, and Jordan Thomas seems like a depth choice for a position that lacks talent and already has plenty of depth.
Most Likely To Turn Heads in Training Camp: Keke Coutee
Coutee was one of the fastest wide receivers in this year’s draft, chalking up a 4.43 in Indianapolis. He proved himself to be a solid option to take the top off the defense, averaging 15.4 yards per reception on 93 receptions during his senior season at Texas Tech. He also demonstrated the ability to contribute on special teams with ten kick returns for 315 yards and one touchdown. His explosive speed and athleticism are going to catch the attention of Deshaun Watson as another deep threat weapon for the Texans offense.
The remaining picks were used to add some depth to the defense, a smart move for Houston. Ejiofor was the 15th ranked defensive end in this draft with some serious pass-rush ability, but do not expect him to become a fixture on the field this season. The same can be said for Kalambayi and Kelly.
Last Word on the Houston Texans 2018 NFL Draft
The Texans did not have any picks before the top of the third round as a result of trading up to get Deshaun Watson last year. As a result, they had to fill their needs with third round and below talent.
The Texans needed a tackle, and they took one that will serve them much better as a guard. They did well to add depth on defense, but this draft was mediocre as a whole for the Texans. The tight end situation does not look much better than it did before the Draft, just more crowded.
Nobody would have faulted the Texans for trading picks with the New England Patriots, who would not stop trading down the entire Draft, to move up for an immediate impact tight end. Watson needs protection and weapons for 2018, and it is not evident that the Texans filled those needs as effectively as they could have.
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