The Texans didn’t have a first round or a second round pick last draft cycle. The second round pick was traded to Cleveland as a salary dump of Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns. They also traded their first round pick on draft night in 2017 in order to have the opportunity to select Deshaun Watson. With three third round picks courtesy of the Duane Brown trade, and Bouye leaving in free agency, the Texans selected eight players in 2018.

Having played seven games so far, the Texans positional rotation is likely set moving forward. Excluding injuries, snap counts won’t have a huge variance from now until the end of the season. Head coach Bill O’Brien has worked in rookies more this year than it’s seemed like in prior years. It’s still too early to determine whether or not they made the correct picks because development is not linear. There has been enough games though to look at their impact so far this season, as well as expectations moving forward.

Justin Reid, Safety – Round 3, Pick 4 (68)

Snap Count

Justin Reid has played just under 70 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He may not be listed as a starter with Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson occupying those spots, but he has gotten his fair share of playing time. He sits fourth in Texans defensive back snap count but the cornerbacks have also been a revolving door with injuries.

Production

Reid got his first NFL interception against Dallas’ Dak Prescott after Jonathan Joseph knocked the ball up in the air. Reid made an impressive diving catch though and controlled the ball through the ground. His interception isn’t the most impressive part of his game. While Jackson has been widely considered as the best tackler at safety in the NFL, the rookie is hot on his tail.

Notable Players Taken Later

Broncos RB Royce Freeman, 49ers LB Fred Warner, Bengals DE Sam Hubbard

Future

Justin Reid looks like a star. He’s been an elite tackler in space and he’s made plays on the ball. Possibly more important though is that he is learning behind one of the best. Having the opportunity to learn behind Mathieu shouldn’t be taken for granted, and it seems like Reid is making the most of it. The Texans may have a good problem in the near future with their abundance of above average safeties.

Martinas Rankin, Offensive Linemen – Round 3, Pick 16 (80)

Snap Count

Rankin has played 58.6 percent of the Texans’ offensive snaps. Over the past few weeks though he’s been demoted from the sixth offensive lineman on the depth chart to the seventh. This was made clear when Lamm stepped in to replace an injured Fulton.

Production

So far this season Martinas Rankin has struggled mightily. After playing every snap from week two to week four, Rankin gave up an insane number of pressures. Following the Colts game in week four, he had given up 27 pressures, more than six offensive lines at that point.

Notable Players Taken Later

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup, Ravens OT Orlando Brown, Raiders DE Arden Key

Future

Rankin’s college tape tells you that he will be a formidable swing tackle down the line. As of now though he just is not ready to play. It’s difficult to visibly struggle on this Texans offensive line, but he has found a way. It may be beneficial for him to work in practice against some of the NFL’s elite pass rushers because right now the development curve needs to be long term.

Jordan Akins, Tight End – Round 3, Pick 34 (98)

Snap Count

Akins has inexplicably been played the least of any tight end on the Texans roster. To draft a 26 year old tight end to play sporadically seems like a bad decision, but it may not be due to his play. He sits at 34 percent of offensive snaps, just less than fellow rookie Jordan Thomas and nearly half of the amount as starter Ryan Griffin.

Production

Akins is actually on pace for a decent rookie campaign through the air. He’s creating very good separation on defenders and if he were getting more snaps he would likely be a serious threat through the air. His blocking deficiencies are the reason he is playing less than Thomas. If O’Brien worked in a passing tight end game, Akins would prove the value of this pick.

Notable Player Taken Later

Chiefs LB Dorian O’Daniel, Vikings DE Jalyn Holmes

Future

Akins is already 26 years old, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He came into the league ready to compete right away. The offensive scheme prevents him from getting lots of opportunities this season but with Ryan Griffin’s contract ending at the end of next season, we should start to see Akins get his shot in this offense.

Keke Coutee, Wide Receiver – Round 4, Pick 3 (103)

Snap Count

Coutee sits comfortably in third on receiver snap percentages. This is expected with Hopkins and Fuller as the clear top two receivers. This is also including weeks one through three which he missed with injury, and last week against the Jaguars where he left with injury.

Production

Coutee had an outstanding debut game. Since then he’s continued to be a key feature and important piece of the offense. With a full season of production he would have had the opportunity to lead rookies in some categories, but unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Notable Players Taken Later

Colts RB Nyheim Hines, Browns WR Antonio Callaway, Ravens LB Kenny Young

Future

The Texans are still learning how to properly utilize Coutee, and as they get more comfortable he will become more effective. He will continue to be a very integral part of the receiving core with Hopkins and Fuller for years to come.

Duke Ejiofor, Defensive End – Round 6, Pick 3 (177)

Snap Count

The Texans have moved Ejiofor from defensive end to outside linebacker. He’s now playing about 23 percent of defensive snaps. This isn’t unexpected with the very good core at linebacker of Clowney, Mercilus, McKinney and Cunningham.

Production

Ejiofor has one sack on the season which came in week two against the Titans. He is not playing enough snaps to be incredibly productive but he does seem to be in on a lot of big plays.

Notable Players Taken Later

Jets CB Parry Nickerson

Future

Ejiofor slid down the draft boards as a day two talent. The Texans got a steal with Ejiofor. He has lots of talent to beat out at linebacker but he does look the part of a future difference maker. He may not get the chance to start until the Texans cut ties with another linebacker but keep an eye on Ejiofor moving forward.

Jordan Thomas, Tight End – Round 6, Pick 37 (211)

Snap Count

Jordan Thomas is playing the second most snaps at tight end on the team. Still with significantly less than half the possible playing time, Thomas is making the most of his opportunity.

Production

Thomas is a good blocker and he makes due with his athletic abilities. More than a third of his yardage on the season comes from a long reception against the Giants. While he may not be the most productive pass catching tight end, he does serve a role.

Notable Players Taken Later

Ravens C Bradley Bozeman

Future

Jordan Thomas likely isn’t the future at tight end as that title would be given to Akins but he will be a useful tool. Thomas can come in on short yardage opportunities and be a sneaky option to catch passes as well. His future on the team is pretty clear and he will have a role, even if not the main man.

Peter Kalambayi, Outside Linebacker – Round 6, Pick 40 (214)

Snap Count

Unsurprisingly, Kalambayi has only played five snaps this season. Coaches have shifted him to middle linebacker and it is clear he will need development time. Dylan Cole hit the IR with a dislocated wrist and Kalambayi still hasn’t gained any more opportunities.

Production

With barely any playing time comes barely any production. He has three tackles on the season so far, a pretty good ratio of snaps to tackles.

Notable Players Taken Later

Ravens C Bradley Bozeman

Future

Peter Kalambayi projects as a career backup. His ceiling is not so high and with the Texans already having six, and debatably linebackers on the roster with more talent, he probably won’t see much more playing time in the future, near or distant.

Jermaine Kelly, Cornerback – Round 7, Pick 4 (222)

Snap Count

Jermaine Kelly landed on the IR early in September prior to the season opener against the Patriots. He will miss the entire 2018 season.

Notable Players Taken Later

Jaguars LB Leon Jacobs, Browns OT Desmond Harrison, Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay

Future

Kelly’s injury held him out of most of training camp, and now a setback is preventing him from having the opportunity to play this season. When he does return next season, he’ll have to make an immediate impact, especially because former San Jose State, and current Texans teammate Andre Chachere seems to be a player coaches love.

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– Max Freedman is the Managing Editor of Full Press Coverage Texans. He covers the Houston Texans. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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