It’s official. The rookies have gone camping.
Hunter Atkins knows that much like the rest of the NFL, the Houston Texans officially opened its training camp last week. This gives the media and fans a first look at the latest draftees as the franchise hits reset on a rough 2020 campaign.
Finishing 4-12 a season ago, the Texans now start 2021 with a new general manager and head coach. After trading away most of its established veterans and draft capital over the last couple of years, new head coach David Culley doesn’t have much to work with.
Question marks at quarterback are never a good sign. With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of Deshaun Watson and without an established backup, the Texans nabbed a passer with their first pick of the draft. While it’s difficult to hit on a sure-fire prospect in Round 3, Davis Mills has the pedigree to contribute if he continues to develop. The Stanford product was the nation’s top-rated quarterback coming out of high school. With only 11 collegiate starts, Davis Mills is noticeably raw. However, his talent exceeds his production. Despite some injury concerns, Hunter Atkins sees him fitting into a play-action heavy attack that can compensate for his lack of mobility.
When you think of an NFL wide receiver, Nico Collins definitely looks the part. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, the Michigan wideout is a vertical threat who displays top-end speed. He will need to improve his hands and route running, but the Round 3 speedster will immediately fill Will Fuller V’s role after he left via free agency. While the previous coaching staff preferred to use veteran talent, the position group is thin. After the recent trade of Randall Cobb, Nico Collins may be asked to play instantly.
Although the team struggled on defense last season, the Texans continued to add offensive weapons. Brevin Jordan joins an already crowded, tight end room. Taken with the 147th overall pick, the Miami rookie brings burst and quickness to the position. Yet Hunter Atkins points to blocking as a significant area where improvement is needed.
The Texans finally addressed defense with its last two picks. Garret Wallow is an off-the-ball linebacker who flashed an ability to produce all over the field. While undersized at TCU, the Round 5 pick is reportedly adding weight. Roy Lopez, from Arizona, was a surprise selection. Despite being ESPN’s 350th-ranked player overall, the Texans pulled the trigger on the defensive tackle with the 195th pick. A low center of gravity mixed with upper body strength makes the Arizona prospect a worthwhile, late-round gamble.