Texans trade up again to get Notre Dame center Nick Martin
HOUSTON (AP) Braxton Miller spent just one year at receiver after two celebrated seasons as Ohio State's quarterback.
Those 13 games were enough to convince the Houston Texans to draft him in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday night.
''He's into it,'' general manager Rick Smith said. ''It's important to him. He loves football. We think that he's got all the skillset that is necessary to be successful at the position.''
Houston also drafted a receiver in the first round when they traded up one slot to take Notre Dame's Will Fuller with the 21st overall pick. They stayed with offense in Round 2 when they traded up two spots to get Fuller's teammate, Fighting Irish center Nick Martin. It was the first time since their first draft in 2002 that the Texans used each of their first three picks on offense, and they did it after adding quarterback Brock Osweiler to the roster.
''We wanted to add playmakers to this football team,'' Smith said.
Miller, who was the 85th overall selection, converted to receiver this season after sitting out a year with a shoulder injury. He was the two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year in 2012 and 2013 after throwing for more than 2,000 yards and rushing for more than 1,000 in both of those seasons. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2012 when he ran for a career-high 1,271 yards and was responsible for 28 touchdowns. The next season he led the Big Ten by accounting for 36 touchdowns.
After his return from injury he was unable to throw more than 45 yards, so he requested a move to receiver. He finished with 26 receptions for 341 yards and three touchdowns and ran 42 times for 281 yards and another score.
Miller definitely doesn't lack confidence and had a lot to say when asked about his best attributes.
''Explosiveness, big-play ability, speed, quickness, strength and just making people miss in a smaller area,'' he said. ''Just making it easy for my quarterback and the offensive coordinator to call plays.''
Houston star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was excited about the two additions at receiver. Just moments after Miller was drafted the Pro Bowler tweeted: ''Ain't no more double teams baby!''
The feeling was certainly mutual for Miller.
''The crew is going to be strong now,'' he said of the receivers. ''We're good.''
The Texans also addressed their need at center by drafting Martin, giving up their sixth-round pick at 195 to the Falcons to move up two places.
Houston added Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller in free agency to boost their offense, but had an opening at center after losing Ben Jones in free agency to the Titans. Jones started every game at center for Houston over the past two seasons.
The 6-foot-4, 299-pound Martin is the younger broker of Zack Martin, who was a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2014 and a two-time Pro-Bowler at guard. Nick Martin said he patterned his game after watching his older brother and laughed when it was mentioned that the Cowboys and Texans are rivals.
''We've been teammates all of our lives and we're enemies now,'' he said.
Martin appeared in 50 games with 37 starts in a four-year career at Notre Dame, including starting all 26 games in his last two seasons there. Martin is versatile lineman, having also started several games for the Irish at left guard.
''He's a guy that can come right in,'' Smith said. ''He'll compete right away we think.''
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