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NFL Draft: ESPN Names Best Rookie WR Pick for Houston Texans

ESPN has named the wide receiver they feel is best-suited to the Houston Texans in this year's NFL Draft.

The Houston Texans may have contractually rewarded Brandin Cooks for two more years, but if quarterback Davis Mills is to be truly tested, he needs more than just the one stud receiver.

Thankfully, the 2022 NFL Draft is stacked at receiver with potential gems to be found throughout. 

So, who would be the perfect fit for Houston? According to ESPN, the Texans should be pinpointing Calvin Austin III.

Why he fits: Austin's small frame could force the Texans to scheme for him with motion, formation and free access out of bunch or stack sets. However, the tape and the testing numbers tell us that Austin has easy juice with the ball in his hands. Austin checked in with a 4.32 40 and 39-inch vertical jump at the combine. He has explosive traits that can be used on quick throws from quarterback Davis Mills. Plus, Austin has the foot speed and short-area burst to shake loose from slot alignments.   

I was impressed with Mills' rookie tape. He can drive the ball and anticipate NFL windows. Adding a receiver with playmaking traits like Austin fits. Even with his 5-foot-8 frame, there are opportunities from a schematic perspective to get him clean into the route. And the Texans can also set up Austin on manufactured touches to take more advantage of his skill set.

Calvin Austin III
Calvin Austin III
Calvin Austin III

Cooks is a prime example of what the Texans like to do with smaller receivers, moving them around, making their alignments and assignments harder to predict.

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The issue for the Texans in recent years, however, is finding another smaller-bodied receiver who can make the slot his own and allow the likes of Cooks more freedom outside.

Randall Cobb and Keke Coutee both tried and failed to nail down that position, but perhaps the diminutive Austin - who ESPN suggest could be drafted in the third round - could be the solution.

And historically, the third round can be a successful hunting ground for receivers - look no further than Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, and 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Cooper Kupp.

Chris Godwin
Terry McLaurin
Cooper Kupp

Named first-team All-AAC in 2020 and 2021, Austin had over 1,000 receiving yards both seasons, finishing his time in Memphis with 2,541 yards and 22 touchdowns. 

A former track athlete, Austin is nimble and has a great burst of speed that could be a real asset to a Texans side that lacks not only a true slot receiver, but also a downfield burner.