The Houston Texans may not have had a draft pick until the third round this year, but that didn't stop first-year GM Nick Caserio from picking up players who could be in line to make an impact Week 1.
Wide receiver Nico Collins and tight end Brevin Jordan were drafted in the third and fifth rounds, respectively. Both have the size, speed and ability to play straight away at positions of need.
At least in theory they do.
READ MORE: Which Texans DBs Rank Among NFL's Best?
They'll have to win over the fan base, but veterans on the team seem impressed by the two youngsters now OTAs are in full swing.
"When we drafted those guys, I had a chance to look at basically their scout tape and was very impressed. Couldn’t wait to see Nico and Brevin in person," Quarterback Tyrod Taylor told reporters earlier this week. "They’ve impressed me the way they’re picking up the system."
Last year, former Texans coach Bill O'Brien were hesitant to play rookies. In total, all five rookies racked up just 847 snaps during the 2020 season, the least in the league per PFF.
With this in mind, first-year head coach David Culley could change the pattern with a new offense in place. Of course, both players must master the playbook for more reps come Sundays.
Jordan joins a tight end corps that has undergone somewhat of a revamp this offseason with the additions of veterans Ryan Izzo, Paul Quessenberry and Antony Auclair.
Given that the majority of position groups have multiple new faces, few starting positions seem nailed down. As such, Jordan should be within a shot of earning reps early on.
His biggest challenge will come from Jordan Akins, who has been a quiet contributor for Houston's passing attack over the past few seasons, particularly after the catch. For his career, Akins has an averaged of 11.6 yards per reception.
Collins, a former standout for Michigan, now joins a receiver room that is unrecognizable from just two years ago. Headlined by Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, Collins' job will be to fight for the starting job opposite Cooks on the outside, a role previously occupied by Will Fuller.
Cooks, though might have a liking to Collins' skills, crediting him for his maturity of a route-runner in practice.
"I mean this guy doesn’t look like no rookie to me," Cooks told reporters earlier this month. "You talk about a guy who’s out there that’s coachable and able to pick up things pretty fast. You love to see that from a young guy. The guy’s explosive, natural hands."
Houston came under their fair share of criticism for their draft picks this year, given their perceived more pressing needs elsewhere, particularly on defense. Keep in mind that Caserio also traded away draft capital next season to move back in the third-round to grab Collins.
Both Collins and Jordans' tapes are impressive and show exactly why Caserio fell for them. Keep in mind that some believed Jordan was the No. 3 tight end behind Florida's Kyle Pitts and Penn State's Pat Freiermuth
To grab him with the No. 147 selection is a potential steal, no matter positions of need.
If Taylor and Cooks are right, then the Texans may be on to a couple of hidden gems in 2021.
"The way they’re going out and making plays has definitely impressed me and I’m looking forward to working with those guys throughout the season and getting those guys plenty of balls to catch for sure," Taylor said.
CONTINUE READING: Texans Rookie Davis Mills "Excited" For Work Ahead