HOUSTON (AP) — In Brian Gaine’s first draft as the general manager of the Houston Texans, he wanted to add three things to the offensive and defensive side of the ball — speed, athleticism and explosiveness.
In doing that with his eight picks, Gaine also added competition to multiple positions on the Texans roster.
“The one thing I want people to understand is that we’re always going to be trying to add competition to the roster regardless of the position whenever it makes sense,” Gaine said. “Any players we added to the roster this year through the draft we think has a chance to make the team.”
Gaine worked his way through the past two days, not making any draft day trades, and addressed his team’s needs.
Gaine admitted the opportunities to make trades were there and he did come close to making some moves.
“Always tempted,” Gaine said about making a trade. “I’m always looking for an opportunity to improve the team. At every turn and every opportunity when we were selecting, I’m evaluating the pros and cons of going up to get a player or sitting tight or the opportunity to move back.”
Heading into the draft, the Texans’ deepest needs were on the offensive line, in the secondary and at tight end.
Gaine utilized four of his eight picks to bolster the secondary and the tight end spot.
In the third round, Gaine drafted University of Central Florida tight end Jordan Akins. Then in the sixth round, Gaine selected Mississippi State tight end Jordan Thomas.
“It’s important, especially in our offense at tight end because we have different roles and different jobs as it relates to the composition of the group, in terms of the Y and the F and how we use those guys,” Gaines said about adding depth to the tight end position.
“Ideally we want them to be fully dimensional, but we like having versatile tight ends who can do different jobs.”
SECONDARY IS PRIMARY
Gaine bookended his first draft with a pair of picks to help the secondary.
With his first pick in the third round, Gaine took Stanford safety Justin Reid and with his final pick in the seventh round selected San Jose State cornerback Jermaine Kelly.
“We want to have a versatile secondary because of the variations of things we do in sub-package defense,” Gaine said.
ADDING TO O-LINE
Gaine filled the Texans’ need on the offensive line with Mississippi State tackle Martinas Rankin in the third round.
Gaine’s other three picks were spent on wide receiver and outside linebacker.
“With the additions we made in this draft on the offensive side we feel like we added more weapons to surround Deshaun Watson with,” Gaine said. “We also did add offensive linemen through free agency and the draft.”
With his lone pick of the fourth round, Gaine scooped up Texas Tech wide receiver Keke Coutee with the 103rd overall pick.
Texans offensive and special teams assistant Wes Welker also played his college football at Texas Tech before playing 12 years in the NFL.
“We’ve been in contact a lot throughout this whole process,” Coutee said. “He worked me out in my private workout, so just being able to work with him and him teaching me the game a little more and how to run routes is really good.”
After the Coutee pick, two of the Texans’ final four picks were spent on outside linebackers.
Gaine drafted Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor with his 177th overall pick and Stanford’s Peter Kalambayi with the 214th overall pick.
Ejiofor finished his Wake Forest career with 128 tackles and 23 sacks. He also had 41 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six pass deflections.
Ejiofor and Kalambayi join a defensive unit that includes J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.
“This is a dream come true,” Ejiofor said. “I’ve watched J.J. Watt, Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. This is crazy, I can’t believe I’m about to join them and learn so much from them.”
Ejiofor is recovering from right shoulder labrum surgery, but said he will be ready for training camp.
The one area the Texans didn’t add to through the draft was at quarterback.
Houston has three quarterbacks on the roster in Watson, Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb III.
“We feel comfortable with the group we have at the moment,” Gaine said.