The Houston Texans picked up UCF tight end Jordan Akins with the 98th overall selection during the third round of the NFL Draft.
Akins was projected in some mock drafts to fall down to the seventh round, or perhaps not be drafted at all.
But the Texans, who are thin at tight end heading into 2018, took a shot on the 26-year-old former outfielder in the Texas Rangers' organization.
Stephen Anderson is currently the Texans' top returning tight end, but he only caught 25 balls for 342 yards and one TD in 2017. Their other two tight ends, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin, combined to play just 12 games and catch 33 passes.
The Texans were 21st in pass offense last year, and 22nd in third-down percentage, largely thanks to the loss of Watson and his backups' overreliance on WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins caught 96 passes last year, but no other Texan caught as many as 30.
With Deshaun Watson expected to return after his season-ending knee injury last year, he will need a security blanket in the middle of the field to keep defenses honest. Akins fits perfectly, as he owned the middle of the field for UCF the past two seasons.
Akins is the third UCF Knight to be taken in the first three rounds of the draft this year, and the first UCF tight end to be drafted since Michael Gaines was picked by the Carolina Panthers in 2004. Gaines played until 2009 with five teams, accumulating 84 career catches and 6 touchdowns.